This is a new interview, as part of ELVITEN interview series, in which Simone Porru (PhD in Electronic and Computer Engineering) – Functional Analyst at T Bridge, shares his role and contribution to the project implementation, as well as views on urban mobility.
Enjoy the reading!
A short introduction of your organisation.
T Bridge is a consulting and ICT company driven by innovation and expertise. With over one hundred experts, T Bridge has been working on the local public transport and ICT in Italy and all over Europe, with companies, local public authorities and their technical departments. By providing consulting services on process analysis, functional design, architectural design, and integrated solutions implementation, and technical and methodological support for enterprises and government agencies, T Bridge supports its customers in devising development strategies, creating innovation processes, and building corporate culture to foster growth and generate value. To achieve its mission, T Bridge designs and implements cutting-edge strategies by integrating management consulting and ICT expertise, heavily investing in methodologies, organisational knowledge, and resources development, making them its main success key factors.
What is your task/responsibility in the ELVITEN project?
In the ELVITEN project, I have been mainly working on the ICT requirements analysis, on the integration and deployment of the ICT tools for the ELVITEN mobility services, and on the coordination of software maintenance activities. As leader of the Work Package (WP) on ICT platform and tools, T Bridge coordinated the software development efforts that led to the deployment of the e-mobility applications, necessary for the success of the ELVITEN demonstrations. While I initially worked on defining the requirements, with the main objective of collecting all the data coming from different localized e-mobility services into a central platform, and then on coordinating the development of localized software solutions, I was especially involved in the development of the Incentive Smart App, which leveraged the EPPI platform devised by Softeco and Quaeryon in a previous project. Citizens showed great interest towards the incentive app, thus proving that rewarding virtuous behaviours can effectively promote interest towards electric vehicles and increase their usage.
What was your interest in joining the ELVITEN project?
T Bridge has been committed to devising innovative solutions for urban e-mobility services since the Ele.C.Tra project, in which it was the technical coordinator. Considering our previous experience, we immediately recognized the full innovation potential behind the main concept of ELVITEN, also understanding that it represented for our company the most natural, timely continuation of our previous work in Ele.C.Tra. We joined the project with the main goal of sharing and increasing our expertise in urban e-mobility, by leveraging and building on our previous collaboration with local businesses and public administrations to give our contribution in devising unique, customized solutions for the city of Genoa and the other demonstration sites, while aiming at integrating all the localized e-mobility services to collect all the data in a single platform. From my personal point of view, I was excited by the idea of collaborating with such a large number of mobility experts, both from industry and academia, with the common goal of promoting e-mobility across Europe within different local contexts.
What is your opinion on Electric-Light Vehicles?
I believe that light electric vehicles have a huge untapped potential, as shown by their unique advantages with respect to ICE vehicles, especially within the urban context. Each of them provides a unique driving experience, which is being more and more favourably perceived, as we get used to their presence and understand how the numerous different typologies of electric vehicles, each with its own distinctive features, can better suit specific mobility needs. In most European major cities, electric vehicles seem to blend with the atmosphere of the old city centres, providing a silent means of transport, quietly but swiftly moving through narrow streets that would easily amplify even the slightest noise, making them a better alternative to ICE vehicles. The disruptive changes triggered by the ongoing pandemic have also led to an increasing interest towards personal mobility means, a segment where electric vehicles shine.
During the ELVITEN project, we also had the chance to shed light on limiting features which, if resolved, would certainly result in greater adoption of light electric vehicles. More specifically, thanks to the drivers’ issue reports collected via the Unifying App, two key issues stood out: comfort and safety, and policies. Light electric vehicles are expected to be as comfortable as their ICE counterparts, as the European citizen is highly concerned with build quality and driving experience. On the other hand, policies can boost adoption by making the use of light electric vehicles even more cost-effective and convenient than ICE vehicles.
Could you explain the impact of EL-Vs on urban mobility?
EL-Vs are reshaping the urban environment by adding variety to mobility solutions. New usage schemes are flourishing thanks to EL-Vs increasing adoption, giving the impression that citizens are more and more aware that they can optimize the cost-effectiveness and convenience of their urban trips by using the most suitable transportation vehicles and services for a specific mobility need. Last, but not least, as adoption increases, citizens are being made even more aware about the sustainability of urban movements with regard to air (and noise) pollution.
What do you think about the future market for urban mobility?
Considering the most recent disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that the future market for urban mobility will be more favourable to environmentally-friendly and, at least in the mid-term, to personal transport vehicles. This is because individuals are increasingly aware about the advantages brought by the decrease in urban pollution triggered by lockdown measures, and the safety ensured by personal vehicles, which are more sanitization- and prevention-friendly. We must be aware that even temporary changes can trigger long-lasting changes in behaviours. Local authorities will have to consider that citizens will most probably turn to safer mobility habits, thus possibly trying to avoid overcrowded public transportation whenever possible. Innovative solutions and timely decisions will be crucial to avoid unmanageable changes in traffic patterns and to take advantage of the current situation, thus laying the foundations for a long-term virtuous cycle. Policies will need to be adjusted to fit this new scenario, and will be key to embrace the change and take this chance to make electric mobility gain momentum.