On 2 February, Jean Todt, FIA President, Claudio Orrego, Governor of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Juan Espadas Cejas, Mayor of Seville, Alejandro Quintana Hurtado, President of Automóvil Club de Chile and Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, opened the FIA Smart Cities Forum in Santiago de Chile

fia smart cities, santiago

Jean Todt inaugurated the first FIA Smart Cities Event of Formula E season 4 in Santiago de Chile. He reminded the audience of the goal of this initiative bringing together the FIA’s 2 pillars: Sport and Mobility. “Smart Cities offers a platform for an inclusive and open discussion about all types of mobility issues between experts from different sectors and various backgrounds: from multilateral organisations to city leaders and young entrepreneurs.”

The Governor of Santiago, the Mayor of Seville, the President of the Automóvil Club de Chile as well the the CEO of Formula E Holdings joined Jean Todt to discuss how cities have tackled the problems of air pollution and climate change by enhancing their transport systems.

Climate negotiations and the global development agenda generated a great momentum for transition to clean mobility, specifically in urban areas. However, transportation still accounts for a quarter of all energy-generated greenhouse emissions resulting in significant impacts on public health and economy. The theme of this Smart Cities Forum’s edition was, therefore, fixed on the topic of Clean Mobility and how it can contribute to a strong economy.

Governor Orrego informed Forum participants of key changes occurred in the transportation system in Chile in the past years.  Technologies and innovations have seen a broader and more effective application in transport policy-making. The newly released e-mobility strategy demonstrates this transition, focusing on the integration of electric power in public transportation, activating multimodal transport hubs and connecting users to transit databases through various innovative apps.  “Santiago has made a real shift towards more sustainable urban development. A better choice of transport modes and mobility services is at the disposal of all citizens. Our goal is to make mobility systems cleaner, more innovative and more inclusive”, underlined Governor Orrego.

Inspiring keynote presentations shed further light on the tools and mechanisms for making urban transportation more resilient and sustainable.

International Transport Forum Secretary-General, Dr. Young Tae Kim, underlined the power of public-private collaboration, saying that “Both the private and the public sectors need to lead the transition. The private sector is advancing the use of technological innovation, such as the performance of batteries for electric mobility which will become important in the long term. At the same time, the government is in a good position to nurture the market with electrification of its own vehicle fleets”.

Max T. Edkins, Acting Manager of the Connect4Climate Programme, reiterated Dr. Kim’s idea: "Building safe low-carbon and resilient cities is a key component of addressing our climate challenge, and FIA Smart Cities is at the heart of this discussion. Innovations are a vehicle to promote the Sustainability Revolution and a means to advance climate-smart technologies, including electric mobility and low-carbon infrastructure. This is clearly demonstrated by the success of the FIA Formula E Championship. Climate Action is our generation's opportunity to build a better future."

More mobility experts continued the debate about clean mobility in cities over a panel discussion. Speakers from ENEL, the City of Mexico, New Cities Foundation, Mario Molina Research Centre and UNEP reflected on how smarter and cleaner mobility contributes to the economic growth and urban development.

John Rossant, CEO & Founder of New Cities Foundation, emphasised the role of holistic vision in transport policy-making: “Technology is a means and not an end. What we should really be working towards is the wellbeing of citizens which can be achieved by creating lively and vibrant urban environment”.

Gustavo Manez, Climate Change Coordinator at UNEP, presented strategies that help strengthen mobility systems along the axes of safety and sustainability. “We are facing the momentum where a lot of tangible opportunities to enhance mobility system are open to public authorities, industry players and international organisations.”

The dimension of technological know-how was further featured at the FIA Smart Cities Global Startup Contest where a selection of visionary entrepreneurs presented their innovative ideas to make cities cleaner and smarter. Selected by a jury of international experts, the winner of the Santiago contest was KAPPO Bike, a platform that helps cities increase the urban bicycle usage worldwide through gamification and safety navigation for citizens. KAPPO Bike also provides governments with cyclist insight and predictive analytics, enabling better planning and higher return on urban infrastructure investments.

The voice of the FIA Formula E Championship was also represented by professional driver Lucas Di Grassi. The winner of Formula E Season 3 talked about how the series of electric racing are changing the perception of e-mobility around the world. As technologies become more advanced, e-mobility gets also more accessible and user-friendly. Piloting innovations in motor sport helps transiting efficient solutions to user mobility.    

The Forum concluded with a visit to the Formula E track and garages where participants could see the “innovation in motion” and enjoy the experience of electric racing.