Developing business models to engage the private sector in sustainable urban mobility

In the Behavioural Change for Sustainable Urban Mobility (BestMOB) project various innovative business models will be developed to reduce the negative effects of congestion, not only on the environment, but also on the economy and the lives of individuals. The public sector has limited means to achieve this. Private interests, however, could simultaneously drive and benefit from the transition to sustainable mobility systems.

The climate change issue

European urban areas are often highly congested and traffic produces large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Next to negative environmental consequences, congestion also leads to economic effects as it reduces productivity, in terms of wasted time as well as stress and health implications. In the Netherlands alone congestion is estimated to cost the economy 1 billion Euros. Many private businesses are eager to overcome these issues and simultaneously improve their sustainability and productivity. Whilst previous projects have shown that improvements are possible, the costs, however, tend to be unevenly distributed, as they predominantly fall on the public sector, with financial resources that are under pressure. The engagement of the private sector, therefore, is crucial for their continuation.

Shifts in public behaviour suggest that awareness and willingness to make changes to commuter behaviour is growing. Increasingly the urban public favours usage over ownership, reflected in the rising trends of car and bike sharing, as well as pay as you go services. Also, an increasing array of smart apps and price comparison tools are available to travellers to manage their journeys in a way that both cuts costs and saves time. 

The project solution

BestMOB will explore where significant improvements to urban mobility can be made and develop these into business opportunities. Successful climate impacting mobility programs will be translated into profitable business cases. Existing projects will be identified as best practices, to identify the triggers for a more sustainable travel behaviour. These ideas, involving flexibility in modes of transport, working hours and locations, will consequently be matched to suitable private partners. At the same time, the business models developed in BestMOB, will be used to present road users, mainly car drivers, with more climate-friendly alternatives.

 The role of Climate-KIC

“The ambition of BestMOB is to develop a range of business cases, to be adopted by the private sector and aimed at providing car drivers with a sustainable alternative. Climate-KIC helped us with bringing together partners from both the public sector, such as city and provincial authorities and knowledge institutions and the private sector, in order to create the necessary network. Besides, our partners are from all over Europe, with similar problems, experiences and needs as we have.” , Province of Utrecht