Transport for tomorrow

The United Nations estimates that two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. How will this affect traffic? And what needs to be done to ensure that the growing metropolitan areas are liveable for people? We asked three experts about how mobility is set to change in 10 to 15 years.

Watch the video

Transport for tomorrow

The United Nations estimates that two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. How will this affect traffic? And what needs to be done to ensure that the growing metropolitan areas are liveable for people? We asked three experts about how mobility is set to change in 10 to 15 years.

Watch the video

Mr. Dasbach, how do you see mobility developing over the next 10 years?
It is likely that the space currently dedicated to cars will be freed up more for other road users. Cities are increasingly realigning themselves according to environmentally friendly principles. This includes more sharing services and electric vehicles, which, together with public transport, offer greater scope for intermodal travel. The bicycle in particular is taking a more central role.

What makes you so sure of this?
During the pandemic, it became obvious that work and private life are increasingly merging. The increasing trend of working from home means that long commutes are no longer necessary. As a consequence, people increasingly associate travel with leisure time. You might take your bike to a meeting first thing and then head into the woods to clear your mind. Mobility is not just a means to an end, but increasingly part of an individual lifestyle.

What role does the eBike play in this?
It is relevant because it combines both: In the city, it is often the faster mode of transport, and it enhances your quality of life. A few years ago, the eBike was primarily a kind of mobility aid for people who didn't want the effort of riding a bike or who believed that they were too old to do so. But the truth is, everyone is familiar with situations where you don't use your bike because it's stressful or inconvenient in some way. eBikes increase people's motivation to ride a bike. The eCargo bike reinforces this trend. More and more people are beginning to wonder: do I really need a car in the city? Couldn't I drop my two children to daycare with a cargo bike? What else is possible? Shopping at the farmer's market, a trip to the hardware store? This is where opportunities arise that will get a huge boost from electrification.

As a manufacturer of eBike components, how are you preparing for future developments?
We are constantly asking ourselves about the challenges that cyclists face. We provide innovative answers to these questions. For example, we have introduced Help Connect, a service that calls for help if an eBiker has an accident. We were the first to introduce an assistance system for eBikes with the ABS anti-lock braking system. Another focus is on products for theft protection and other digital functions. Connecting the eBike with digital services is an elementary stepping stone on the way to future mobility. By introducing the smart system, we are expanding the ways to connect the cyclist and the environment with the eBike. For example, eBikers can regularly look forward to new functions that are conveniently transferred to the eBike via the app.

How digital will the eBike of the future be?
As soon as you combine the eBike and smartphone, you have a connected riding experience, so, for the most part, this is already possible right now. In the future, eBikers will not only be connected while cycling, but also when their eBike is parked. The rider might want to make sure that their bike is still there when they return to it. This can only work if the bike is connected to the internet to give the owner this information. Another advantage of a connected eBike is the ability to communicate with other road users.

Gregor Dasbach, Vice President of Digital Business for Bosch eBike Systems sees the eBike as the driving force behind new mobility. For the future, he foresees new digital services that will enrich the riding experience.




What advantages do you mean?
We know from accident studies that many of the accidents involving bikes in the city are turning accidents where cyclists were overlooked. In future, by connecting road users, drivers and vehicles will be warned to avoid such accidents. I believe there is enormous potential to be tapped through communication with other road users.

How are digital services changing the eBiking experience?
Rather quite decisively. eBiking is becoming an increasingly individual experience. This begins right from the start. It doesn't really matter whether I unlock the eBike with a touch of the finger or by smartphone. The eBike will suggest a route that fits my riding profile. It handles gear shifting, making the most of my battery for the trip - and effortlessly making my favourite apps part of my eBike experience.

What products will be under development at Bosch eBike Systems in the coming years?
We are pursuing two strategies in developing new products and services. Our first concern is rider safety, from the further development of ABS to assistance in the event of an accident. The second major topic is digital services that will make eBiking an even more enjoyable and individual experience in the future. This requires seamless connectivity. After all, the many new functions are only truly fun if the hardware and digital components are perfectly matched. We will continue to expand our innovation leadership in this area.

Gregor Dasbach, Vice President of Digital Business for Bosch eBike Systems sees the eBike as the driving force behind new mobility. For the future, he foresees new digital services that will enrich the riding experience.




Mr. Dasbach, how do you see mobility developing over the next 10 years?
It is likely that the space currently dedicated to cars will be freed up more for other road users. Cities are increasingly realigning themselves according to environmentally friendly principles. This includes more sharing services and electric vehicles, which, together with public transport, offer greater scope for intermodal travel. The bicycle in particular is taking a more central role.

What makes you so sure of this?
During the pandemic, it became obvious that work and private life are increasingly merging. The increasing trend of working from home means that long commutes are no longer necessary. As a consequence, people increasingly associate travel with leisure time. You might take your bike to a meeting first thing and then head into the woods to clear your mind. Mobility is not just a means to an end, but increasingly part of an individual lifestyle.

What role does the eBike play in this?
It is relevant because it combines both: In the city, it is often the faster mode of transport, and it enhances your quality of life. A few years ago, the eBike was primarily a kind of mobility aid for people who didn't want the effort of riding a bike or who believed that they were too old to do so. But the truth is, everyone is familiar with situations where you don't use your bike because it's stressful or inconvenient in some way. eBikes increase people's motivation to ride a bike. The eCargo bike reinforces this trend. More and more people are beginning to wonder: do I really need a car in the city? Couldn't I drop my two children to daycare with a cargo bike? What else is possible? Shopping at the farmer's market, a trip to the hardware store? This is where opportunities arise that will get a huge boost from electrification.

