The 15-minute city and MaaS

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has made waves in the urban planning and mobility space by creating an ambitious goal of ensuring all residents live within 15 minutes walking or cycling of their daily activities. Paris and many other cities including the C40 coalition, is now endorsing the 15 minute city as part of its post-Covid policy strategy.

Cities embracing the 15-minute plan are focused primarily on making the necessary physical changes by taking back public space (car lanes) and replacing them with dedicated pedestrian and cycling paths. In some cities, countries and regions, like the UK, they are going another step by actively inviting shared micromobility operators (bikesharing, kicksooters, mopeds, etc) to trial new services that can help residents and visitors take better advantage of this transformed active mobility infrastructure.

These are the right first steps and are critical to achieve our urban sustainability targets, improving quality of life in our cities and continuing the transition away from car dependence in our cities. An under-explored, but in my biased opinion, critically important, tool to optimize the possibility for 15-minute cities is Mobility as a Service (MaaS). MaaS seeks to make a range of public, private and shared mobility services seamlessly accessible via a user interface (usually an app).

It is surprisingly difficult to determine the best, most optimal way to go from A to B especially when not taking you private car and leveraging whatever mapping app you prefer. At least in European cities, a significant amount of journeys are multimodal (combining more than one mode, such as a scooter to a metro stop). Furthermore as cities continue to experiment with changing the mobility infrastructure, global mapping solutions do not always keep up to help users find their way.

At Iomob we have been modelling the travel time between any point on a map and the rest of the city. The heatmap below, shows the distance in time from our headquarters in Barcelona to anywhere on the map. Heatmaps are nothing new. But what is unique about this particular heatmap is that it factors in multimodal journeys based on all the vehicles connected to Iomob. This includes taxis, ridehailing, bike and scooter sharing, public transit and suburban bus and rail services. Anything in red is beyond 30 minutes regardless of modal combinations.

Multimodal heat map for a 30-minute Barcelona

In conclusion, we thoroughly agree with the aspirations of Mayor Hidalgo and the C40 community to rethink our cities post-Covid towards more active mobility and away from car dependence. The efforts to invest in new pedestrian and micromobility corrridors are just what urbanists have been clamoring for. But we propose that “build it they will come” is not enough. MaaS can play an important enabling role in accelerating the shift towards the 15-minute city. For those interested in the role of city planning, micromobility and MaaS in accelerating the shift, please join us and esteemed colleagues in our webinar with Connected Places Catapult this Wednesday.


Iomob, which stands for the Internet of Mobility, headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, offers a complete Mobility as a Service solution which combines proprietary algorithms enabling multimodal combinations of public and private services and an SDK that allows end users to discover mobility services, receive multimodal combinations for their journeys, book and pay for a range of mobility services via our client’s own apps. Iomob has won numerous open innovation challenge awards from organisations like Ford Motors, Renfe and Sweden’s Sustainable Mobility Challenge. Iomob has also participated in prestigious startup accelerators such as Techstars and Wayra and has won several awards from Newsweek, TravelTechEurope, South Summit, ERTICO (ITS Europe) and the Federation of International Automobiles (FiA).

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Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CEO IoMob

Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CEO IoMob


Boyd is a researcher and entrepreneur in smart, sustainable & entrepreneurial cities, He´s authored 3 books & is CEO of IoMob.