UMove - Understanding User’s Needs, Preferences and Social Interactions for the Design of Future Mobility Services


A new generation of citizens is rapidly changing its behaviour, privileging usufruct versus ownership, with an informed attitude, aiming a healthy sustainable life, focused on getting the best from their time in the city or moving around. This generation is used to the dematerialization of the urban space, its social life, and the services it subscribes. It is within this context that mobility is on the verge of a profound change in term of business models (e.g. Mobility as a Service, Uber like businesses), services (e.g. mobile payments, myriad of mobile apps), and infrastructures (e.g. V2V and V2I communications, electric cars, self-driving vehicles). This dematerialization results into new and yet unexplored opportunities for research aiming at improving the quality of life in urban areas with an emphasis on the mobility pillar. Big data is used for better understanding the user and her/his ecosystem, namely needs, preferences, land use, social and cultural life. The promises of electric and self-driving vehicles are also on the basis of strong changes on the mobility paradigm and structuration of the urban space. These near future developments are an unprecedented opportunity to design high quality public, sharing and pooling systems, namely new public transports or pooling of self-driving vehicles taking into consideration needs and preferences in a much more effective way. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The vehicle still moves a person from A to B, but will be above all an opportunity to meet, to work, to acquire new competences, to play, to discover the new things in the surroundings. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Having all this in mind, we put together four groups, working on mobility disruptive topics, at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Universidade de Coimbra (UC), and Universidade do Porto (UP), and two enterprises, Tulamove (self-driving vehicles) and Novabase (software development) to explore together our common vision on a radically new moving experience, with impacts on sustainable mobility (e.g. public transports, pooling of self-driving vehicles), and on the travelling experience. The consortium puts together a multidisciplinary team of researchers in the areas of (i) computer science at UC and UP (ii) transports at UC and IST, (iii) urban studies at MIT SENSEable city, (iv) data visualization at UC, and (v) social sciences. The social sciences pillar will be addressed by UC-FEUC. Due to shortage of time for candidature preparation, only on approval of it we will ask FCT for integration of this researcher in the consortium. On the pursuit of his vision, the consortium will address a collaborative research agenda on (1) inferring user’s needs and preferences from big data, (2) understanding the role of social interactions, and how they promote social contagion on mobility decisions, (3) studying and developing new visualization metaphors that induce better individual mobility choices - healthier, more fun, and more sustainable. This research is supported on big opportunistic data from mobile apps, crowd-sources, and social networks. The short time window for the project implies that the focus of this research program is on setting an exploratory common disruptive research agenda, that will go beyond the time window of this project, but that has it the ignitor of this shared vision. We will invite University of Açores (UAc) to collaborate in the project. This collaboration has two main objectives: (1) identify future collaborations with the project consortium; (2) explore of opportunities to extend the impact of this project to the Açores AIR Center, namely on topics like visualization of big data, and improving the accessibility to airports - new mobility solutions matching the air and ground segments. Two trials will be set during the project: (a) a pilot for promotion of better individual mobility decisions, running at the University Campus Open Lab of UP-FEUP , with the collaboration of Novabase (b) a simulation of a self-driving pooling service that will use, for calibration, data acquired in (a), and with the collaboration of Tulamove. We will follow best practices related to privacy and security of individual data, namely at the ethical and legal levels. All members of the consortium have a long track on dealing with this kind of issues.


Funded by



Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto

Total budget

99 770,00 €

Local budget

35 000,00 €


Sustainable Mobility, Behaviour Modelling

Start Date


End Date