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Demand management strategies in Gorna Oryahovitsa

Gorna Oryahovitsa

The Municipality of Gorna Oryahovitsa is concerned about the traffic levels, the traffic related accidents and air pollution and the measure was designed to optimize the existing traffic organization in the city. New optimized traffic management scheme was planned to be elaborated and part of it implemented as small tests. By-pass road feasibility study was elaborated to support more sustainable and long-term less traffic oriented solutions

Implementing sustainable mobility

Within the CIVITAS Plus Renaissance project and under the measure 3.5  ‘Demand management’  Gorna Oryahovitsa aimed at less traffic intensive lifestyle and at the improved quality of life of Gorna Oryahovitsa citizens.  Its purpose was to develop and implement a set of traffic management measures which had to increase traffic safety for both pedestrians and car users, to reduce harmful emissions from road traffic, to optimize the existing parking policy and  to elaborate a new Traffic Management Scheme, based on: -identifing main traffic management shortcomings/problems; -developed transport demand model for testing different traffic management solutions - identified possible measures for solving the problems.

Measure implementation began with working meeting between partners on which it was agreed internal terms for implementation of tasks and responsibilities were distributed between partners. Then Traffic counts were carried out The results from the counts helped the routes of main traffic flows through the city to be identified and one completed picture of traffic situation to be derived. Next step was development of Study on establishment of traffic restricted zone/s in Gorna Oryahovitsa downtown area.  The results from the study were supposed to become part of new Traffic Organisation Scheme in the city. In the same time process of Development of an updated parking management scheme was carried out. Analyses of the current transport situation in Gorna Oryahovitsa showed that the existing parking lots in the city were being used in non-effective way and there are on-street an chaotic parked vehicles all-round the city and especially in the downtown area. Municipality also wanted to introduce paid parking in the city. One of the goals of Measure 3.5 was to reroute transit heavy traffic and to take it out of downtown and densely populated areas. As the first step for achieving of this goal identification A representative household survey of dedicated routes of heavy vehicles  was carried out in Gorna Oryahovitsa. City was divided on 32 zones and 300 households were interviewed. The most important step of Measure implementation was the elaboration of New optimised traffic management scheme. It came as result from completion of the above mentioned activities. Transit traffic counts were carried out during 3 working days on all 4 road entrances of the city. The results were used during the elaboration of by-pass road feasibility study. Municipal Council adopted the New Traffic Management Scheme partially and its implementation was performed as series of small tests. Parking strategy was adopted also partially and was implemented on several steps. These included: creation of two parking prohibited and one parking restricted area and improvement of the organisation of four parking areas with 300 parking bays. Municipality Council gave its negative vote to the proposal for introducing paid parking in the city. Also informational and educational campaign “Safety for our children” was carried out in 3 schools.

How did the measure progress?

During the last years the motorisation rate in Gorna Oryahovitsa area increased more than three times, reaching level of 49.6 vehicles per 100 inhabitants that exceeds average rate for Bulgaria. New industrial areas emerged in the town itself and adjacent territories. This resulted in increased car and truck traffic flows the existing organisation cannot cope with. Currently Gorna Oryahovitsa has 386.7 km street network and 1,245 parking lots. Presently, both local and transit freight traffic passes through the downtown and residential areas causing incident traffic problems, air and noise pollution. Traffic jams occur and high air pollution is measured during rush hours. The parking infrastructure included several sites, in most of which the parking was rather chaotically organized. The pedestrian zones are practically limited, there are no bicycle alleys. Meanwhile limited and partial changes in traffic organisation were done occasionally for solving specific problem, missing an integrated approach and thus failing to positively influence the overall traffic situation. The Municipality of Gorna Oryahovitsa realized the necessity of formation of new models of Public behaviour and turning Gorna Oryahovitsa into a good place for investments.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Some important results were achieved during measure implementation. There was a significant decrease in the number of traffic related accidents The newly implemented traffic calming measures proved to be very efficient and the new design and new traffic organisation of two important crossroad intersections from city street network also played significant role in reduction of the accidents. Heavy vehicles traffic was rerouted and removed outside from the downtown and densely populated areas. Now transit heavy vehicles traffic has dedicated route which runs through more peripheral city areas. Mixed results were achieved related to environmental aspects- satisfactory results were achieved only towards NO levels. The target set was 10% reduction and it was achieved in full.The target set for NO₂ levels was also 10% reduction. It was substantially achieved but not in full. The elements of the New traffic management scheme were well accepted by the city residents. These included: rerouting of heavy traffic flows out of downtown and densely populated areas; reconstruction of two intersections; adapting traffic light cycles at two intersections to specific traffic fluctuation; signing dangerous intersections; traffic calming measures (speed humps – locations, marked crossroads – 3 locations); flashing road signs were installed on the streets adjacent to four schools. Finalisation of implementation of New parking strategy in the city was done. Educational and informational campaign “Safety for our children” was very successful Campaign was carried out in 3 city schools among the schoolchildren at age of 9. It was very well accepted among schoolchildren and their parents. Because of the positive results achieved by the campaign part of the neighbouring towns around Gorna Oryahovitsa started preparations to implement similar campaigns. Campaign “Safety for our children” will be extended outside CIVITAS project and will include all schools in Gorna Oryahovitsa.

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