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Soft mobility

What is soft mobility and how can it save our cities? This article will tell you more about that.
A diverse group of young people walking down some stairs.
© RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility

Soft mobility is the third most frequently used mode of transport for everyday trips after individual cars and public transportation. It includes all ways of getting around (cycling, walking, roller-skating, etc), also called “active mobility”.

All environmentally friendly modes of transportation, like electromobility including electric cars, can be categorised under soft mobility. City centres are prime areas where soft mobility is popularly used. It presents multiple advantages—it saves time, often money, and cuts down on overall environmental impact.

With an intention of reducing emissions and clearing traffic congestion, many cities and communities are encouraging these new modes of transportation. For example, the city of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) has created 400 kilometres of bike paths and installed 4 000 charging stations.

Modes of soft mobility transportation

In cities, many innovative ways of getting around have recently appeared. Some examples of soft mobility transport options are:

  • e-scooters whether individually owned or rented, with a top speed of 30km/h
  • e-bikes and electric mopeds, which are available on a self-serve basis
  • electric car sharing where electric vehicles are shared among passengers
  • self-balancing scooters, electric unicycles and hoverboards are part of the soft mobility ecosystem
  • for the sidewalk, aside from walking there are options for roller skates, a skateboard or kick scooter.

Advantages

One of the main advantages of soft mobility is that it helps in reducing unnecessarily high volumes of traffic. Free public transportation by bus and train could play a significant role in this regard.

Sharing of streets by motorists and pedestrians poses the risk of a possible confrontation between careless pedestrians and motorists. This can be automatically reduced by soft mobility modes of transportation.

The following is a list of benefits of soft mobility

  • It helps to ease traffic congestion, to improve air quality and to optimise transport networks.
  • It makes transport more efficient and environmentally friendly. This makes businesses attract employees and makes goods delivery smooth.
  • As the system reduces CO2 emission and makes a clean air atmosphere. It produces less noise. Hence it increases the quality of life and makes cities places to live in.
  • It makes cities safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Passengers can make use of affordable collective transport and shared cars. The concept encourages travel on foot and by bicycle. As a result, green mobility model-based transport systems consume the least energy and produce less pollution and at the same time provide higher recognition to the passengers.
  • The system makes people healthier.

We have learned more about soft mobility and now we will focus on soft mobility in Europe.

© RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility
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