Keep listening to your inner voice, the real work comes from inside out.” – Yasmina Ravijse, Wellbeing Instructor, Y4PT Mentor
We are on a journey, you and I. Always on a journey. In our minds and hearts a vision of a better world, and it is to this we set our compass. We strike out in hope of reaching our destination – but do we really know the way? What will we achieve today, tomorrow, this month, this year, this lifetime, this generation?
In 2013, Y4PT began our campaign for Healthy Mobility, to connect and build on shared knowledge of global links between transport and health across interconnected challenges of modal shift, air pollution, emissions, nutrition and road safety. In that time we have developed and incentivised tools for practical youth knowledge of reducing C02 emissions with #iCOmmit2, improved nutrition education with #NutriEnergy, measured exposure to transport pollution with #BreatheableCities, lead 3 years of #ModalShift to healthy and sustainable transport modes, and encouraged over 4 years of #Y4PTHackathon projects to address these challenges.
Defining Healthy Mobility is more perilous than it seems. In the transport world, it conjures a sea of bicycles and scooters – sometimes carrying joyful travellers on the crest of its wave, and sometimes filling the depths with heaped-up detritus of battles for growth. Outside the transport world, it raises the spectre of our aging future as we try to avoid picturing ourselves bent stiffly over walking frames unable to read the bus times on tiny phone screens.
Mobility is movement, and the possibility of movement. The ease and peace of movement – being able to travel as we please, to move our bodies as we please. When it is at its healthiest, it is smooth, clean, unobstructed. But when it is not healthy, the grinding obstruction obliterates all else. Pain, frustration, delay; being stuck, and the looming fear of destination nowhere.
For mobility to be healthy, the power lies in the nurturing of health itself. The health of our bodies, our emotions, and of our whole planet home.
As we approach our 3rd Global Finale at the 2019 UTIP Global Transport Summit, Stockholm, we reinforce our commitment to a connected, holistic, collaborative approach to creating and building on healthy solutions to our most pressing global transport issues.
“I think that the biggest challenge is to really integrate in our world and stop destroying it, not only for nature but also for ourselves, to live a healthier life.” – Vreixo González Caneda, Software Developer, Y4PT Hackathon participant and winner.
Healthy Mobility has been embedded in our approach throughout the Y4PT Hackathons, spanning two UITP Summits and approaching our third. During the 2015 UITP Summit Milan, we endorsed Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, and Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” movement as multipliers of global voices sharing healthy visions for our new generations stepping up to become creators of future mobility. By the 2017 UITP Summit in Montréal, we were reinforcing ideas in practice, with Wellbeing Instructor Yasmina Ravyse bringing leadership in movement, meditation and massage to our participants and mentors, enabling physical and mindful awareness to become part of the creative process for new technologies.
“I want to be part of an organisation inspired by the idea to make the world a better place, especially young people, they are the future” – Yasmina Ravijse, Wellbeing Instructor, Y4PT Mentor
As our Y4PT Global Hackathons continue to develop, this integrated practice is growing, with dedicated rooms for physical workshops and treatments in Moscow showing priority of maintaining our fitness; while in the rural mobility hackathon in Menden, group cookery and meditation built awareness of nutrition, and the value of new shared skills and experiences. Participants are creating solutions in nurturing contexts of health and awareness.
This approach is clearly reflected in the projects created. From “Walkarama” (Dubai) enabling worldwide walking via smartphone, to the piezoelectric tiles of Milan and Dubai winners “Walkee” allowing these active travellers to generate sustainable electricity, this season’s participants have created a powerful network of interconnected projects and ideas across the borders of geography and experience.
“My hope is that technology will not become a goal [in] itself, but a tool to give back public space to people and green spaces [..]. This means a balanced mobility system primarily based on walking, cycling, public transport, Mobility as a Service/Sharing Systems for daily use; and that the self-driving car will not look like a car but a comfortable and functional space on wheels!
My fear is that “we” (people/cities/politicians) forget to tell car manufacturers our wishes for how an accessible and liveable city should look in the future, and that they have to come up with solutions contributing to our wishes. If we leave the transition to smart & healthy mobility/cities to the technology & automobile sector and short term political agendas the benefits to society of this transition will be minimal [..].
If we create an appealing vision of what our cities can be in the future from a human perspective, and put this central in our discussion and choices we make, I’m hopeful.”
– Geert de Leeuw, Urban Geographer / Lecturer Built Environment / Y4PT Hackathon Mentor
To take a lead in creating healthy mobility for all requires the courage to act, and the sensitivity to listen. The welcoming exposure to diverse perspectives and needs during a Y4PT hack builds a deep understanding that different people have different mobility requirements. Everybody must be able to experience their healthiest mobility, whoever and wherever they are.
This means supporting projects in challenging locations, such as the Syrian demand-responsive transport project “SPNR”, pitched in Berlin, providing adaptable travel where access to health requires access to a vehicle. And it means making accessibility standard rather than an annoying add-on; not everybody is able to walk the last mile, or ride a bike. Rightly celebrating walking and cycling as healthy transport options does not mean shaming or ignoring those of us with other needs. A truly healthy mobility ecosystem should always make the most appropriate mode readily available, safe, and welcoming.
Y4PT Hackathon teams, as always, rise to this challenge. The autonomous pods of “Independent Rapid Transit”, pitched in Menden, were designed to be fully accessible and included bathrooms. A simple addition, yet left out of so many proposals for autonomous transport. The moving walkways of Dubai winners “Namshi” make journeys on foot easier and faster for many, including opening up this mode to those with limited ability to walk long distances. For this team, consideration is second-nature:
“Whenever you have the choice to be nice to another person, please do make that choice.” – Mariam Khalifeh, UI, Designer, Project Manager, Biz Dev, Communicator. Y4PT Hackathon Participant and winner
Considering diverse needs builds better, more scalable, more sustainable and more adaptable products. Without this consideration, any change will be shallow and fleeting.
