Future Visions of Active Travel in Edinburgh

By Dr Ella Tallyn

PETRAS Research Associate

As we move into a future where city centre transport can no longer support single occupant car journeys, we are searching for new solutions in intelligent transport systems. The B-IoT project at Edinburgh University, led by Design Informatics, hosted a workshop exploring the space where visions of future transport meet Blockchain and IoT technologies. Focussing on the city of Edinburgh, we considered how we might use these technologies to move towards our visions of efficient, healthy and sustainable transport services for all.

The workshop kicked-off with three provocative talks exploring current solutions and programs, future technological developments, and a radical re-think of transport systems. We then stepped through a series of activities in which we first revealed and combined our most optimistic visions of the future, then explored how these might be supported by creative solutions using B-IoT technology, and finally we used printed cards, representing simplified code, to try building the smart contracts needed to drive these solutions.

Participants were from a wide range of backgrounds, including academics from Geoscience to Informatics, stakeholders from Edinburgh City Council, Sustrans, Serco and Ansons Consulting, alongside the B-IoT user partners from Pinsent Mason and Wallet Services. This diversity enabled a lively exchange ranging across social and technical perspectives. Conversations covered the activities that create the need for travel, and explored how means of travel is much more than getting from A-B, and is also about the experience of the journey, its effects on physical and mental wellbeing and deep-rooted social status ascribed to different modes of transport.

This workshop builds on interviews that have explored stakeholder’s views on current developments in transport and active travel, and how technology might support the development of new intelligent transport solutions. The learning from both the interviews and the workshop has expanded our thinking within the B-IoT project and will inform the development of exciting new prototypes to be deployed later in the year.