As traffic congestion and high emissions plague the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) we need to make major changes to how people and goods move around our cities. From the rising costs of travel to the increasing time and stress associated with it, urban mobility is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
On June 7, MaRS hosted the Urban Mobility Design Camp (#MoveGTHA) with Uber as a lead sponsor. The event featured speakers and sponsors from organizations including the Toronto Transit Commission, IBI Group, the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Power Generation, the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute and several other regional transportation stakeholders. Over 130 specialists, academics, and members of the public, private and non-profit sectors came together for the co-design session exploring shared mobility in the GTHA.
The design camp explored how stakeholders across multiple sectors—even those not traditionally associated with transportation—can, and will need to, collaborate to develop solutions for their respective mobility-related needs and problems. By the end of the day, 18 groups produced a series of practical and creative ideas to address mobility problems in the GTHA.
Each group tackled a distinct aspect of the urban mobility system, tailoring their solutions to solving specific issues. Their solutions included:
We are witnessing real changes to the ways people want to, will need to and already do move throughout the GTHA and we’ll continue to see shifts in technology, ideas about ownership, integrated mobility options, electric and autonomous vehicles, new energy solutions and variations of Mobility-as-a-Service, among many other changes.
Events like this one demonstrate that while real problems exist, there are many passionate problem-solvers out there who see the future of mobility throughout the GTHA as more accessible, equitable, affordable, efficient, safe and ultimately enjoyable for all.
In the coming months, MaRS will publish a report on the trends, ideas and solutions identified at the design camp. In the meantime, the team is conducting field research with Bridgeable on commuter challenges and the barriers to changing travel behaviour. With support from Toronto Atmospheric Fund, government, transit planning and implementation organizations, MaRS is designing pilot projects that will address acute mobility challenges in the GTHA. The first of these pilots will be announced soon.