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Polotsk

Polotsk is a mid-sized city in northern Belarus, but together with the neighboring city of Novopolotsk (lit. New Polotsk) it forms one an important conurbation with more than 200 thousand residents.
Furthermore, Polotsk has seen a surge in the number of private vehicles. In 2004, Polotsk had around 150 cars per 1000 citizens. However, just in 6 years, more than 300 cars were registered per 1000 citizens, which is comparable to the capital city of in Minsk. Even though the number of public buses fell by around 1/3, this mode of transportation remains the most popular in Polotsk (almost 50% of all daily trips). At the same time, bicycle use grows rapidly.
 

To tackle this situation and to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in particular, Polotsk became the first Belarusian signatory of the Covenant of Mayors. As a result, the local government and relevant stakeholders have been consistently working on measures to improve quality of life in the city and boost its attractiveness to tourists (Polotsk is the oldest Belarusian city with famous cultural and architectural monuments).
Among such measures is an EU-funded Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (to be adopted in 2016). Having contributions from the local government, transportation experts, active citizens, and the local media, this official document should become a blueprint for (re-)developing the public transportation, creating bicycle lanes, and pushing drivers for the gradual switch to more eco-friendly modes of transportation. Moreover, Polotsk became the first official host of the European Mobility Week in Belarus and its active promoter.
 

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