Report on how 'living labs' contribute to the transformation of urban mobility

By Sofia Pechin / Updated: 04 May 2021

Since 2006 the concept of the 'living lab' has been recognised by the European Commission as a key tool for open innovation. Living labs have spread all over Europe in various waves, first focusing on new ICT tools and later spreading to other fields, such as sustainable energy, healthcare, safety, and mobility. Living labs are seen as a key strategic instrument to boost the uptake of innovative sustainable urban mobility solutions in order to accelerate the transition to scale by engaging directly with citizens, the local community and all stakeholders in a real-life environment. This includes improving people’s quality of life by creating more liveable urban spaces through innovation and transformation.

In this context, LuxMobility and Breda University of Applied Sciences, funded by the EIT Urban Mobility, drew up an inventory of urban mobility living labs in the Pan-European region and recently published their main output on living labs. The report illustrates that the operational set up and local urban mobility strategies, as well as the goals of the main key stakeholders, have led in practice to a large variety of urban mobility living labs in Europe. The report provides an understanding of the scope of the mobility living labs movement in Europe, the typologies of the living labs deployed and their added value for the mobility transition, as well as their barriers.

In particular, the report brought together the experiences of the existing mobility living labs in innovation projects included in the: EIT Urban Mobility Business Plan 2020; the existing European networks and other mobility-related living labs in the Pan-European region; and the key learnings from existing mobility living labs in Europe.

The work was undertaken through initial desk research and an online survey, followed by a dedicated set of interviews and different collaborative workshops organised with the EIT KIC Urban Mobility Management and recognised living lab experts. As a result, not only the report, but a living lab toolbox and a dynamic geo-referenced map of EU urban mobility living labs were produced.

The key elements of living labs – i.e. active user involvement, a multiple-stakeholder platform for innovation in real-life contexts, and a multi-method and co-creation approach – are completely aligned with EIT Urban Mobility’s vision and mission and are mirrored on the report. In particular, the report presents an in-depth analysis focusing on the following topics:

  • origin;
  • duration;
  • main topics addressed;
  • key owners and stakeholders involved;
  • relation to policy initiatives;
  • real-life environmental characteristics;
  • co-creation and end-user involvement;
  • operational structure;
  • business models;
  • kind of activities facilitated;
  • key challenges; and
  • areas of support needed. 

For more information, see the full report EIT Urban Mobility Knowledge_base_living_labs Report

Original article published by EIT Urban Mobility on 23 April 2021

Photo Credit: © Banana Oil - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.

Urban mobility planning