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DIGital traNsport In and for socieTY

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIGNITY (DIGital traNsport In and for socieTY)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

In the transport and mobility sector, developments such as digitalisation, smart applications and local-based digital services, are radically altering mobility patterns, offering a whole range of mobility innovations that meet the fast-changing lifestyles of Europeans. While constant connectivity is driving new digital mobility offers and new players in the mobility market, not all customers are constantly connected.
The DIGNITY project will delve into the digital transport eco-system to grasp the full range of factors that might lead to disparities in the uptake of digitalized mobility products and services by different user groups in Europe. Analysing the digital transition from both a user and provider’s perspective, DIGNITY will present the challenges brought about by digitalization, and design, test and validate the DIGNITY approach, an original concept and methodology that seeks to become the ‘ABCs for a digital inclusive travel system’. It will provide a unique framework for analysis and action to:
1) Support public and private mobility providers in conceiving mainstream digital products or services that are accessible to and usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their income, social situation or age;
2) Help policy makers formulate long-term strategies that promote innovation in transport while responding to global social, demographic and economic changes, including the challenges of poverty and migration.
The DIGNITY approach will be built step-by-step over the course of the project. During this process, we will focus on a series of strategic objectives:
a) To understand the factors leading to the existing digital gap between mobility service provision and uptake by different user groups by looking at both users’ and providers’ requirements within the current digital travel eco-system;
b) To quantify the digital gap in a selected number of Member States by gathering new data on how many people - and which people - are excluded from using technology products, in order to identify gaps in provision, and to highlight and prioritise issues that require resolution;
c) To conceive of an original concept to frame the digital gap in metropolitan and regional contexts, considering all the elements that are part of the digital transport ecosystem at the macro-meso-micro level, namely: the institutional framework (macro level), the provision of digital mobility (meso level) and the needs of the end-user (micro level) (WP2). This concept will then be tested in a selected number of DIGNITY case studies across Europe;
d) To adapt proven methodologies for the co-design of products and services (the Inclusive Design Wheel from the University of Cambridge) to the context of digital mobility and analyse how they can help bridge the digital gap by providing more inclusive mobility services. This method will then be tested on a selected number of digital products and used to conceive new prototypes in the DIGNITY case studies;
e) To adapt foresight methodologies to the context of digital mobility. Here, we will analyse how a structured involvement of all actors of the digital travel ecosystem - local institutions, market players, interest groups and end users - in a scenario-building process can help bridge the digital gap by formulating robust and inclusive policy frameworks for current and future generations (WP2), which will be implemented in the DIGNITY case studies;
f) To evaluate the potential of the combination of points c, d, and e in the formulation of long-term strategies and the impacts generated in the selected case studies; and to validate the DIGNITY approach as an original Decision Support System for further exploitation and replication;
g) To draw conclusions from the DIGNITY process and distill recommendations for the formulation of digitally inclusive transport policies and for a more inclusive design of digital mobility services (the DIGNITY toolkit);
h) To disseminate and exploit DIGNITY research and the knowledge acquired to a broad European audience, in order to raise awareness of the social implications of digitalisation and to encourage the adoption of the DIGNITY approach;
The DIGNITY project kicked off on 29 January 2020.
During the first 18 months, the DIGNITY team has managed to finalise a comprehensive literature review and compile a catalogue of good practices (D1.1 and D1.3 respectively).
The conception of the methodologies foreseen to build the DIGNITY approach was successfully completed and provided a solid basis for the pilots to test them in a real context. The tool to frame the digital gap (D2.1) and the guidelines to implement the Inclusive Design Wheel and the scenario building approach (D2.2 and D2.3 respectively) have been already presented to the pilots in dedicated training sessions and responses have been very positive. Data collection is nearly completed for the ‘framing phase’, while implementation of the first local workshops for the ‘bridging’ phase started as soon as it was possible to hold them online.
The evaluation methodology has been conceived and shared with all project partners to ensure understanding of the evaluation process and methodology and future cooperation in data collection (D4.1).
Communication, dissemination and exploitation strategies and materials have been set at the project outset and activities are well under way (D5.1 D5.2) especially through the web (D5.3) and social media channels.
The formulation of the DIGNITY approach will lead to a series of advances in knowledge, specifically:
- A better understanding of the digital divide across Europe and the key factors contributing to it. The collection of population level data on user factors that affect people’s use of digital products and services in five EU countries (Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany), combined with the collection of examples of existing digital mobility services across Europe and the quantification of their inclusiveness will provide a holistic perspective on who is excluded from using a particular digital product or service and why, and will help identify the causes of particularly high exclusion.
- A better understanding of the gender differences in the adoption of digital mobility solutions.
Moreover, while building the approach, DIGNITY will provide for novel concepts and approaches and the adaptation of existing methodologies for inclusive digital products and policies. This will result in:
- An original methodology and a set of guidelines for a digital gap self-assessment
- An adapted methodology and a set of guidelines for inclusive design processes for digital products and services. The guidelines will be established starting from the Inclusive Design Wheel developed by the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge as part of the Inclusive Design Toolkit and adapted to the DIGNITY context.
- An adapted methodology and a set of guidelines for setting long-term digital transport policies and strategies in metropolitan/regional contexts using the scenario-building process.
- Finally, DIGNITY will raise awareness of this concept, in the hope of building a 'culture of dignity' for all the actors in the digital transport ecosystem.
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