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May 6, 2024

“Mobility Talks” : 7 questions to Mohamed Mezghani

We recently had the opportunity to interview Mohamed to ask him a few questions on mobility!

Thank you for joining us, Mohamed. To start, could you introduce yourself and tell us about your role at UITP?

-Hi , I’m Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary-General of UITP since 2018. This year marks my 25th anniversary with the organisation. Starting as a manager in the Knowledge Department, I’ve held various positions, including leading our Dubai office and the UITP Public Transport Summit. My journey in mobility, deeply rooted in urban transportation, has always driven me to advocate for enhanced public transport, recognizing its profound benefits to society, environment, and economy.

That’s quite impressive. In terms of public transport, how would you define it from a global perspective?

-Public transport is universal—it’s open to everyone and should serve everyone. It’s not about who runs it, but about accessibility and inclusivity. We want to redefine public transport beyond historical forms of mass transit to encompass more on-demand and shared mobility solutions – to provide door-to-door services, not just station-to-station. This change in definition might seem small but for more equitable societies this is critical.

Looking at the past and future transformations, what innovations have been pivotal in the last 20 years and what would you like to see in the coming 20?

-Recently, on-demand shared mobility has been transformative, allowing for a more holistic approach to mobility. Decarbonization innovations, prompted by the climate emergency, lead to electrification and other technologies. However, the priority lies in the governance of mobility and its capacity to lead to a genuine modal shift towards walking, cycling, public transport and shared mobility. This will be critical for the next 20 years.

Moving to regional challenges, can you talk about the transport needs in suburban and rural areas?

-Rural mobility cannot be approached like urban mobility due to population density differences. We must acknowledge how the last 100-200 years have influenced our land-use development and unfortunately walking and cycling alone cannot work in these areas. Therefore, the role of on-demand transport and carpooling can be vital for these communities. Addressing rural mobility is crucial for policymakers in creating a more egalitarian society – fare and equitable, for everyone, irrespective of where they live or how much they earn..

Considering the crucial role of transport in societal equity, how can we bring equity to the forefront when influencing legislation?

-Transport is a fundamental right akin to healthcare. It integrates people into society. Policymakers should view public transport as an investment, not a cost. It’s about long-term societal benefits, not immediate financial outlay. UITP’s mission is to advocate for such a perspective, promoting public transport as an investment in social inclusion, economic dynamism, and sustainable development.

What strategies have you found effective in aligning various interests towards the common good of public transport?

-The key is to adopt the traveller’s perspective. UITP unites the entire ecosystem, focusing on customer satisfaction as the ultimate goal. This approach benefits operators, authorities, suppliers, and mobility providers. We’re fostering an environment where innovative shared mobility solutions are integral to the public transport network.

Finally, what advice would you give to professionals, especially young ones, hoping to make a difference in public transport?

-Public transport is a sector with purpose, it’s about serving people and making a meaningful impact on their lives. My advice is to engage with this field with passion and a service-oriented mindset. The opportunities for growth, learning, and geographical mobility are vast in this sector. Always remember, you’re working in a field with purpose and potential to make a real difference.

Thank you very much, Mohamed, for your time and insights!

-Thank you for having me!

Article written by :

Zaccharie Ben Dhia, Karos Mobility


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