Urban mobility pyramid


Do you think that there is a social demand for quality transport in Ukrainian society? And the demand for high-quality mobility? This idea now crosses all my actual interviews, texts and speeches with like a red line: that there is no such request in our society. Do you think otherwise?

Before you agree or disagree with me, please read a few short paragraphs with my thoughts on this. Perhaps they will change your point of view in one or the other side.

So, pay attention to the small pyramid in the illustration to this text. Does it remind you of something? Yes, it’s the Maslow pyramid, which I modified a bit to get the mobility pyramid. Generally, usually under the mobility pyramid we understand, this, this or this. But it is not so interesting, and with such pyramids we will not be able to answer to the main question — who is guilty for the fact that everything is so bad with Ukrainian transport, and to answer to important question: what to do with all of this.

However, closer to the topic. I think you will agree that the society is usually quite similar to its average representative. And here you are telling him that he must save the planet, save whales and generally to economize on resources, minimizing his carbon footprint. And he looks at you with hungry eyes and in these eyes it is clearly read: how should I feed my children, how to get to my home, etc. The funny thing is that our average individual can even nod to his higher-ranking interlocutor. Most likely, it’s part of his job: «You’re the boss, I’m a fool.» Say, say all this nonsense about ecology, and I’ll pretend that I agree.»

However, we are a bit distracted. Let’s just sort out the pieces, or rather, say the floors of our mobility pyramid.

Move! Or, «I need to move» — it just so happened that a person has to move his whole life. Do you want to eat? Go, hunt for a mammoth or collect fruit. So now if you want to eat, you must go to work. Usually.

Move faster, safer and cheaper. Here our hero works and spends the earning for food. Working skills are being improved and here he changes jobs to the one where he able to get more money, but he need to move there as well. Relatively inexpensive public transport is quite suitable for this. Our hero checks new chains of routes, buys travel cards, and tries to save money.

Move faster and more comfortable. Career goes up. Already, some free money is accumulating and he wants to be independent and faster than others, especially who stand a step below on the pyramid. In other words, there are rudiments of self-determination. In addition, the new position generates more trips. And the additional money do the same. Here our hero is obtained a personal car.

Move prestigious and even more comfortable. Money is already enough for all basic and many unnecessary needs. In addition, there is free time, part of which is spent on the development of self-determination. He wants more and more to stand out from the masses, especially all those who are lower in the pyramid. Moreover, many of them are already subordinates of our hero. And my back is already aching, because of age, nervous work and all of this you know. He wants a comfortable and prestigious car. By the way, electric cars, Tesla’s remain at this level. They do not go to the next step.

Self-determination. I leave the top of the mobility pyramid exactly the same as the Maslow pyramid. However, here our hero asks himself some important questions: who I am, why I live, and what will remain after me. In the context of mobility, this can be interpreted as follows: can I go and realize my needs with less damage to the environment? Or, is that need is really necessary for me now? Unfortunately, not all average members of society will ever pass to this stage. There must be several factors that will make you ask yourself questions, for example: why do I need the accumulated riches after death, except for material traces of my stay, for example, the carbon footprint? What do I really leave behind? Do I sure in the future of my children? Then the person returns to the bike, walk, public transport. There is a place for a carsharing and for the plane, but the carbon footprint left must be taken into account and generally worth it.

Do you think I missed any important intermediate steps in the pyramid?

I will add that, as in the Maslow pyramid, and in the mobility pyramid as well, some members of society, due to various external and internal reasons, can both rise to the top and descend to the base. As well as jumping some of the steps, however this is a very big rarity.

And one more important and interesting question. Ukrainian society, probably, is now located on the first 3 steps and dreams about the 4th. Probably, the point consists of a percentage of the inhabitants of the steps. In addition, I bet that there is a correlation between the GDP of the state and the percentage of the society on the steps of the mobility pyramid. In other words, without the growth of the economy (national or city), the entire struggle with transport problems will be futile.

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