5 Key Points to Seeding Mobility Culture Change

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen shifting mobilities within our towns and cities, with tactical urbanism employed to get more people walking and cycling safely and enjoyably. This readable blog from Gehl People in May 2020, presents five key ways to encourage more micromobility within our towns and cities, and reduce people’s car dependencies, by re-designing streets to prioritise moving people over vehicles.

Date added 5 November 2020
Last updated 5 November 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen shifting mobilities within our towns and cities, with tactical urbanism employed to get more people walking and cycling safely and enjoyably. As the author of this Gehl People blog argues, “as the coronavirus pandemic ground our global economy to a halt this spring, bringing personal and economic loss with it, it also brought many people’s lives closer to home. This in turn created a natural and unexpected experiment to test how streets can function in the future”. The article presents five key ways to seed a mobility change culture, as summarised below.

Five ways to seed a mobility culture change

1. Celebrate micromobility as public life

The article suggests that many of us have missed public life and the chance to socialise with friends, families, and strangers during the pandemic. It argues that more micromobility in towns and cities, whether bikes or scooters, can help to add a sense of social vibrancy on our streets.

2. Deploy shared mobility to strengthen mass transit

Transit agencies could link up with micromobility providers to ensure that neighbourhoods have better accessibility, especially to help essential workers to get around in a safe and socially-distanced manner. This can also help to address historical inequalities around who can afford a private car, or has access to public transport.

3. The 15-minute mobility system

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of being able to access essential items and services within the local neighbourhood, and hence the 15-minute neighbourhood concept, where these should be only a short trip away. The article suggests a mobility system is now needed to complement this idea.

 4. Streets as resilience infrastructure

The report advises that, since they are important factors in mobility and community health, our streets should be capable of ‘dynamic rebalancing’ to respond to changing needs and circumstances. They have been important spaces in which people have come together during the pandemic, beyond just places to ‘store sleeping cars’.

5. The need for human-centred data

Finally, the author highlights the importance of human-centred data for better understanding things like who is present/absent in our streets, and who they are designed for. It might help to address any existing inequalities, and transform mobility culture in ways that benefit a diverse range of town and city users.