As a manufacturer of eBike components, how are you preparing for future developments?
We are constantly asking ourselves about the challenges that cyclists face. We provide innovative answers to these questions. For example, we have introduced Help Connect, a service that calls for help if an eBiker has an accident. We were the first to introduce an assistance system for eBikes with the ABS anti-lock braking system. Another focus is on products for theft protection and other digital functions. Connecting the eBike with digital services is an elementary stepping stone on the way to future mobility. By introducing the smart system, we are expanding the ways to connect the cyclist and the environment with the eBike. For example, eBikers can regularly look forward to new functions that are conveniently transferred to the eBike via the app.

How digital will the eBike of the future be?
As soon as you combine the eBike and smartphone, you have a connected riding experience, so, for the most part, this is already possible right now. In the future, eBikers will not only be connected while cycling, but also when their eBike is parked. The rider might want to make sure that their bike is still there when they return to it. This can only work if the bike is connected to the internet to give the owner this information. Another advantage of a connected eBike is the ability to communicate with other road users.

What advantages do you mean?
We know from accident studies that many of the accidents involving bikes in the city are turning accidents where cyclists were overlooked. In future, by connecting road users, drivers and vehicles will be warned to avoid such accidents. I believe there is enormous potential to be tapped through communication with other road users.

How are digital services changing the eBiking experience?
Rather quite decisively. eBiking is becoming an increasingly individual experience. This begins right from the start. It doesn't really matter whether I unlock the eBike with a touch of the finger or by smartphone. The eBike will suggest a route that fits my riding profile. It handles gear shifting, making the most of my battery for the trip - and effortlessly making my favourite apps part of my eBike experience.

What products will be under development at Bosch eBike Systems in the coming years?
We are pursuing two strategies in developing new products and services. Our first concern is rider safety, from the further development of ABS to assistance in the event of an accident. The second major topic is digital services that will make eBiking an even more enjoyable and individual experience in the future. This requires seamless connectivity. After all, the many new functions are only truly fun if the hardware and digital components are perfectly matched. We will continue to expand our innovation leadership in this area.

"Digital services are significantly enhancing the eBike experience"

Gregor Dasbach, Vice President Bosch eBike Systems

Stephan Rammler, sociologist and founder of the Institute for Transportation Design, predicts a fundamental transformation in cities that will only succeed with sustainable mobility.

 

Mr. Rammler, how will cities be different in the future?
As more and more people move to urban areas, the demand for living space, cultural and leisure facilities and mobility will also increase. The question is how to reconcile future expectations with the available urban space.

What's your solution?
The increasing density of the population in cities will give rise to a central demand for greater sustainability, as otherwise we will simply run out of air to breathe in cities due to climate change. This affects many areas, but first and foremost mobility. Individual ownership of the classic combustion engine car with its significant ecological footprint cannot continue. As is evident in younger generations, usage patterns are shifting towards sharing - from car and ride sharing to electric scooter and bike sharing services.

Will the city of the future be car-free?
I wouldn't quite go that far. In the future, however, there will certainly be more electrified vehicles on the road. Politicians will have to incentivise more sustainable mobility, for example by introducing a toll for motorists in the city. Because one thing is clear: The transformation can no longer be put on the long finger.

"Individual ownership of the classic combustion engine car with its significant ecological footprint cannot continue."

Stephan Rammler, sociologist and founder of the Institute for Transportation Design

Ralph Buehler, professor and transportation researcher at the Virginia Tech Research Center in the U.S., discusses ways to create a bike-friendly city and the Copenhagen model. Researcher Ralph Buehler is the author of "City Cycling" (2012) and "Cycling for Sustainable Cities" (2021) – and commutes to work by bike himself.


Mr. Buehler, Copenhagen is universally regarded as a model for bike-friendly traffic management – what can other cities learn from it?
Like many smaller cities in the Netherlands, the statistics for the Danish capital are the stuff of dreams. 49 percent of the population cycle to school, university or work. However, this did not happen overnight, as Copenhagen is a traditionally bike-friendly city that has stepped up its measures over the last 30 years. The reason why the city has become a model for the world at large can best be summed up with a formula for success: separate, protected cycle paths along the main traffic routes. These allow everyone to get around quickly and safely.

Do you see signs that other cities are following suit?
Yes, there is already a trend in many cities around the world to create protected bike lanes to allow cyclists to get from A to B safely and quickly - often in combination with more car-free zones in downtown areas and streets with speed limits. This is part of a transport policy that gives more space to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, while restricting car traffic and making it less attractive. This can be seen in Montreal in Canada or Portland in the USA, as well as in the European cities of Paris, Vienna and Barcelona.

What is driving this development?
Municipal authorities around the world face the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions, minimising traffic congestion and combating local air pollution. This is the only way to maintain quality of life. We're talking about values like health, safety and recreational opportunities. For this, the traffic space needs to be reallocated.  

How important is the role of the bicycle in the mobility revolution?
Cycling will play a major role in sustainable transport. In cities in particular, it is the perfect means of transport for many people when it comes to distances of up to ten kilometres. The increased popularity of eBikes is giving this development a further boost. They allow longer distances to be covered and appeal to new target groups. For example, commuters who no longer get into a sweat, even on long and steep routes to the office. This requires an expansion of the cycle path network so that people from outlying areas can commute quickly to the city and back home again. Many cities still have some catching up to do here.

 

"It is important to have separate,  fast bike lanes for commuters"

Ralph Buehler, traffic researcher

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