The development of a (new) district also requires the planning of mobility infrastructure to suffice the needs of the future inhabitants. New districts offer the possibility to design this infrastructure in such a way that demands are fulfilled but the impact on its environment is minimal. The advancements on the field however make that the design of the mobility and energy component become intertwined.

Designs of new in-urban neighbourhoods such as the Bajeskwartier in Amsterdam or the Merwedekanaalzone in Utrecht come with radical new designs for mobility. The focus has shifted away from private transport towards public and shared transportation. This should result in a more sustainable environment in which pedestrians and cyclists are free and safe to move around.

Simply reducing the number of parking spots for cars however does not cut it, mobility demand has to be met. Cities such as Utrecht and Amsterdam therefore aim on the concept of shared mobility hubs. At such hubs (often located near public transport hubs) different modes of transport such as (electric) scooters, bikes, mopeds and cars can be found. Apartment buildings get shared cars in the garage to reduce parking needs. Increasingly such shared options are becoming electric.

The electric option starts to become default for a good reason, electric shared mobility is ideal to balance the local electricity grid and therefore also renewable energy consumption. A new study from Utrecht University showed, that as shared mobility is planned and cars can be treated as a pool, the batteries in cars could well serve as back-up power and charge locally produced energy. This would only require about 20-30% of all cars to be shared, a complete transition is not even necessary to profit from this solution.

Within the Atelier project mobility hubs are also included as a new mode of transportation. By offering a wide variety of transport modes such electric mopeds and cargo bikes it hopes to gain knowledge on how to design the energy needs for this. As the mobility behaviour can be quite unpredictable, the design of the electricity grid has to be robust. At the same time, smart charging of these transport modes could bring relieve to the local electricity grid by not charging at peak times.

Author: Rick Wolbertus, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Image Credits: Michael Myers (Unsplash)