As digital technologies transform the society we live in, the way we move around is changing like never before. From how we navigate urban landscapes, to new possibilities for logistics and walking aids for disabled persons. We need effective mobility for our economy and society to work well.
Mobility is relevant for a variety of industries and digitalization provides countless opportunities for new and improved mobility solutions. Digital technology leads to new mobility patterns, enables new business models and has the possibility to make mobility more sustainable.
When sensor technology meets geographic information science in the setting of a smart city, we can analyze the ways that people move around. With these kinds of insights, it is possible to assist urban area designers to not only optimize public transport, traffic and the use of public space, but also work towards making human movement as sustainable as possible. At the same time, various questions arise:
How will the digitalization of mobility affect how transport facilities and devices are designed and how we use them? How is individual and societal health and well-being affected? How can we use the development of smart cities, autonomous vehicles and new ways of air travel to create a mobility that is more sustainable?
Even though many of the technologies are already available today, the implementation of digital mobility solutions on a global level is a far-reaching task. We need to think carefully about respecting ethical, private and legal constraints and concerns. For a successful implementation and adoption of these new technologies, it is crucial that people are able to interact smoothly with them. Further, we need to develop frameworks about the role of public and private institutions and how they interact along the way when developing new mobility solutions.
At the University of Zurich, we study the impact of the digitalization of mobility from a holistic perspective.
The Digital Society Initiatives’ Mobility Community organizes their interdisciplinary research around three challenge areas: sustainability, health and an equal and inclusive society. This unique platform fosters discussions and idea exchange among researchers from five different faculties.
The new collaboration format has already resulted in some very exciting projects, from humanitarian use of drones in Nepal, to wearable movement sensors for neuro-rehabilitation. The UZH is at the forefront of interdisciplinary mobility research, working alongside companies such as SBB, BMW, AMAG and AXA for the benefit of public institutions, the economy and the wider society.
The aim of the Digital Society Initiative is to reflect on and actively shape digitalization and its impact on society, politics, economy and culture. It fosters interdisciplinary and interfaculty research, it supports new digitalization research and serves as a resource for digital competencies. In addition, DSI also sees it role in establishing a dialogue with the general public.