Examining the drivers, as well as the impacts of these changes in mobility and logistics requires an interactive interdisciplinary approach. We distinguish three different policy areas where this interdisciplinary approach becomes a real value-added:

  • The travel market is where demand for activity and supply of activity opportunities in space and time create travel patterns; this market depends on demographics, attitude, spatial densities, functional diversity, and geographic particularities.
  • The transport market where the demanded travel pattern and the supply of transport options come together in a transport pattern that assigns passenger and goods trips to vehicles and transport services; the market depends on transport system efficiency, the rate of intermodal and transmodal integration, (inter)connectivity etc.
  • The traffic market is the market in which the required transport patterns are confronted with the actual supply of infrastructure and their associated traffic management systems; the market depends on infrastructure design, TMS vehicle technology, IT facilities, online and just-in-time modal choice etc.

UGent has outstanding expertise on each of these issues. And our aim is to work more closely together to come to more integrated/interdisciplinary research. Integration implies bringing together several disciplines: spatial sciences, urban sociology, geography, governance and law, health promotion, safety, civil engineering, IT-technology, big data, GIS, visualization, and the like. These are needed to grasp the key issues and make a real difference. Especially in times of major transitions and disruptions, the efficiency and insights of the one speeds up the other, represses it or the other way around. At the same time these key issues and corresponding solutions are dependent on the available (energy or knowledge) resources as an input, or the environmental or health impact as an output, which in their turn would drive the need or rate of the interconnected integration of the above three markets. All these various sub-systems or transition arenas are in need of an efficient, situational governance involving the hardware, the usage (software) and the organization (orgware, dataware) of a smart mobility system.