The smartphone as the key for my mobility

A few weeks ago, I was in New York with friends. Driven by our spirit of discovery, we had missed our appointment in the afternoon and the day’s schedule threatened to tip over. Instead of taking the subway, we quickly called an Uber and drove through Brooklyn. Whereby “driving” is exaggerated since we felt that 110% of the trip was in a traffic jam.

Photo by Joline Torres on Unsplash

At the latest since this experience I had to think several times about it, how here probably even in the most beautiful car no driving feeling can arise, since at the latest in Manhattan — in addition, surely also in other places of the world — all traffic snakes like a viscous mass slowly between the skyscrapers along.

Testing the mobility of a city

But the Big Apple may also be an extreme example — no matter what kind of transport. When I used the “Citibike NYC”-Bikesharing in New York for a few miles, I was sure to end up as a radiator figure of a taxi. Now you might wonder why I did this to myself in the first place. The reason is that at some point I discovered for myself how much fun it can be to try out and use the mobility possibilities of different cities. That’s why my smartphone is filled with Mobility Apps.

It all started a few years ago with a visit to Munich. Until then, I combined the rental of bicycles with a relatively time-consuming process, where you have to take care of an old three-speed bike for a whole day. But suddenly there were rental bikes in the whole city that could be used spontaneously and could be parked independently of stations. Simply drive from A to B and you were rid of the bike again. On top of that, I was thrilled by the simplicity: after registration, you get a four-digit code by the app, which you enter via a number pad on the carrier and the ride starts. A little technical extra on the carrier and my smartphone and bicycle were best friends. Hello, future!

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Copenhagen as a model for smart and green mobility

Premium in terms of the combination of rental bikes and technical progress is, of course, to be found in the bicycle capital Copenhagen.

Specially developed e-bikes can not only be used on the excellently networked cycle paths but also have a decisive advantage: a tablet on the handlebar! This luxurious extra shows you where you are on a map and, if necessary, a lot of information about the surroundings and everything you can find nearby. If the weather is fine, this is probably the best way to explore the city.

Photo by Derrick Brooks on Unsplash

Probably the most up-to-date means of transport in the debate about technical mobility in cities I experienced this year in Vienna. Several providers have already distributed hundreds of e-scooters all over the city according to the free-floating principle. A rather entertaining change to the usual city walk and somehow also a nice symbol when in the evening the exhausted scooters with empty battery are standing at the roadside. The only question is how they will fit into the cityscape elsewhere and how a certain amount of security can be maintained when suddenly everyone can use them to speed through the city.

The human component

In fact, the biggest obstacle is never technical progress and the associated simplification of operation, but the human component. At least these were my thoughts when I spontaneously spotted a rental bike at the English Garden in Munich the other day. The only problem was that it was at the bottom of the river.

In any case, I continue to follow the development of how my smartphone becomes the imaginary key to every city and how I can not only make my locomotion there more varied and comfortable, but also more spontaneous. It would only be desirable if I didn’t need a digital bouquet of apps on my display. Until then, I’ll wait for the literal implementation of the free-floating principle in the form of hoverboards.

Markus Herrmann

Markus Herrmann is an expert in digital strategies and has lost his heart to the Internet. As a blogger, he is accompanying the Porsche NEXT OI Competition 2019, which focuses on the three categories “Home”, “Drive” and “Arrival” this year. Five finalists will have the opportunity to convince the jury of their ideas on 6 June. For more details, get in touch with us on Twitter (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital), Instagram (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital) and LinkedIn (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital).

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