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MobiMart research

Bologna

Bologna is pioneering the development of a mobility credit scheme to provide incentives for sustainable transport choices and change people’s travel habits.

Implementing sustainable mobility

The mechanism of “green certificates” derived from the Kyoto Protocol to provide an incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate a market for renewable energy sources. Bologna wants to adopt this approach to promote sustainable mobility choices.

The main objectives of the measure are to:

  • Raise awareness of and promote sustainable mobility modes;
  • Reduce CO₂ emissions and air pollution; and
  • Shift travel behaviour away from private vehicles to sustainable transport systems.

Bologna aims to develop, prototype and demonstrate a pilot scheme for mobility eco-savings with credits that can be obtained through different instruments on an individual and community level.  The city’s attempt to create a mobility credit market system, a so-called MobiMart, constitutes an important research activity on sustainable mobility credit mechanisms and its implementation is a crucial practical test.

In addition to the implementation of a mobility credit scheme, there will be four experimental research tests with regards to a flexible public transport service on demand, car sharing, car pooling and urban cycling. These experiments will demonstrate the feasibility of the system and help to create a methodology on how CO₂ emission reductions from opting for sustainable mobility modes rather than the car can be quantified and converted into credits. This methodology will be developed according to the Cartesio protocol guidelines.

Based on the analysis of existing data, the idea is to tailor a reward mechanism to citizens’ needs and convert desirable travel behaviour into benefits such as free bus tickets or a free parking bonus. The scheme relies on the identification of conversion factors that reward both regular users of public transport, car sharing, car pooling and cyclists, while also attracting new users.

The development of the scheme involves various innovative elements such as the definition of acceptable certification methods, conversion criteria and trading rules, validated protocols and guidelines on how mobility credit are issued. The municipality will need to reach voluntary agreements among stakeholders for the mutual recognition of transport-related mobility credits. Bologna also needs to develop guidelines related to privacy and security issues.

How did the measure progress?

Bologna was engaged in several meetings and completed a number of studies to define the state-of-the-art of credit schemes and gain insights into different methodologies. The four pilot tests have been all fully completed.

Bologna aimed to contact at least 1,000 users of the mobility modes of the four campaigns. The pilots started with the submission of questionnaires and phone interviews to collect information on users’ travel habits. The survey results served as baseline data and helped to create sample groups for the evaluation of the measure. A private company named AIRIS has drafted a research and implementation plan. The plan contains the research methodology and a methodology for technology development that has been used for the test phase.
Bologna, together with the environment department of the Emilia Romagna Region, verified the possibility to set up a credit scheme on mobility within the framework of the Cartesio Protocol that has been developed by a network of public bodies. A conversion methodology has been drafted and tested. It is based on the Guidelines for the definition and implementation of local authorities' GHG emission reduction strategies drafted by Cartesio network. SRM, the Municipality’s public transport agency, also signed an agreement to include the certification of mobility credits in the register of Voluntary Emission Reductions (VER) with the university consortium CESISP that is specialised in this field.
The pilot on Flexible Transport System (FTS) was implemented in February 2011, the pilot on Cycling in May – June 2011 (and up-scaled in May 2012), the pilot on Car-pooling was completed by the end of October 2011, and the pilot on Car Sharing, started in September 2011, was completed by the end of February 2012. On the Car Sharing and FTS tests, SRM, the Public Transport Authority cooperated with the public transport operator ATC.

The title of the initiative set up by SRM as a pilot test on Flexible Transport Services (FTS) in Bologna was “Fall in love with ColBUS – La navetta del Borgo!”.
In April and May 2010, 300 citizens were contacted by phone to assess the feasibility of a pilot on a FTS operating in Borgo-Panigale, a peripheral district in Bologna.
During Valentine’s week, from 14th to 19th of February 2011, ColBUS was available for free to all citizens who wanted to use it for their daily trips. Furthermore, a monthly ticket was raffled among users who booked and used ColBUS during Valentine’s week. The aim of the initiative was to raise awareness on ColBUS service, inviting citizens to a free trial in order to increase the use of public transport towards a change of habits. The pilot week came after a two weeks advertising campaign. A post-implementation survey was carried out.

The Emilia-Romagna region (RER) worked with the city on the car pooling experiment. In particular, RER was involved in re-launching car-pooling among its employees through awareness-raising campaigns. In order to identify available volunteers SRM and the RER’s Mobility Manager conducted an information campaign among the regional employees using the intranet, arranging a road show and promoting an already activated website, which favours the creation of car-pooling crews. RER also edited protocols and drafted communication materials.

Several cyclist associations were involved in the urban cycling pilot. Questionnaires were distributed to cyclists during the European Mobility Week in September 2010. Around 1,000 people have replied. SRM monitored if the distance covered by bike increased during the one-month testing period. Experts were involved in tests on ICT solutions for a pilot scheme on cycling for instance through smartphones and GPS data. A specific website was launched for the pilot purpose. The grand finale of the pilot on cycling took place on 20 July, 2011 in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore with a prize giving ceremony attended by over 50 participating cyclists, as well as representatives of the Municipality of Bologna, ATC and CIVITAS MIMOSA. An intensive dissemination activity was carried out through traditional communication channels, direct mail, on the dedicated Facebook page and through Twitter. Another public dissemination event was carried out in Bologna on 20th June 2012 as final event of a cycling pilot replica arranged involving other European cities in a challenge on cycling mileage.

Car sharing users have also been surveyed during workshops held in June and September 2010. 23 users replied positively out of 70 participants. The pilot on Car Sharing, was based on a “Bring a friend methodology” and it was completed by the end of February 2012.

All figures have been collected and forwarded to the certification body to be validated, except for one unsuccessful pilot (on car sharing). As a result of these activities, more than 2,000 users have been directly addressed to participate in the pilot activities (746 cyclists, 35 potential car poolers, 1,050 car sharing users and 199 potential FTS users).
MobiMart papers were presented at the Mobil TUM 2011 in Munich, at the Transport Research Arena 2012 in Athens as well as at CIVITAS Forum 2011 and 2012.
Another public event, where to disseminate the project goals and implementation, was realized in Bologna on 20 June 2012 as final event of a cycling pilot replica arranged involving other European cities in a challenge on cycling mileage.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Bologna expects that this measure will result in:
- the development and standardisation of a certified methodology to convert CO₂ savings in the transport sector into green mobility credits;
- to reach at least 1,000 users of different services;
- to reach 5% increase of greener transports among test participants. Comparison will be possible thanks to before/after surveys and to control groups when available.

Three out of four pilots were successful in terms of CO₂ savings and citizen participation, and just one (car sharing) faced barriers that hindered the achievement of valuable results.
The conversion methodology based on the Guidelines for the definition and implementation of local authorities' GHG emission reduction strategies drafted by Cartesio network is considered the main output of the measure.

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