The mobility of the future and how much will be determined by design

Sustainable mobility is one of the subjects covered in several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the UN has set for 2030. They include number 11, which supports safer and more inclusive cities with better air quality. And number 13, whose challenge is to combat climate change and its effects. To achieve the sustainable development of cities

Now that the objectives have been decided, it’s time to think about strategies to achieve them. And if possible, in less than a decade.

In that sense, Beatriz Amann, design school director at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED Madrid), considers that the work of car designers is key to get a sustainable future mobility: “The holistic profile of these professionals is fundamental in developing opportunities, and new settings and lifestyles.”

At the school where Amann works, this year’s end-of-degree projects –in Industrial Product Design, Furniture Design and Interior Decoration and Design– have been centered around Impact Design, based on those SDGs laid out by the UN. 

Mobility has been one of the subjects in some of these projects. For example in ECOTERAM, the project carried out by Teresa García González, and in REVERSO, by Francisco Lara.

 

ECOTERAM, by Teresa García González

 

Everyone who goes on the road wants the trip to be pleasant. But this isn’t always possible, especially when the service stations we find along the way are not sufficiently equipped and cared for to make our stops pleasant.

The ECOTERAM project, by Teresa García González, seeks to generate a network of gas stations where travelers can find everything necessary to rest and reduce stress that a road trip can cause, especially a long one.

 

“The main aim is that the users can define their own experience in the station with the help of new technologies, thus creating their own trip,” García González explains.

  

This student’s system is based on a network of service stations all over Spain. Through the cellphone app ECOTERAM, the user can plan, programming even before his departure the stops in the different service stations that he or she will find along the route. In this way, they can reserve a table to eat in a rest area or hire a personal shopper to help make purchases in the service station.

 

A parking place with re-charging for electric vehicles is one of the outstanding parts of the project. To facilitate the transit of vehicles when it’s time to park, Teresa García González has come up with a revolving platform. Through the app, the user can also reserve places before arrival and recharge the car while enjoying the other installations.

 

Regarding the rest areas, both interior and exterior, comfort and futuristic design are the principal characteristics. But also sustainability, just like the rest of the ECOTERAM installations. The use of solar panels or the collection of rainwater are two essential elements in this aspect that contribute to more sustainable mobility

 

 

REVERSO, by Francisco Lara

REVERSO is the name that Francisco Lara has given to the device he invented for fighting one of the great health and environmental problems in cities: the terrible air quality.

 

“Smog is responsible for up to 7 million deaths per year all over the world because it’s directly related to diseases of the respiratory system,” Lara explains.

Some 55% of the particles in smog come from brakes, tires and asphalt, “so no matter how many measures there are to reduce this kind of particles, they will continue to exist as long as there are vehicles in movement, independent of the kind of energy that propels them.” 

 

In view of this, he asks: why not use the means of transport themselves to trap these particles in suspension? To that end, this student proposes a model with some filters placed at angles where they can trap up to 99% of the particles that enter them. The devices would be placed on the upper part of public and semi-public transport vehicles. Their design allows the module to be adapted to the vehicle without influencing its performance.

To explain the functioning of his device, Francisco Lara refers to the Venturi effect: “It’s a phenomenon in physics that consists of accelerating a fluid by narrowing a section through which it passes. For example, in a funnel, the air would enter at 40 kilometers per hour and in the narrow part the velocity could increase by as much as 50% due to the pressure.”

 

What happens in REVERSO is just the opposite: the entry section is narrower and the middle part is twice as wide, and as a result the speed of the passing air is diminished in the interior, and thus is filtered more efficiently.

This filtering system has three phases: the first one can filter PM10 particles, and the last two filter the PM2.5 particles, the most harmful for human health.

Just one of these devices, which work without any electricity, could filter up to 7,300,000 m3 of air per year. That’s 34% more than the volume of the Santiago Bernabéu football stadium in Madrid. How many particles in suspension could be eliminated if the use of this device were extended – for example to all the taxis and limousines in a city?

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