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Addressing Challenges and Opportunities in the Mobility Ecosystem with New Mobility Lab

Over the last three months, WRI India hosted the New Mobility Lab, which is a set of exploratory roadshows across four Indian cities (i.e. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi). The primary objective of these events was to understand the challenges, opportunities and the entrepreneurial landscape that shape the mobility ecosystem of these cities. This one of a kind startup showcase is the pre-cursor to a Mobility Accelerator Program that will be held later this year. The NML roadshows saw participation from city officials, innovators, government officials and investors to facilitate dialogue, witness the demonstration of innovative mobility solutions, and explore potential avenues of collaboration among different stakeholders.

India has witnessed rapid urbanization in the past few decades. At current growth rates, the urban population is projected to reach 575 million by 2030. This fast-paced urban growth has been accompanied with an increase in private vehicle ownership, leading to multiple social and environmental challenges in cities. The current scenario creates a great opportunity for innovators to develop viable solutions for sustainable modes of transportation. In terms of new mobility trends, WRI India has identified four areas of focus: shared mobility, commuter experience, product innovation and data-driven decision making.

Bangalore: At Unlock Bengaluru, WRI India, in partnership with FedEx, Shell Foundation and the Toyota Mobility Foundation hosted the first New Mobility Lab on 21st July 2018. Three forms of engagements took place among relevant stakeholders in the mobility space. These included Mobility Walkthrough, Masterclass and Panel Discussion. Thirty innovative enterprises demonstrated their unique mobility solutions at the Mobility Walkthrough. The walkthrough was followed by a Masterclass on “The Role of Governments in Fostering Innovation for Better Cities” by Amit Gupta, CEO, Yulu Bikes.

The roadshow concluded with a panel discussion on the ‘Future of Mobility’. The panellists in this session included Dattatreya Gaur, Vice President at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions; Pras Ganesh, Director at Toyota Mobility Foundation; Santhosh Vasanthakumar, Senior General Manager - Mobility, IoT, Digital Transformation at Mahindra Group; and Vidhya Kalyani Ramasubban, Co-founder at KickStart Cabs.

They shared profound insights on how new innovations are influencing the movement of commuters, accessible mobility, the role of Governments to push policy for the mobility sector, and the role of corporates to help shape the future of the mobility space.

Hyderabad: The New Mobility Lab Roadshow (branded as the Smart Mobility Startup Festival) in Hyderabad, was held on 11th August 2018 at Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited. The Festival included a Mobility Walkthrough of 25 mobility startups. Each startup engaged with multiple stakeholders such as government officials, municipalities, corporates, and investors, and explored potential areas of collaboration.

Chennai: The New Mobility Lab Roadshow took place in Chennai on 25th August 2018. The roadshow was designed to explore a vision for Urban Mobility in Chennai for 2030 and assess different possible solutions. They were categorised into Tech Interventions, Design & Planning, Urban Services Management & Governance, and Engineering. The session was spearheaded by Vidhya Mohankumar, Founder at Urban Design Collective. Raj Cherubal, CEO at Chennai Smart City Limited shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the mobility space for entrepreneurs. He also elaborated on the importance of innovation in making mobility more accessible to all commuter groups.

NML Chennai

Delhi: The New Mobility Roadshow took place in Delhi on 9th September 2018, in partnership with the ANDC inStart Foundation. The discussions focused on integrated multi-modal urban transportation, first and last mile connectivity, and improved accessibility for the elderly and differently-abled. Entrepreneurs, mobility enthusiasts and city officials talked about the e-mobility technologies which have been changing the nation’s transport network over the years, and how they can be used to tackle challenges in the mobility space. Topics such as the potential of new mobility innovations, city-specific problems and opportunities, and how to engage with the government to solve challenges were also discussed. Participants unanimously concluded that embracing innovative solutions proactively and implementing them on a large scale is the way forward.

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