Innovation for growth >  Smart Cities > Mobility Societal Challenges


The free movement of people and products is an essential element of our modern urban environment. Transport has a major impact on our environment and quality of life in cities. Developing efficient and sustainable mobility systems will be key to ensuring economic growth for our future cities, while also achieving the EU 20-20-20 target to reduce CO2 emissions, boost energy from low carbon sources and reduce total energy use.

What are the challenges for mobility in our cities? Let’s look at some of them in more detail.

Previous Next


Mobility comes at a cost: the consumption of a vast amount of energy. Transport alone uses 30% of the total energy consumed in the EU. This means that increasing energy efficiency is a major challenge for the future of mobility.

To achieve this requires better and lighter materials for the construction of vehicles, new, more efficient and less polluting forms of propulsion and energy sources, and the use of intelligent vehicles and traffic management systems to enable a more efficient use of limited space. Click here to see how chemistry is providing solutions to our energy challenges.


As a major user of energy, our mobility choices contribute considerably to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as well as other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and microscopic particles. Urban mobility accounts for some 40% of all CO2 emissions by road transport and up to 70% of other pollutants generated by transport.

To meet these challenges requires solutions that can reduce emissions from vehicles by treating or removing them as they are produced (end-of-pipe solutions) as well as fundamental changes in vehicle design, manufacture and use to drastically reduce or eliminate pollution. Click here to see how chemistry is providing solutions to our emission challenges.


Despite improved safety equipment, better regulation and driver awareness campaigns, car transport is still responsible for some 40 000 deaths and nearly two million injuries on European roads every year. This places an immense (and avoidable) burden on European health services and has considerable social and economic impact.

To address this challenge we must use inherently safer materials and systems in vehicles that better protect both car occupants and pedestrians as well as occupants of other vehicles in any accident. In parallel, the development and integration of advanced sensors for vehicles can assist (or even overrule) human decision-making in emergencies – a major factor in the incidence of road accidents. Click here to see how chemistry is providing solutions to our safety challenges. Click here to see how chemistry is providing solutions to our safety challenges.


With increasing urban population, congestion is a growing concern for urban centres across the world. Efficient and effective traffic management – keeping people moving – has direct benefits for society, for the economy and for citizens’ quality of life. In the EU congestion is estimated to cost nearly € 100 billion, or 1 % of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each and every year. Congestion also has knock-on effects in terms of reducing overall energy efficiency in Europe and increasing the harmful effects of pollution.

Intelligent traffic management systems using advanced sensors that can respond to changing traffic needs combined with traffic reduction initiatives and innovative personal and public transport solutions can help address this challenge. Click here to see how chemistry is providing solutions to our congestion challenges.



Reducing waste is a major challenge for society and mobility is no exception. The automotive sector, and the transport sector in general, already has a good record in recycling many components (metal, tyres etc.) at the end of a vehicle’s life.

But with decreasing availability of many critical raw materials and the use of more complex materials in the production of vehicles, it is essential that manufacturers integrate ‘design for ease of recycling’ into their new model development process. This will reduce waste further and increase resource efficiency. Click here to see how chemistry is providing solutions to our sustainability challenges.