Getting around: Montreal hosts 5,000 experts for sustainable mobility summit

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Some 5,000 sustainable mobility experts are in Montreal to discuss how to move around a city with no muss or fuss.

The third international Movin'On World Summit is taking place June 4-6, as experts share creative ideas and challenges for moving people around urban landscapes worldwide.

As part of the summit, the city of Montreal is holding nine conferences on topics including transitional developments and the deployment of Réseau Express Vélo.

"The more ways we have for people to go from one place to another that doesn't necessitate using a car on the road, then it's good for other types of transportation – maybe it's good for goods and everything related to delivery," said Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, on hand for the opening of the summit. "We need to think creatively about how we share public space. Our roads are quite limited, and there's going to be always more and more people in our cities, so what do we do?"

Electric and smart modes of transportation are a significant part of discussions, as is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Eric Alan Caldwell, Montreal's manager of urban planning and mobility.

"Electrification is an avenue full of promise to meet today's environmental challenges. Montreal is unequivocally in favour of electric transportation, particularly with the STM fleet's electrification projects and the REM. But challenges remain," he said in a news release.

Montreal recently won a $50 million grant from the federal government to take action on issues affecting urban life, including innovating mobility.

Among the innovations on display is a ‘MobiPod’ called the GeeBee.

The giant electric scooter is a creation of Sherbrooke-based company Concept GeeBee Inc. CEO Sabine Le Nevannau said the MobiPod runs circles around electric scooter.

“It's safer, it's more comfortable,” she said. “The range is up to 50-60 km for one charge. You can go on every type of ground. You can climb very big slopes.”

There are currently about 200 of them on the market and the company's target clientele includes cities: Le Nevannau said it is ideal for roles including police officers and park rangers.

Some 40 start-up companies’ creations and ideas are featured at the summit.