A strategic vision for the future of mobility

In ULTIMO project, we are exploring how large fleets of autonomous vehicles can be integrated into public transportation and how these services can be designed user-friendly and accessible. Guy Fournier and Isabelle Nicolai lead a working group that investigates whether strategic recommendations for the future of mobility can be derived from the developed transport systems in the deployment sites of the project.

What are you working on in ULTIMO project?

Guy Fournier: Our work package provides a comprehensive assessment of the deployments carried out at our three European demo sites to develop a strategic vision for the future of mobility. We aim to understand how a transformation policy towards sustainable mobility, without mandatory requirements, can be achieved with automated vehicles.

How do you proceed to reach that goal?

Isabelle Nicolai: We strive to achieve that goal by enhancing mobility services and refining the citizen-centric approach. To measure the impact, we conduct evaluations across economic, social, and environmental dimensions. Governance conditions of transport systems and data governance play an important role in this process.

In addition to this multi-criteria analysis, it is essential to consider all stakeholders, from both the supply and demand sides. We decided to analyze AV in MaaS innovations from the user’s perspective. AV in MaaS has been identified as a desirable future direction towards sustainable mobility. Therefore, we also integrated a social acceptability dimension. We examine the economic aspect from the perspective of the PTO/PTA, which provides this transport service with the aim of collective welfare. The second part of WP6 involves interpreting the new business models that will address these challenges. Ultimately, we aim to develop a strategic roadmap on how we can transform the mobility system towards AV in MaaS. 



Guy Fournier

Guy Fournier

Isabelle Nicolaï

Isabelle Nicolai

What are the challenges you face?

Guy Fournier: The biggest challenge for our team lies in the diversity of approaches (across five dimensions), as well as the diversity of skills, partners, and nationalities, and in meeting the expectations of citizens, transport operators, transport authorities, and ADS technology providers. Different specific skills and actors must interact with each other, despite their varied operational constraints, issues, and objectives (especially regarding time planning). Furthermore, all these analyses require a large amount of data, which is not always available in the same format, is sometimes stored on incompatible media, and cannot necessarily be easily collected by the various stakeholders.

What do you consider the critical point for success of your work?

Isabelle Nicolai: The critical point, which I hope has been addressed, is the need for close cooperation with the operational actors. They need to know in advance what we require, while we need to understand their needs. I believe we have achieved mutual understanding as a foundation for data exchange.

CCAM – Cooperative, connected and automated mobility – is a big buzzword in your field of work. What is necessary to create mobility like that?

Guy Fournier: AVs can be implemented as private cars, robotaxis, or integrated into the transport system. The integration of AVs into the transport system (MaaS) can be a real game changer. It can make the transport system as a whole more efficient, flexible, citizen-centric, and environmentally friendly, particularly in terms of resource, energy, and space consumption. AVs could operate around the clock, picking up citizens near their homes or even at their homes if they have disabilities. The deployment of AVs should be decided locally to ensure fair competition and avoid the “winner takes all” phenomenon.

Which are the obstacles to create this mobility?

Isabelle Nicolai: The biggest obstacle to creating this new mobility is user behavior. Users need to view AV services as a viable alternative to their cars. This will take time. It is also a matter of designing appropriate services. Local authorities must create offerings that meet the public interest.

Also MaaS plays a major role – what does the term imply?

Guy Fournier: MaaS is a platform that connects all mobility services and means of transport within a city. This enables more efficient use of energy, resources, and space. Citizens have more mobility options to reach their destinations, and prices become more affordable. MaaS also provides data that can be used to create an Intelligent Transport System (ITS). In this context, autonomous vehicles (AV) represent a system innovation rather than a product innovation.

When project ends in 2026: what success/goal you were able to achieve in WP 6 would be most important for you?

Isabelle Nicolai: I want us to be able to analyze the feedback on the various services at the different demo sites by 2026 and demonstrate that a shift towards sustainable mobility is possible without coercive policies. We could then propose AVs and MaaS as future forms of mobility to the European Commission and economic stakeholders for the benefit of all.