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Kosmos: Support for moves towards smart mobility in Saarland, Germany

  • 13 January 2020

Implemented in the German state of Saarland, the Kosmos project explores the socioeconomic implications of digitisation of transport, to support the transition to smart mobility at a regional level. Drawing on methods from psychology, the social sciences and economics and combining them with technical know-how, it looks to set up a regional network of the science, business, ICT and automotive sectors to aid this process.

What we have learned from the history of innovation is that exciting but complex concepts like smart mobility must be addressed systematically and in an interdisciplinary manner. Thus, the Kosmos project takes a bird´s eye view of a European region confronted with structural change, by closely examining the psycho-social relations between technology and population. This is to find sustainable solutions for the economy, as well as society.

Prof. Dr. Horst Wieker, Saarland University of Applied Sciences

Research under Kosmos is aimed at obtaining data on smart mobility in Saarland about people’s needs, the main actors, their roles, how they interact and how cooperation between them could be increased. It should also garner information about available resources and good practices.

This will provide a basis for making recommendations for action and outlining future scenarios. To boost innovation and support transfer to other regions, the findings will be published in an online skills atlas and in a freely available study, and be publicised at conferences. 

Rethinking transport

Worldwide, the automotive sector is facing changes. Transport needs to be rethought to meet challenges such as climate change, without restricting mobility. This present an opportunity to shape the future of transport in a fair and sustainable way, particularly in a region like Saarland, where the automotive industry has long been an important part of the economy.

New mobility concepts, technological progress and digitisation have a vital role to play in achieving this goal. However, while many new mobility concepts and related business models have been formulated, implementing them is often difficult, due to financial, technical or public acceptance issues.

In ascertaining the viability of potential solutions to mobility problems, regional specificities and stakeholders, particularly businesses, must be taken into account. For instance, ensuring that a given method can be developed by local companies can increase acceptance of it, and boost the economy.

A pioneering region

To overcome barriers to the implementation of smart mobility solutions, Kosmos researchers interview experts and transport users. This is to gain insights into the economic potential of smart mobility, views of new technologies and the effects of interaction between smart mobility and other sectors. They use the knowledge gained to draw up a smart mobility profile of Saarland centred around business, education and policy questions. The findings are illustrated in the form of maps and a business model radar.

Kosmos is expected to help Saarland make the most of the opportunities presented by structural change and become a pioneering region in the field of smart mobility, while remaining an attractive location for ICT and automotive companies. By enabling players in the mobility sector to connect and by providing useful online resources, it should generate new projects, ideas and know-how and foster continuous innovation, leading to the creation of skilled jobs. In addition, it will bolster entrepreneurship by helping SMEs find gaps in the market.

More widely, advances in smart mobility arising from the project will increase the availability of safe, comfortable, inexpensive, flexible and environmentally sustainable transport options.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Kosmos - Competence Region Smart Mobility Saarland” is EUR 568 050, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 284 025 through the “Saarland” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Strengthening of research, technological development and innovation”.