Cities that want to change the urban mobility within their communities will face various challenges during the implementation process. All in all, it can be difficult to attain a more balanced approach to public spaces as well as to redesign space from cars to bike parking and charging infrastructure.
Besides, people in charge will face a lack of time needed to convince the stakeholders and to break the silos (including city departments or public transport operators). In big cities, too many partners offering a lot of options can increase operational complexities while in small cities, too few partners can make the situation complicated due to a lack of options. Problems with the accessibility in mobility stations as well as having to deal with the lack of a suitable infrastructure for the adoption of E-mobility (i.e. fast charging infrastructure) do also come along. Besides, there could be a lack of regulations in new dock less bike sharing approaches. Legal aspects like the ownership of mobility stations, a fair distribution of space, and the circumstance that regulations and incentives are not mainstream in all European countries may also cause problems.
Moreover, public financing can be guilty of prescribing too much, for instance when it comes to complex procurement procedures. To that must be added that public transportation is often handled on a regional level, with limited control for cities by jurisdictional issues. On an economic level, the lack of sustainable business models for logistics, mobility, and even e-buses given the investment and operating costs as well as market barriers and the failure on the supply side to scale up solutions and decrease the costs, are potential hurdles to overcome.
Additionally, there is a lack of business models for private companies making a charging infrastructure accessible on their private premises. Sometimes, there are also no legal regulation for electrical energy reselling (like in Spain). To achieve social acceptance among citizens and drivers, they have to change their behaviour, while retailers and inhabitants have to deal with the effects.
Other challenges may arise due to an insufficient choice of electric commercial vehicles available in the market, and the fact that e-bus related technology is perceived to be high risk, especially in relation to battery storage.
To tackle these challenges, project cities should take into account and provide the time needed for the development of a global integrated approach. Furthermore, low cost land in city centres must be apportioned to sustainable last mile delivery organisations. Public/private relationships should also be improved through better governance and through the delivery of new business models.
Moreover, there should be national and local incentives to support and accelerate the adoption of new approaches or installation of a new infrastructure.
There are also many action possibilities regarding communication and engagement. Taking a participatory approach when deciding things as space allocation in city centres for last mile organisations or charging points as well as innovating and working in an ecosystem approach can be the right push in a scarcity context. It should also be taken into account that cooperative relationships are necessary across sectors and that investment in good communication will pay off.
Finally, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel: Ideas and methods that have already worked for other cities can be reused.
Commitment of politicians, city department as well as public transport operators (city and regional level), and the public are true enablers for follower cities. People in power do not only have to assure participatory engagement but should also work with stakeholders, investing in small incentives that can be deal-breakers for behavioural change, such as shared vehicles and bicycles as well as a charging infrastructure.
Moreover, getting the support of national and local governments and investors as for example EIB that is funding the charging infrastructure expansion in one city can be real door openers.