Published: November 12, 2014 | Berlin, Germany
The 3rd Audi Urban Future Award along with a prize money of a whopping 100,000 euros the world’s highest-value prize for innovative mobility solutions, goes to Mexico City.
A nine-strong jury with an interdisciplinary composition assessed the proposals made by the competition teams according to criteria such as innovative power, feasibility, sustainability and transferability to other cities. Under the motto “the next leap in mobility,” four interdisciplinary teams from Berlin, Boston, Mexico City and Seoul competed for the Audi Urban Future Award with their innovative ideas on tomorrow’s mobility. Experts from China, Germany, the United Kingdom, Columbia and the USA were represented on the jury. It was chaired by the director of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University, Prof. John Urry. “The teams’ ideas were as diverse as the cities that they come from. There were exciting approaches in all the proposals,” Urry stated in Berlin. “Ultimately we decided in favour of Mexico City because the project is already being implemented, and it provides concrete and above all affordable solutions for the urgent mobility problems in the mega-cities of threshold countries.”
The competition team headed by the renowned architect and city planner Jose Castillo impressed the international jury with its “operating system for urban mobility.” Its heart is a data platform with which cities can design their transportation planning according to needs and drivers can flexibly adapt their behavior to the latest situation.
”The internationally renowned architect and urban planner Jose Castillo and his Mexican team are convinced “that the automobile can solve precisely the problems that it caused itself” – by, for example, providing data with which cities can manage their traffic planning better. According to the IBM Commuter Pain Index, Mexico City is the “most painful commuter city in the world.”
The winning team in the Audi Urban Future Award 2014 puts its faith in encouraging self-help by making commuters into data donors. At the same time it tests new forms of cooperation between companies, mobility providers and municipal institutions: In addition to Audi, many companies and organizations have cooperated. An initial version of the new data platform has been online since September. Commuters can share data on their own movements with other users through a website and an app. In this way a valid database for sustainable urban and transportation planning is gradually created. As soon as enough real-time data for precise forecasts are available, people can adapt their behavior to the forecasts and thus influence the traffic themselves – by departing later or by choosing the mode of transportation that gets them to their destination quickest.
The Boston team that competed for the Award, headed by Philip Parsons, formerly dean of Planning at Harvard University, has conceived a “multimodal marketplace for mobility.” It is founded on highly complex simulation software that makes it possible to calculate the opportunities for new technologies and provides a transparent basis for investment decisions. When the developer building a parking garage realizes how much smaller his real estate can be planned, thanks to self-parking cars, the foundation for new business relationships is laid.
The range of opportunities offered by autonomously driving cars inspired the designer Sung Gul Hwang and his team from Seoul. Their proposals are based on ethnographic studies in the trendy Gangnam district. The car can be transformed as desired into a traveling interface to the city, a virtual space for experiences or a social urban device that rewards the driver for environmentally aware or socially responsible behavior.
Many of these ideas still lie in the future. But much is already possible today. “Audi Connect,” for example, already serves as a communication center in the car. And the Audi hold-up pilot, which is close to readiness for series production, will soon take over the controls on highways in slow-moving traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h.
The insights from the third Audi Urban Future Award will flow directly into Audi’s new “Urban Agenda.” In order to implement sustainable mobility solutions, Audi is pressing ahead by forming development partnerships with cities.
Check out the concept video of Urban Mobility OS