Modern day mobility as we know it has historic roots.
Think back to the dawn of the industrial revolution: Exactly a century passed from the invention of the railway and the dandy horse to Henry Ford's Model T in 1908. Apart from technological advances, not much has changed about the way we move about: There is the bicycle, the car and the railway. (Whatever happened to Back to the Future type hoverboards?)
As a member of Generation X, I had few options but to adapt the mobility patterns of my parents. The bicycle is suitable for short commutes, the car is for longer trips, and the train for excursions on weekends.
But what if we could hit the RESET button as a progressive society? What if we could rethink and redefine our mobility requirements from scratch?
SBB Green Class attempts to do just that.
Full disclaimer: I have been selected by the organizers of SBB Green Class, a year-long project, as official blogger. While I will be writing about my experience on Switzerland's roads and rail tracks, I will also be a participat in the scientific research study.
The following mobility options will be at my disposal: A first class ticket for unlimited use of Switzerland's rail network. A BMW i3 electric car including insurance, unlimited recharging, and a parking space at a train station of my choice. And finally, memberships for Mobility and PubliBike, two sharing platforms for cars and bicycles, respectively.
In exchange, I have agreed for a special app to track my movements and modes of transportation. The researchers from ETH will be aggregating data from 100 other participants in order to define behavior patterns for the various personas.
Here is the trailer for SBB Green Class (starring yours truly). It was a super fun experience seeing behind the scenes of a film shoot, and I can say that I am quite satisfied with my performance...
During the research, every choice among my own car or a shared vehicle, the train or a bicycle will help to shape 21st century mobility in Switzerland.
The data will reveal whether I prefer to travel as quickly, as comfortably or as economically as possible. The mobile app will calculate the CO2 emissions in real time, in turn helping my decision making in the future.
Specifically, if I realize that CO2 emissions for a trip from Zürich to Olten are 1.5 times higher by electric car compared to the train, I might decide to hop on a first class train wagon the next time around.
I am thrilled to be a part of this futuristic research project. And I would imagine that SBB Green Class is going to generate quite some publicity around the world, because Switzerland has a reputation for being innovative and cutting edge...
Read my updates in the SBB Green Class blog (in German)