In Istanbul, the municipality of Üsküdar brought together all the agents of its local community to think how they can shape the mobility future of their area. In Citizen Mobility Labs, municipal authorities, mobility experts, university students, disability-related social groups and many others came together to brainstorm on potential mobility solutions. Through a rigid community involvement in citizen mobility labs, as well as in co-creation workshops and hackdays, Üsküdar came up with three prototypes: from placing benches and paving streets in a way that is accessible to disabled people, to giving life to public spaces that were abandoned and dangerous to walk through.
In the end, Üsküdar remaining committed to its ambition to improve the mobility of the elderly and disabled people, moved forward with the idea of introducing open electric car usage in parks. In particular, two open electric cars with drivers were placed in a highly steep green area in Nakkaştepe Millet Bahçesi. The green area there is strategic: its two gates connect with the key transport hubs used by hundreds of commuters.
With the help of this intervention, commuters could easily reach the top or the bottom of the park and continue their journey by taking Metrobüs, bus or Minibüs. The monitoring of the prototype has shown that in a period of 4 weeks, 505 people used the service, especially the elderly (319) and disabled (72) while it is also worth mentioning that more than 60% of its users were female.
These findings are particularly promising and show that there was indeed a high demand for such a service in Üsküdar. What is more promising, is the local community’s positive comments and willingness to volunteers as well as the fact that the municipality plans to continue and sustain the service beyond the project’s duration.