WDCD Live São Paulo 2017 report: Activation Session 8, The end of cars or a new beginning?
‘It’s not about how people move, but what moves people’
Despite the incessant growth of large cities and their current form focussed on the primacy of cars, new technologies and changes in consumer behaviour are slowly changing this paradigm. The activation session The end of cars or a new beginning? discussed the importance of an integrated and systemic view on mobility.
By Edward Lenzi
Citizens today want to occupy more of the public space and no longer see the car as an aspirational possession. We are moving from an economy of possession to an economy of access, where the facility offered by a product or service matters much more than its possession.
Caio Vassão, a professor at USP, and Barão Di Sarno, from Questto|Nó, presented some possibilities for the future. In addition to autonomous driving and new energy sources, already tested by companies like Google or Tesla, cars must be rethought as a platform capable of constant and agile changes, in synergy with new technologies. Lighter and more compact vehicles made of new materials and biomimetic systems applied in large cities can reduce environmental impact, accidents, travel time and, of course, economic costs.
The study of Di Sarno proposes to see the cities and their roads as a great circulatory system. Through digital open data systems and the prior definition of routes, speeds and displacements, unique digital tracks would operate a system that controls the flow of cars driving in trains, resulting in considerable energy efficiency. Cargo companies, garbage collection and emergency systems, for example, would also benefit greatly from this system.
Renata Grande of Ford also emphasized the company’s urgency for a systemic view of mobility, far beyond the perspective of individual cars. She pointed out to some of the brand’s actions in this context, such as stimulating shared car rides and research into autonomous driving.
As Natalia Garcia (Cities for People) concluded, cities are layered with legal structures, codes, and systems. We need to rethink these, uniting technology and intelligence to answer constantly changing needs and motivations of people. ‘Mobility is not about how people move, but what moves people, why they move,’ she said.
Top image: professor Caio Vassão / all photos José de Holanda