Problems to be solved
Problems related to traffic, congestion, parking, traffic safety, noise and pollution, and to physical, functional and qualitative decay of our urban environment in general, are today particularly acute in European cities. Since the 1950's the trend has been in all European cities to become more and more car-oriented. Car traffic increasingly occupies public spaces of the cities and causes pollution, noise and casualties. This has happened despite many efforts to regulate it in cities. At the same time the share of the non-motorised transport modes is declining all over Europe, although bicycling in some European cities plays an important role. Several European policies bring forward the problems concerning quality of life, equality, parity of access to basic services, social inclusion, regeneration of urban areas, sustainability of the urban environment, pollution, and condition of buildings, public spaces, cultural heritage and the balance of the urban system. The increase of the use of cars in our cities is one significant cause for all these problems. A revival of walking in cities would be a simple and natural way to remedy many of the above-mentioned problems. It would reduce the use of cars and enhance the use of public transport and thus decrease the pollution load. It would also promote the social life in the public spaces and improve the parity of citizens. The promotion of walking would also have many other positive consequences by, for example, improving citizens' physical condition and opening again their eyes to the details and richness of the surrounding nature and physical milieu. However, the problem remains how to effectively promote city walking.
Scientific objectives and approach
The main goal of PROMPT is to promote walking in cities. Its concrete objective is to develop for that purpose new innovative tools and generic solutions for city actors involved in urban planning and design as well as decision-making. The approach of the project is to consider all the causes enhancing or hindering walking in parallel. The scope ranges from the overall urban structure to the detailed street level. The tools and solutions are aimed at problem identification, design and planning as well as implementation of the considered measures in different local or European wide situations. The project is based on the analysis of certain existing towns in the participating countries and of some relevant case areas in them.
The analysis is made according to six different themes:
5) intermodality and
6) implementation. Although one can promote walking by considering each of these issues one by one, it is crucial to consider how they work together: the whole is not the sum of its parts. Thus, a multidisciplinary approach is utilised to find good comprehensive solutions for the identified problems. Different user categories, climatic conditions, different situations in the urban structure and cultural values of the site are also taken into account in the analysis.
The planners', designers' and decision makers' knowledge about how to promote walking in practice is being considerably improved through the establishment of new tools and solutions and their effective dissemination during and after the project. This, in turn, is expected to increase the share of walking in the future transport bringing along the benefits stated above. The main benefits will be the decrease of harmful impacts on the environment as well as the improvement of the accessibility to the public spaces, the health of the citizens, and their equality regardless of car ownership, health or disability. The increase of walking means also reductions in vehicle and road investments. Further, it means less costs in pollution abatements, less accidents and injuries and less damages in buildings. The impacts are difficult to quantify beforehand, but the project aims also at making some more concrete estimations of them. The main beneficiaries are the citizens themselves as well as the city authorities in many ways.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts