Move fast and implement things

18 May 2021

Move fast and implement things

Back in April of this year, FastTrack partner Eurocities sat down with representatives from FastTrack's four Ambassador Cities – Antwerp, Bologna, Budapest and Stockholm – to learn about their ambitions and visions for the project. 

The resulting conversation provides an excellent glimpse into FastTrack's aims and vast potential. The entire article, written by Fraser Moore, can be found here. Keep reading for a preview of some of the cities' answers:

What does sustainable mobility look like in your city?

Paul Fenton, City of Stockholm: It looks positive, but it could – and will be – better! Prior to the pandemic, we had very high use of public transport, increasing use of cycles, high levels of walking and increasing use of sustainable logistics solutions and new mobility services. The pandemic has destabilised this but also led to emergence of new ideas and solutions. Private cars and the challenge of goods transportation are and will remain key challenges for the city.

Katia Kishchenko, City of Antwerp: [...] Through improving infrastructure, informing, nudging and incentivising people to travel differently, we influence the demand for mobility. Through supporting and regulating the development of new mobility solutions in our city, we increase the offer. In the past few years, this has led to a raised awareness, many new transport options in the city, a declining number of car users and much more cyclists. We’re very happy to see this positive evolution.

Kinga Lőcsei-Tóth, City of Budapest: Budapest has a dense network of public transport: four metro lines, trolleybus and bus lines and one of the world’s longest tram lines. In Budapest, 66% of passenger transport runs on electric-powered public transport. Sustainability also includes improving the conditions and rate of barrier-free transportation for disabled people.

Beatrice Bovinelli, Municipality of Bologna: Since 2020, our municipality decided to accord permission to circulate in the city centre only to environmentally compatible vehicles, thus radically changing its previous rules [...] This has been accompanied by a voucher system for those [city centre] residents who do not meet the requirements for maintaining the right to access – it is an electronic ‘purse’ of up to €1,000 per year for two years to be used for local public transport, car sharing, bike sharing and cabs. The municipality is now planning to adopt a wider area of restriction involving about 57% of the entire territory.

What does ‘mobility innovation’ mean to you?

Paul Fenton: I’m not sure I feel totally comfortable with the term, mainly for two reasons: the actual meaning of the word ‘innovation’, which denotes a shift from old to new and may imply the old was somehow inferior, and the usual scientific definition given by business scholars that emphasises product or service development for commercial gain. A large part of the ‘mobility’ challenge – if we are thinking about it in terms of sustainability – can be resolved without a lot of innovation, but rather will and commitment. That is, we need to enable more walking and cycling, and within the framework of both there is scope for lots of innovation to maximise the potential of active mobility. Yes, we need innovation, but more importantly, we need sustainable mobility – which I see as fundamental to enable ‘mobility innovation’.

Katia Kishchenko: We see innovation as something that improves the current situation, the quality of life. A new way of approaching or further developing things. In this sense innovation can be found in many aspects: policy planning, stakeholder engagement, funding, service design, products, promotion, and so on.

Kinga Lőcsei-Tóth: Making multimodal transport easily available for everyone, connecting public and shared transportation, improving the integration of active- and micro-mobility into transport chains. As a responsible mobility manager, we must be committed to helping citizens to become smart travellers with reasonable mobility choices and be aware and implement the latest trends in mobility.

Beatrice Bovinelli: Our goal is to shift approximately 255,000 daily trips from private vehicles to more sustainable modes. Our Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and Traffic Plan approved in 2019 provide the mobility interventions to do this, such as the creation of new infrastructure, the implementation of regulations and the use of incentives. Innovative solutions for sustainable mobility should be found in this last area, finding the right balance between opportunities and benefits.

How much do you know about the other cities in the project and what would you like to learn from them?

Paul Fenton: We have tested and evaluated lots of different approaches, but we always want to learn more from other cities. Everyone can do everything better, so we need to help each other!

Katia Kishchenko: The diversity in the cities involved [in FastTrack] is very interesting and the interactive session during the kick-off meeting showed that there are many topics of mutual interest. We heard, for example, that many cities are working on safe cycling and walking, Mobility as a Service, monitoring and measuring, the challenges of multimodality, and so on. So, we are looking forward to getting to know the cities better and working together with them. [...]

Kinga Lőcsei-Tóth: Unfortunately, not too much. We’re looking forward to getting to know them better during Fast Track! We like the integrated approach of Groningen and Ljubljana towards their transport system. We would like to learn about co-operating methods, mobility innovation processes and experiences.

Beatrice Bovinelli: We don’t know our project partners well enough yet, but we are proud to work and exchange knowledge with other important European cities. We are interested in learning new ways to meet our mobility goals and innovative ways of measuring the efficiency of the measures adopted from the other partners.

Read more from Paul, Katia, Kinga and Beatrice by clicking here.

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