Initial findings from the UMii (Urban Mobility innovation index) project were presented today in a plenary session of the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Montréal and pointed to the great potential available to cities that foster innovation in urban mobility.

The initial findings of the UMii project, initiated by RTA (Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai) and implemented by UITP (the International Association of Public Transport), in partnership with Future Cities Catapult, highlighted the fact that although innovation is often perceived as technology-based, it’s much more than that.

New types of governance, adapted processes of regulation or different ways to create, plan, and collaborate can also have a significant role in enhancing urban mobility. Neither is it about major investments or shiny new infrastructure: seemingly minor but smart improvements can make a big difference and, in harnessing them, offer massive untapped potential for cities.

Key messages for urban leaders from the project focus on the need to share (sharing the ownership of the city’s strategy with the ones benefiting from it) to look at mobility in the wider context of sustainable urban planning (it’s not just a transport challenge) or to explore the power of data.

The UMii project has sought to provide insights into urban mobility and innovation in cities across the world and to deliver a guide for cities to foster innovation in their urban mobility services and systems. Data has been collected globally from 30 cities.

While most of the innovative ideas identified in the project were local and contextual — there are also common threads that can be applied in other cities to remove obstacles to innovation that are often present. The project also focused on the need for clarity: the increasing focus on innovation globally has led to a need to fully understand it in order to exploit its potential and one of the focal points of UMii was to develop qualitative indicators for cities to make mobility smarter.

“There is enormous scope for cities to really take charge to be more innovative and to be owners of their innovation strategies,” said Karine Sbirrazzuoli, UMii project manager at UITP.

A detailed report, including individual city’s innovation profiles will be launched later in the year, as well as a Policy Paper including final recommendations and key enablers for innovation in urban mobility. For more information, click here.