Stating that mobility, be it urban or extra-urban, at a micro or macro level, is undergoing a revolutionary change might appear as almost stating the obvious. By definition, mobility is always on the move, but the changes which are affecting it are profound and radical. What is changing, actually, is the very idea of travel, of a journey, of the usage of the means whereby we travel around or of the services which we demand. The way we use the roads is changing, as is the time we spend on them.
The automotive sector is already building the future, with its plans for electric vehicles, car sharing, autonomous driving, active mobility and services for road safety. But, following the pandemic, this revolution has been given an additional boost in order to try to respond to the new requirements emerging in matters of mobility. Developing his ideas on this topic was Stefano Porro, Future Mobility Manager at Pirelli, on the occasion of the 2020 edition of the Salon for CSR and Social Innovation where, together with other players in the sector, he dealt with the subject of changes in urban mobility and in the role which companies can play in this context.
Among the topics emerging has been the necessity, above all, of finding new ideas and solutions for the smart city of the future, where that future is not between five and ten years away, but arrives tomorrow. This is because commuting to and from work has significantly fallen as a result of Working From Home, and the use of local public transport has seen a significant slow-down with a consequent increase in the use of private means of transportation, ranging from the car to the bike and even the scooter.
It was with this specific purpose in mind, that is to say to propose new ideas for the mobility of the future, that Milan, (the city in motion par excellence, “which is always thus because it is never the same” as quoted in the ad from YesMilano), has seen the creation of a group of Mobility Managers composed of representatives from Institutions (the University of Milan-Bicocca and the National Council for Research) and companies from the Bicocca area, including Pirelli, who have suggested to the Regions and the Local Authorities that they should create infrastructures such as cycle stations, cycle and pedestrian connecting routes, new 30km/h zones, especially in the Bicocca neighbourhood, and new cycle-specific roads and superhighways such as the proposed cycle superhighway from Milan to Monza.
These are measures designed for living in the so-called “new normality”, where urban infrastructure needs to mutate in a way which permits the co-existence of traditional and new means of transportation, such as scooters and electric bicycles. During this phase of change, companies have the opportunity to introduce new ideas and solutions, Porro reminded us, such as the tangible and innovative proposals from Pirelli for micro-mobility in support not just of the new requirements of consumers but also of an ever-increasingly sustainable mobility. And it is precisely with this objective that Pirelli is supporting the use of pedal cycles and electric cycles in situations where these means of transportation best express themselves, such as for urban journeys or in leisure time.
To this end, Pirelli has launched the CYCL-e around project, the e-bike rental service for hotels and companies wishing to place a practical and sustainable means of transportation at the disposal of employees and visitors.
During the most acute phase of the medical emergency, Pirelli also launched the RIDE SAFE initiative which allowed the employees of the “Vittorio Buzzi” Children's Hospital and of the Milan Fatebenefratelli and Ophthalmic Hospital to enjoy the free usage of a fleet of Pirelli CYCL-e around e-bikes. Since then, this programme has also been offered to Pirelli employees and is resulting in collaborations with other companies from the Milan region.
This is just the first step, perhaps, in an historic moment where the trends being generated are shared from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, from town to town, and where the role of companies is becoming ever more crucial in order to create today a sense of recognition of the mobility of tomorrow: one which is ever cleaner and more sustainable.