In common with many other industries and sectors the push towards cleaner forms of urban mobility has its jargon. One of the most common phrases we hear is ‘modal shift’, which to the casual observer sounds a bit ‘star trek’. However, it is an important concept and one that we at CleanCar are all in favour of.
In essence, a ‘modal shift’ (in this context) means a change from one form of transportation to another, for example, switching a delivery van for an e-cargo bike. This is an important element of the discussion around creating a more sustainable transport system that benefits us all.
The climate crisis has brought into sharp relief the need to make significant changes to the way we live, work and travel if we are to move towards an environmentally sustainable pathway.
This need not be a ‘doom and gloom’ scenario, in fact history tells us that we have often developed our best innovations at times of greatest peril.
Rethinking systems doesn’t need to mean living in a sack and catching your lunch with a spear, it can be the birth of a more efficient, productive and fruitful way of living.
Our primary aim is to help internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle users switch to electric vehicles (EVs).
This has led some to criticise us (and other EV focused companies) for failing to recognise the need to fundamentally change the way we live, not just switch one metal box for another.
It may surprise you to know, that we agree that a ‘metal box (ICE) to metal box’ (EV) modal shift alone is not going to cut it. In fact, we would like to see the following, in this order;
- Much more active travel, cycling and walking.
- Much greater use of public transport.
- Where private or fleet vehicle use is necessary, zero-emission vehicles (such as EVs).
This is why we are soon going to launch CleanCar.go, which will help van delivery companies to see if they could switch some or all of their delivery payloads to e-cargo-bikes and other forms of last mile e-mobility.
At CleanCar we are working with a range of stakeholders to try and encourage local authorities to think in a more ambitious, integrated and strategic way about the design of neighbourhoods.
We are really keen on the ’15 minute city’ idea, where your residence, workplace, schools, medical facilities and entertainment are within a short walk or bike ride. We also want to see much more extensive ‘greening’ of urban areas to improve air quality, street scenes and overall liveability.
So, yes, we agree that modal shift thinking needs to go further than just EVs. It needs political commitment to real change, financing and great innovation. If we can achieve all that the cities of the future will be thriving, dynamic, clean, enjoyable places to be.