Extra attention for inclusive mobility; alumni return; lots of enthusiasm from abroad
25 startups selected for Mobility Lab 2021
Rotterdam/Den Bosch/Maastricht – From no fewer than 65 applications, 25 startups have been selected for the 5th edition of Mobility Lab, the startup program from the South of the Netherlands. In the coming months, they will work together with companies, governments, and citizen initiatives to find solutions for mobility problems. Mobility Lab connects the selected startups with a suitable partner to test their innovations in practice.
No fewer than 65 startups signed up for the 2021 edition of Mobility Lab. “A nice number, and we were surprised by the diversity of registrations,” says project leader Janneke Brouwer. Ultimately, 25 national and international startups were selected for the 9-month program. Nineteen startups are from the Netherlands and the other participants are from the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, and Austria. Never before have so many foreign startups signed up to test their innovative solutions via Mobility Lab, which sets up projects in the regions of Rotterdam, Noord-Brabant and Limburg. Brouwer says: “This is a great development, which shows that mobility problems are universal and are not limited to one country.”
Sustainability Sustainability is also an increasingly important theme in the world of mobility. Brouwer says, “We saw this clearly in the entries. For a large portion of the selected startups, sustainability is a top priority - from zero-emission transport, an app that gives you travel advice for green transportation, sustainable tires for electric vehicles, to a reward system for sustainable mobility
This year there is also extra attention for inclusive mobility. After all, mobility is normal or attainable for everyone. This includes people with a physical disability, people with a lower income, or people who live in remote or rural areas. “The mobility system of the future is inclusive,” says Brouwer. Several startups committed to inclusive mobility have been selected this year. Examples include a Spanish startup which uses a software solution for flexible bus services to enable public transport in areas with low population density; a German startup which has created a compact, easier to transport wheelchair; and an Austrian startup which has developed an audio navigation app.
Testing with launching customers and citizen initiatives
In the coming months, Mobility Lab will set up speed dates to connect the selected startups with so-called launching customers. These are parties with a specific mobility problem where innovation could possibly be a solution. For example, in the Brainport Smart District in Helmond, cars are not welcome, but at the same time the streets in the neighborhood must be accessible for emergency services, people with a disabled parking card and moving vans. post corona the Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) wants a solution for rush hour crowds in public transport to the campus. SmartwayZ.NL and the municipality of Vught are looking for a smart device that warns the visually impaired about approaching silent vehicles. The province of South Holland is looking for a door-to-door solution for those last kilometers between a public transport hub and one’s final destination. And various municipalities want to improve road safety around schools. Mobility Lab will introduce the startups to more than 100 different companies and governments, including Brainport Eindhoven, the ANWB, the NS and Heijmans
In addition, this year Mobility Lab is also strongly committed to solving local challenges in the field of mobility. Active citizens or neighborhoods that experience mobility problems and see opportunities to improve the mobility experience in their neighborhood can register until the summer, free of charge. Based on the local mobility challenge, speed dates will be organized with startups that have a possible solution to the problem in question. When there is a match, the neighborhood organization and startup will test the pilot together in practice. Several neighborhood platforms have already registered. Residents of a neighborhood in Tilburg submitted a challenge to introduce more sustainable ways of transport instead of cars in the area.
This edition Mobility Lab is also involving previous participants in the program. Mobility Lab alumni who would like to continue testing or have encountered new challenges are invited to make use of the Mobility Lab network again this year. Brouwer says, “Why throw the baby out with the bathwater? Together we make an impact and ensure a more accessible, sustainable mobility system.”
About Mobility Lab Mobility Lab is an initiative of two mobility programs: De Verkeersonderneming from the Rotterdam region and SmartwayZ.NL, which focuses on the South of the Netherlands. Both programs are partnerships with various governments as partners and focus on improving accessibility in their region. In addition, Brainport Eindhoven has been a partner within the project since 2018, and this year the province of Limburg also joined as a partner. Mobility Lab was founded in 2017 and is carrying out its fifth edition this year.
You can find more information, including participants and cases, at www.mobilitylab.nl/startups.