Murcia’s half a million inhabitants, balanced on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, can count on good food and good weather, but the city’s relatively low population density also presents it with a problem: effective and sustainable transport. The city is hoping that electric cars and buses will be part of the solution, but there’s something that must be in place first: charging points.
The number of electric cars in Murcia has grown 300% over three years but, according to Cities Forum Co-founder and CEO Jaime Ruiz Huescar, there are a couple of roadblocks to progress. The first is the location of chargers for electric cars: “I am not saying the city must be flooded with electric charging stations,” he insists, but they must be made available in residential areas as well as the urban core. The second is the need for more electrification of public transport “because it’d be a great opportunity to lead by example.” Finally, a lack of adequate regulation for shared mobility and free-floating electric scooters has been a limitation, but one that the city “will solve that issue very soon, in the coming months.”
Warming up the (electric) engines
Murcia has two solutions up its sleeves, to be developed through the project ‘User-Chi’, explains User-Chi Project Manager Alberto Sevilla: The first, ‘Insoc’, will see the city create a host of solar panel covered sheds for electric bikes and scooters, able to keep them safe and power them up at the same time. The second, ‘Click’, is an online planning platform to help cities work on charging infrastructure.
For Sevilla, the future is bright: “I see the future in Murcia as a well-connected city where every citizen can have access to e-mobility, but this electricity should be produced by renewable energy.” The EU-funded project Sevilla hopes will help Murcia deliver on these goals, User-Chi, sees the city join with six others across Europe to work on charging infrastructure that puts the user first.
A map of mobility data
A key part of solving transport issues is understanding the situation on the ground. Through the Murcia Smart City Project, the city is “collecting information in real-time on public transport, parking of electric vehicles and operation of electric charging points,” explains Bernardo López, Municipal Engineer.
All that data will be integrated into a single platform that will provide information about how the Murcian population moves and how to optimise urban mobility. Not only that, but they are also working on a transparency portal where citizens can participate and give their opinion about mobility solutions. Murcia’s population may be spread out, but they’re moving forward together.
If you would like to learn more about Murcia’s plans to boost electric mobility, watch episode three of the User-Chi Cities series above. Visit the User-Chi website for more information on the project.