The EIT Urban Mobility project is launched in Barcelona to transform mobility in European cities

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On 19 November, Barcelona City Council officially launched the European project EIT Urban Mobility at the Smart City Expo World Congress. The event marked the implementation of this initiative, in which the UPC and CARNET/CIT UPC participate and whose aim is to fund projects that provide mobility solutions to make European cities more inhabitable.

Participants at the launch of the EIT Urban Mobility project included the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau; the major of Milan, Giuseppe Sala; the CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, Maria Tsavachidis; the rector of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC)Francesc Torres; the president of SEAT, Luca de Meo; and the project coordinator, Luís Gómez, among other institutional representatives.

The UPC has promoted and coordinated Barcelona’s bid for European capital of urban mobility since the launch of the urban mobility research and innovation centre CARNET, a member of the innovation community through the CIT UPC, three years ago.

 In December 2018, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) created the innovation community EIT Urban Mobility and selected the consortium MOBiLus to coordinate the project. The consortium is comprised of 48 members from 15 countries. It includes the cities of Amsterdam, Munich and Milan; universities such as the UPC, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the Aalto University; knowledge institutes such as the Fraunhofer Institute of Information Theory and Automation, the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) and the Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (CTAG); and companies like BMW, SEAT, TomTom and Siemens. It is a pioneering initiative in Europe that brings together three branches of knowledge: business, education and research, as well as cities.

The EIT Urban Mobility is set up as an international public-private platform to contribute to ensuring a more ecological, more inclusive, safer, smarter system of urban mobility. With the horizon of 2026, the project aims to support 180 start-ups, free up space that was allocated to vehicles in 90% of the cities participating in the initiatives, launch 125 new products, increase shared mobility and obtain investments for a value of 38 million euros through the project.

After the first call for project proposals, which was announced last April, over 60 projects were selected that will be implemented at European scale over the next two years. They range from initiatives in the academic environment and education to innovation or business creation projects. To accelerate innovation, merit was given to projects that involve most European countries and that will be developed in more than one member city.

In addition, the UPC will lead one of the three accelerators selected by EIT Urban Mobility: that of southern Europe, which is also formed by the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Barcelona City Council, the CARNET/CIT UPC platform and the Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (CTAG). This accelerator with headquarters in the UPC will start to operate in early 2020 and for three consecutive years it will accelerate over 25 business projects in thearea of urban mobility in this European area.

The other two winning proposals are those of central Europe, led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in consortium with members in Germany and north Italy, and that of the east of Europe, coordinated by a consortium from Hungary and the Czech Republic. The aim of the EIT is to have in the future five accelerators in the entire consortium to accelerate urban mobility projects.

The UPC has extensive experience and is a leader in Spain in promoting the creation of companies, supporting business ideas and putting technology at the service of society. To date, the university’s technology springboard has constituted 330 companies (spin-offs and start-ups), generated a total of 4,500 jobs, requested over 500 patents and licensed 223 technologies.