On 1 May 2021, the Smart Mobility Hubs as Game Changers in Transport (SmartHubs) project has kicked off funded by JPI Urban Europe and Innoviris. 30 partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria and Turkey will investigate mobility hubs, dedicated on-street locations where citizens can choose from different shared and sustainable mobility options. The main objective is to assess if a co-designed, user-centric development can enable mobility hubs to act as a game changer towards inclusive sustainable urban mobility and accessibility. SmartHubs will examine, develop and apply research methods and tools in SmartHubs Living Labs in Brussels, Rotterdam-the Hague metropolitan region, Munich, Vienna and Istanbul. SmartHubs will develop and apply novel participatory and impact assessment tools like (i) an open accessibility tool involving inputs from individual citizens to examine the local accessibility impacts of mobility hubs, (ii) an accessibility network analysis and resilience tool to examine the impacts of mobility hubs on transport network resilience, (iii) a multi-actor multi-criteria analysis method to involve individual citizens and (iv) tangible augmented reality technologies and gamification and user experience (UX) approaches to facilitate co-creation processes of mobility hub design. Finally, SmartHubs goes beyond the current state of the art conducting rigorous research on a broad range of mobility, accessibility, vulnerability, resilience and societal impacts of mobility hubs, including vulnerable to exclusion population segments such as low-income, digitally underskilled, female citizens and refugees.
The Brussels consortium includes VUB-MOBI, MPact (formerly Taxistop), the municipality of Anderlecht and Brussels Mobility. The Brussels Living Lab in the municipality of Anderlecht will co-create the first neighbourhood-level prototype mobility hub in Brussels with key stakeholders (citizens, businesses, transport operators, municipalities etc.). The aim is to demonstrate the Smarthubs co-creation process for mobility hubs and appraise the feasibility and potential impact of such mobility hubs. As Anderlecht has a very diverse population, the impact of hubs on transport poverty and the involvement and needs of vulnerable-to-exclusion persons (ethnic minorities, low-income, low-educated) as well as digital inclusion will be investigated throughout the co-creation process.