ENI Mobility Hub: Gas Station of the Future
In conjunction with MIT’s Mobile Experience Laboratory (MEL)
Lab director: Federico Casalegno
The Mobility Hub seeks to transform Milan’s standard gas station sites into a dispersed network of urban centers designed to support multi-modal transportation through emerging smart city technologies.
A collaboration between the Mobile Experience Lab (MEL) and Italy’s largest petrol company, ENI, had created a range of refueling and transportation technologies that reinvented the fueling process. Next was the question of how these technologies could be implemented in a way that would reshape the urban environment for their customers—taking ENI from a company that sells oil, to a company that “sells mobility” regardless of what form transportation may take. With over 4,000 gas stations, ENI has the power to reshape the commuting process and experience.
Researching the needs of its Milanese patrons and communities, our team sought to reimagine ENIs existing petrol station sites to not only improve the experience of its fueling customers, but also the experience of the surrounding community.
The greatest change on the site was a shift from preferencing the movement of automobiles to that of pedestrians. Rearranging the typical gas station site, we moved car refueling from the front of the site to the back and placed the building along the sidewalk in order to rebuild lost urban fabrics and better engage pedestrians and other community members who may not be refueling.
Meanwhile several paths were carved between the enclosures to allow the community to “cut the corner” for convenience and to engage with components of the site. Digital kiosks also act as buffers between automobiles and pedestrians. An extended canopy provides coverage not only for those refueling, but also those on the sidewalk.
ENI’s recently released car-sharing service is emphasized through a car-stacking tower, adjacent to a bike-sharing hub, that helps re-brand the corporation beyond oil.
Following the theme of Milan Expo 2015, food, a decentralized digital farmer’s market was conceptualized, which would provide not only healthier eating options at gas stations, but also convenient points to pick up fresh, local produce during a commute.
As the largest component of transportation is work-based commuting, we sought to bring work closer to home through a network of co-working spaces that provides a space for individuals to work remotely, or in teams, and host teleconference meetings in a professional environment. Located at each gas station, this produces a new form of public space distributed throughout the city.
Today’s commuters often use several modes of transportation to get between locations. The mobility hub becomes a point where users can transition from car to bike to bus to tram. Digital technologies were conceptualized that would aide users in finding the best “multi-modal” transportation options.