May 01, 2023
Ideamos: How Innovation and Collaboration Can Transform Urban Mobility in Mexico
ITDP Mexico launched the Ideamos program in 2020 to pilot innovative ideas for improving the future of Mexico’s cities through sustainable, inclusive mobility that promotes the right of people to move safely.
With support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IDB Lab, Ideamos was launched in January 2020 with the overarching goal of improving the quality of Mexico’s urban transport systems through technology, collaboration, and data. The program generated innovative pilot projects in partnership with Transport Network Companies (TNCs), local authorities, private initiatives, and civil society organizations. Each pilot project managed by Ideamos aimed to develop solutions and models to reduce emissions and congestion, promote modal shift and multimodal trips, improve public infrastructure, increase equitable access, and address last mile connectivity challenges.
Pilots developed during Ideamos aim to promote more sustainable, accessible urban transport through technology and data innovation.
After more than three years of collaboration with multi-sector partners, the concluding FORO Ideamos took place April 20th – 21st, putting a spotlight on the program’s achievements and providing a forum to highlight key ideas and insights that were generated. On average, across the 8 pilots projects that were implemented, there was a recorded 31% of CO2 emissions reduced over the baseline (equivalent to 4,658 tons of CO2) and more than 27,000 users who directly benefited from the interventions. Over 15 actions with a gender equity perspective were implemented as well, and 30 technological improvements were made to the platforms and applications of participating TNCs. Beyond the direct impacts, the legacy of the program lies in the detailed documentation of each of the pilots and the publication of reports and guidelines related to challenges and opportunities, products that will undoubtedly inspire future mobility solutions.
Also at the heart of the success of Ideamos was the integration of a multidisciplinary team and dedicated collaboration throughout the past three years. The team was comprised of individuals with extensive expertise in urban planning, engineering, data science, public policy, communications, and project management. In addition, ITDP Mexico collaborated with close to 75 organizations, including 22 TNCs and 13 government institutions. Through calls for proposals, more than 90 participatory workshops, bilateral meetings, and the constant iteration of ideas, the total of 8 pilots, 2 digital tools, and 8 knowledge products were successfully managed and implemented. More information on the outcomes are available to access at ideamos.mx.
The program did not come without unforeseen challenges, however, particularly with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic shortly after launch. This had a strong impact on mobility and access in many global cities, and raised significant issues related to equity, public health, and essential infrastructure. This made some initial program pilots unfeasible but also opened the door for other opportunities. For example, a pilot exploring improvements to the use of public space for skateboards in Mexico City was halted after skateboarding was restricted across the city during the pandemic. On the other hand, deliveries increased significantly as people ordered more goods and services to their doors, which raised a number of questions related to the emissions associated with last mile delivery. In addition, public transport systems across Mexico and the world went into crisis due to the reduction of passengers and broader health concerns, so the need to explore solutions to improve safety and commuter experience became a pressing priority.
FORO Ideamos was a celebration of the impacts of the program as well as a space to share and discuss the key opportunities, issues, and findings that resulted from the course of the initiative. Transport experts and leaders from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, France, the U.S., India and several Mexican cities participated in the event. Among the list of notable speakers were Mauricio Vila Dosal, Governor of Yucatan; Heather Thompson, CEO, ITDP; Ernesto Stein, IDB Mexico; Gonzalo Peon, Executive Director, ITDP Mexico; Manuela Lopez Menendez, Secretariat of Transportation and Public Works of Buenos Aires; Andres Lajous Loaeza, Secretary of Mobility of Mexico City; and Blanca del Valle Perochena, President of the Kaluz Social Investment Fund. The event had ultimately more than 230 people join in-person and 700 take part virtually.
Some of the key topics addressed during the FORO and throughout Ideamos include:
- The digitization of public transport: How the integration of digital tools can help catalyze the transformation of public transport in cities;
- Sustainable shipping: Exploring national and international pilots with the use of mechanical and electric cargo bikes and the improvement of working conditions in the delivery sector;
- The use of data: How to leverage the vast amount of data generated by TNCs for service improvement and mobility planning;
- Institutional Mobility Plans: How the creation and implementation of Mobility Plans can reduce emissions and improve quality-of-life; and
- Gender equity and inclusion: Ways to center gender perspectives and inclusion throughout transport tools and public policies.
Following the conclusion of the program, the ITDP Mexico team will continue working on replicating and scaling projects related these key themes and beyond to ensure that the lessons learned from Ideamos can continue to advance equitable, resilient, and forward-thinking mobility.