“I hope that active mobility will be the predominant mode of transport in city. I fear that electric and autonomous vehicles will simply replace diesel vehicles, but the attitude of the people will not change…” – Riccardo Scarinci, Algorithm Designer, Project Manager, Biz Dev. Y4PT Hackathon Participant and winner.
And this attitude must change. We cannot continue to live, work and create at the expense of our own health and that of our planet. As we learn to prioritise respect for ourselves and each-other, that respect and care naturally extends to the environment we are an integral part of. Whether measuring pollution (“Air4”, Montréal), incentivising sustainable travel (“BeMyGuide”, Dubai), or creating it (“2MyPlace”, Milan), Y4PT Teams are consistently creating projects that put the health of our planet first, without compromising on quality or business potential.
We do not need to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. We can build better.
“There is [a] statement that children are smarter than their parents, and this also happens with young generations. New generations might solve current problems by learning from the mistakes in the past years or decades, and for humanity there is a big opportunity to make a greater world!” – Marija Satibaldijeva, Spatial planning student, Artist, Y4PT Hackathon participant and winner.
True to their potential, Y4PT Hackathon Participants are not only creating their own chosen futures, they are also inspiring and laying the trail for the generations that follow. Many Y4PT Participants, such as Urban Geographer Geert de Leeuw go on to become mentors, or to set up their own hackathons. And many create projects incentivising future generations to take action and choose Healthy Mobility from the start. As we choose and share a healthier way, we make it easier for others to follow.
2017 Global Finale Winning app, “Ditch”, inspired children to take the lead in encouraging their parents to make the modal shift towards healthy and sustainable transport, by putting the choice in their hands.
The app’s youngest creator, Kim Smulders, pursued her own education journey following the Summit, with new understanding that her voice already has power and relevance; her skills and work can make a difference in the world right now; for her own, for younger, and for older generations with the vision to pay attention.
“I received a super rare 10/10 (straight A) score for this paper and am super proud of it 😊. We have been thinking about sending this paper to our government to help improve our highways.” – Kim Smulders, Student, Design, Y4PT Hackathon Participant and Winner.
Have those of us with the power to act welcomed this paper? Are we active enough in seeking out the insights of our youth?
Do you feel the pull to learn alongside these young voices? To share the power of hope assembled into action? You are welcome on this journey. We must travel together: those who will create our future, and those who are providing the platforms, tools, technologies, resources and opportunities of today.
We do not yet know what will be created during the 2019 Global Finale at the UTIP Global Transport Summit, Stockholm, but we invite you to be among the first to experience the next generation of Healthy Mobility, and to share your own knowledge and experience with our unique, brave, thoughtful and talented teams.
“Many positive and innovative things are happening around the globe. We have to keep sharing them, learn from them and apply them in our daily practice! More and more people start realising that improving your street, neighbourhood, city, country or world starts with yourself, by the choices you make!” – Geert de Leeuw, Urban Geographer / Lecturer Built Environment / Y4PT Hackathon Mentor
This better world we are seeking is our world, in our time. We do not have to wait; in fact, we cannot afford to set this as some distant destination. We must step into our hope, right now, and make it real. In undertaking this journey together we are already travelling through this landscape of possibility, shaping it with boldness, kindness, cleverness and togetherness. This journey is that better world; move with us.
– Laura Trevail; Berlin, Brussels & Southend. March 2019
Team “Walkarama”, Dubai: Ignacio O’Mullony [Designer, UK, Spain], Vreixo Gonzalez [Software Developer, spain]
Team “Walkee”, Milan, Dubai: Giuliana Maugeri [Project Manager/Business Development, Marketer/Communicator, Italy];Pietro Percudani [Project Manager/Business Development, Marketer/Communicator, Italy]; Ana Lombard [User Interface/Graphic Designer, Argentina]
Team “SPNR”, Berlin: Ahmad Houri [Software Engineer, Germany, Syria], with UX Consultant Falk [Germany].
Team “Independant Rapid Transit”, Menden: Tristan Helmstaedt [Idea Generator, Germany] Lara [Technical drawing, Idea Generator, Germany], Max [Presenter, Idea Generator, Germany].
Team “Namshi”, with Alessandra Gorini – Dubai: Facundo Di Giacomo [Software Programmer/Coder, Project Manager/Business Development. Argentina], Simon Carpman [Software Programmer/Coder, Hardware maker. Argentina], Riccardo Scarinci [Algorithm Designer, Project Manager/Business Development. Switzerland], Mariam Khalifeh [User Interface/Graphic Designer, Project Manager/Business Development, Marketer/Communicator, Mentor, Dubai]
Team “Air4”, Montréal: Massimo Santi [Mechanical Engineer, Italy]; André Borges [renewable energy engineer, Portugal]; Julius Mugaga [Biomedical Engineer, Uganda]; Marco van Nieuwenhoven [software/electrical engineer, The Netherlands]; Seydou Konate [software developer, mali]
Team “BeMyGuide”, Dubai: Dafne Medina [Software Programmer/Coder, Mexico]; Diego Cardenas [Mexico]
Team “2MyPlace”, Milan: Thiago Soares Figueira [Innovatore, Italy]; Maddalena Boscolo [Architecture Student, Italy]; Monica Giordano [Mathematical Engineer, Italy]; Enrico Gallo [Engineering Student, Italy]; Alberto Gerri [Engineering Student, Italy]; Roberto Monti [Urbanist, Italy]