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Year: 2023

Client: EIT Urban Mobility

Citizen Engagement in urban mobility pilots across Europe

Creating better urban mobility solutions through citizen engagement in EIT Urban Mobility’s RAPTOR Program in The Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden

RAPTOR (Rapid Applications for Transport) is an initiative of EIT Urban Mobility that seeks to support and test innovative solutions promoting the mobility transition across European cities. In the context of the RAPTOR programme, and in collaboration with EIT Urban Mobility’s User Engagement team, we developed a Citizen Engagement* strategy for three RAPTOR pilots: in Den Haag, Netherlands; Dubnica nád Vahom, Slovakia; and Helsingborg, Sweden.

The objective of our work was to propose, deliver and analyse the results of three tailor-made citizen engagement research projects, with the goal to support the pilot implementation of three different urban mobility solutions:

In Den Haag, to tackle the challenge of reducing congestion in the area surrounding Scheveningen beach, the city tested a tracking app that supports and encourages users in travelling sustainably to Scheveningen, developed by Norwegian start-up Kobla.

In Dubnica, to tackle the challenge of promoting bicycle use, the city tested a modular smart parking unit developed by Romanian start-up Rastel.

In Helsingborg, to tackle the challenge of increasing bicycle use, the city tested Nudgd’s Smart Nudges platform, an online space specifically developed for schools dedicated to promoting cycling amongst parents and school workers.

Using mixed qualitative research methods both remotely and on-site (interviews, online surveys, observations, guerrilla testing…) we cross-checked the value proposition of each of the solutions with the specific context of the cities where they were being piloted, paying particular attention to the response of the solution to the needs of both the direct users and other impacted citizens. Through the analysis of the data gathered, both by us and by EIT’s User Engagement team, we proposed best-fitting implementation scenarios for all solutions. Where a product-context fit was more challenging, we also developed a dedicated ideation workshop with the city and the start-up to collectively define next steps.

The results were a series of recommendations for both the companies and the corresponding municipalities on the implementation of their solutions, but also for EIT Urban Mobility on how to best tailor the RAPTOR programme and ultimately develop a more human-centric approach to their mobility transition programmes.

*For the purpose of this research, and overall in our work, we apply a research approach that we call Citizen Experience (CX), a name that references the popular User Experience (UX) and that contests that traditional user-centric approach. Instead, we put the focus beyond the user, seeking to understand how services, solutions, challenges and situations relate to other humans (all of them) and  the city. 

In the context of mobility, this approach allows us to learn more and better about the way people interact with a specific solution or service; about whether that solution is actually tackling their needs; and about how it affects their experience and that of the non-users.

Applying Citizen Experience in the development of solutions that impact the public space helps companies and municipalities alike in building a more robust value proposition that is aligned with people’s needs, increasing trust and support from citizens in the implementation of innovation projects.

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