Social and Environmentally-Friendly Mobility

  • ESA-STAR REFAO 10993
  • ActivityKick-start Activity
  • Opening date 06-12-2021
  • Closing date 11-02-2022


Transport currently accounts for a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and this figure continues to rise as demand grows. Moving to more sustainable transport means putting users first and providing them with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives. Environmental concerns and the need for more socially and financially efficient modes of transportation are guiding the new generation of transportation users.

Social and Environmentally Friendly Mobility refers to all solutions and services supporting the emergence of novel mobility paradigms with an emphasis on social and environmental sustainability. The European Space Agency’s Kick-Start programme offers support and funding to companies developing services exploiting satellite data and technologies to create a socio-economic impact through commercially sustainable services, and in this particular initiative, within the mobility sector.


The following topics were identified for the Social and Environmentally Friendly Mobility Kick-Start theme (details can be found in the Statement of Work alongside the other tender package materials). 

Shared Mobility

Shared mobility is a transportation strategy that allows users to access transportation services on an as-needed basis. This is changing the traditional transportation industry, as it has the potential to create a shift towards environmental, social and economic efficiency using technology. Shared modes can reduce traffic congestion and the need for parking spaces, giving rise to a decrease in the total number of vehicles. They also determine a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced transportation accessibility. 

Optimisation of Vehicle Routing and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)

The optimisation of vehicles’ routes guarantees reduced levels of emissions and improved traffic conditions. Sharing quasi real-time M2M (Machine-To-Machine) information can improve mobility and people’s safety, for example enabling quasi real-time reaction and re-routing in case of congestion or accident.

MaaS is a transport service in which a customer’s major commuting and traveling needs are met over only one interface and are offered by a service provider. MaaS platforms combine information from several public and private transport services and provide the user with several options in order to choose the one that best suits their needs. The service needs to consider the time, cost and carbon footprint from walking, biking, driving their own car, parking, taking public transit, as well as the emerging driverless cars, giving users a variety of ways to reach their destination.

Planning and Upgrading of Transport Infrastructure

New transport infrastructure can make mobility sustainable, more efficient and accessible to more people. Transportation infrastructures need to be adapted to accommodate new and growing transport demands. For example, motorways and road signs can be fitted with technology which allows them to communicate with vehicles up ahead, informing drivers of delays, safety hazards and other traffic issues. In-situ sensors, integrated with data from space assets, can improve traffic management by reporting levels of congestion, inform on the condition of infrastructure, making maintenance quicker and less disruptive, and provide data on air quality. In addition, novel infrastructure (physical and digital) will be necessary to support new mobility paradigms such as e-scooters and more. 

New Driving Solutions

Electric, connected and autonomous vehicles are developing rapidly and are determining transformation across mobility ecosystems. Broad solutions supporting their adoption and proliferation such as those relating to the physical and digital infrastructure and novel business models will be critical moving forward. 


Solutions should address emerging paradigms in mobility that account for changing consumer behaviour in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased social and environmental awareness, and the opportunities for novel business models and value creation across the full value chain. As such, solutions should be forward-looking and could consider a broad spectrum of mobility-related solutions spanning ride-sharing, ride-hailing, walking and cycling, e-scooters, connected and autonomous vehicles, with a focus on road and intermodal transport.


The opportunity to use space assets, eventually integrated with other technologies, for the above topics are many. Some (non-exhaustive) examples are listed hereafter.

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO), Earth Observation imagery can be used for: 

  • Providing imagery for the maps required by the traffic management; 
  • Providing air pollution information, CO2 emissions, etc.; 
  • Providing meteorological information; 
  • Providing ground condition information. 

Satellite Navigation (Satnav), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) can be used for: 

  • Tracking and tracing vehicles such as cars, buses and bikes; 
  • Offering support to navigating autonomous vehicles; 
  • Locating where emissions measurements are taken; 
  • Geo-referencing sensor data related e.g. to infrastructure condition. 

Satellite Communications (SatCom), can be used for: 

  • Enabling M2M (Machine-to-Machine) communication e.g. for predictive maintenance of transport infrastructure and vehicles; 
  • Providing broadcast/multicast to distribute updated messages to all vehicles; 
  • In the context of 5G networks, SatCom can augment by providing broader coverage and/or additional capacity for vehicles and infrastructure; 
  • Enabling emergency communications and alert services in areas not covered by terrestrial communications infrastructure.


Kick-Start activities explore the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services that exploit one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-Start activities is dedicated to the theme ‘Social and Environmentally Friendly Mobility’, which means that the call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to the aforementioned themes in this domain.


  1. Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’)
  2. Visit esa-star publications and search for this opportunity to download the official tender documentation. Official documents will include proposal templates, a draft contract, and additional information about this opportunity.
  3. Use the official documents to prepare your proposal.
  4. Write your proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegation, if needed (see Authorisation of Funding section below).
  5. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by the deadline. 


ESA Space Solutions can provide funding to perform Kick-Start activities under this Social and Environmentally-Friendly Mobility intiative to any company (economic operator) residing in the following Member States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden.

However, please note that, currently, Austria, Greece, and Switzerland are not supporting Kick-Start activities at all. The United Kingdom is not supporting this particular Kick-Start initiative.

Applicants must inform the National Delegation of the country they are residing in to obtain a letter of authorisation allowing the funding of the proposed activity. Contact details of each national delegate can be found here ( 

Currently, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Norway have pre-approved funding for this kick-start activity. Applicants from these countries do not need to obtain a letter of authorisation from their National Delegation.

Kick-Start activities are funded at 75% by the European Space Agency for a maximum of €60K per contract.


• 6 October 2021, 11:00 CEST