As council offices prepare for a return of all staff, Dublin’s local authorities are promoting a pilot programme that aims to give greater flexibility to employees, reduce traffic congestion, and cut carbon emissions across the region.
Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council are leading a consortium of councils, businesses and researchers in delivering smart mobility solutions for workplaces. Offering e-vehicles which are free for staff to use and booked via a single mobile app, the Smart Mobility Hub is designed to reduce the use of personal cars for site visits and inspections.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland commented at the launch “At Dublin City Council, we are fully committed to climate action and are proud to be championing this smart mobility collaboration to reshape the workplace of the future. I am delighted to see the local authorities leading by example, and driving innovative solutions that support new workplace practices, helping reduce our contribution to traffic congestion and carbon emissions in the city.”
The pilot scheme, which is being run with the support of Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme, relaunches at the end of this month in Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council. It connects a fleet of 30 e-bikes, eight e-cars and two e-cargo bikes to a real time booking platform for staff. Researchers at UCD will then examine the possible implications for carbon emissions savings.
Tom Kelly, Head of Innovation and Competitiveness for Enterprise Ireland, explains that “the purpose of SBIR is to stimulate research and development within public sector bodies, ultimately to help transform societal problems. It promotes a hands-on approach and a co-design process between local businesses and local authorities, to better understand what works in practice. The Smart Mobility Hub is a great example of this.”
The pilot brings together multiple partners – local software and mobility app development company GTS, NiftiBusiness car rental, Nissan, Bleeperbike, University College Dublin and Science Foundation Ireland – to develop a shared mobility solution that is adaptable to different workplaces and makes both economic and environmental sense.
GTS CEO Peter Soutter emphasises that the flexibility of the technology means that the scheme can be replicated elsewhere. “The challenges of reducing congestion, carbon and costs are universal and we have built the technology underpinning the Smart Mobility Hub to adapt to any organisation’s mobility needs. City municipalities will be central to the future of transit so Dublin’s local authorities are ideal partners to innovate solutions with.”
Initially, Smart Mobility Hubs will be tested in council offices across the Dublin region, with plans to extend it to public and private workplaces. As Phase Two concludes in spring 2022, Smart Dublin and UCD will evaluate its success, and create a playbook for expansion.
AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive Fingal County Council said “We are delighted to be bringing the Smart Mobility Hub concept to Fingal and being a part of this exciting regional collaboration. As our staff return to work, we want to make available mobility solutions that support a new way of working. We look forward to measuring the results and impact and scaling up these type of services in workplaces across the Dublin’s local authorities and beyond“.