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New approaches for community-driven sustainable mobility innovations at neighbourhood and urban district level

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Giving citizens a stand to improve their cities

Many urban and peri-urban areas of EU cities face common mobility challenges. Through a people-oriented approach, the Cities-4-People project has been working to improve transportation and increase urban sustainability.

Transport and Mobility

Commuters usually face various problems associated with convenience, access to live information and infrastructure. These issues must be addressed to improve mobility experience across Europe and make cities a better place to live.

Including citizens in urban mobility design

The EU-funded Cities-4-People initiative has involved citizens in the co-development of solutions and in the design of their local mobility ecosystems. “Our project has empowered local communities to engage and interact towards changing their city for the better,” explains project coordinator Isabel Froes. Partners have set up citizen mobility communities in five areas across Europe (Budapest, Hamburg, Istanbul, Oxfordshire and Trikala) and implemented five pilot programmes. The Cities-4-People team tested the effectiveness of prototype and pilot innovative and smart mobility solutions that address pressing and real urban mobility challenges.

Improving mobility network in European cities

Citizens of Budapest joined forces to transform the mobility landscape of the city, focusing on bringing people closer to the Danube riverbank. This initiative was undertaken in collaboration with mobility providers and involved the design of a busy transport hub that includes e-cars, scooters and bikes. The usage of this environmentally friendly and sustainable means of transport has enabled citizens to reach their destination on time and at lower costs compared to using their own car. Up to now, more than 30 000 users have benefitted from the service. The municipality of Üsküdar in Istanbul is a densely populated region and mobility is complicated, especially for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, and people with impairments. Cities-4-People installed resting points such as benches and improved pavement conditions for visually impaired citizens. In addition, renovation of the pavement and lighting in the Salih Solman Park was intended to make it ‘everyone’s garden’. Such practices are expected to extend to other green areas in the city. To address traffic congestion around Oxfordshire, Cities-4-People implemented transport services on demand. These include a shopper service and a connector that transfers people from peripheral villages to the Barton shopping centre.

Enhancing European city infrastructure

Expanding the bike infrastructure was the predominant solution that citizens of Altona, an urban borough of Hamburg, chose to implement. Τhe city installed bike racks including racks for cargo bikes on roads used by cyclists after receiving input from local stakeholders. Altona implemented sprayed-on logos on the ground to distinguish cargo bike racks. Trikala citizens expressed their wish to combine different activities in the centre where all services are gathered. To accommodate this, Cities-4-People installed storage lockers at the central info point for people to leave their heavy luggage. Alongside pedestrianisation of the streets around the main square, this solution is expected to reduce traffic in the centre and facilitate cycling and walking. Trikala has also provided electric scooters for citizens with mobility impairment to move around the centre of the city.

Lessons learned

Besides the permanent solutions implemented during Cities-4-People, the project underscored the importance of citizens in the co-creation process, especially when it comes to neighbourhood mobility. To raise awareness of this fact, project partners collaborated with other projects (Metamorphosis, SUNRISE, and Looper) to produce a ‘Big Messages’ brochure to encourage citizen participation in the urban planning of their neighbourhood.

Keywords

Cities-4-People, mobility, citizens, cities, transport, infrastructure, co-creation, urban planning

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