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The CIVITAS SUCCESS project, “Smaller Urban Communities in CIVITAS for Environmentally Sustainable Solutions”, three medium-sized European cities joined forces to implement activities encouraging clean urban mobility: La Rochelle (France), Preston (UK) and Ploiesti (Romania). The main aim of CIVITAS SUCCESS was to address mobility-related challenges typical for medium-sized cities.


La Rochelle, Preston and Ploiesti faced specific transport issues that were typical of medium-sized European cities:

  • a small surface area, implying a greater interconnection among activities;
  • a lack of funding, which can be a barrier to the implementation of sophisticated technologies;
  • the need to adopt political solutions quickly;
  • unfamiliarity with the complexity of European projects; and
  • seasonal changes in transport uses.

The SUCCESS cities decided to use the latest clean-vehicle technologies in combination with other measures in order to create locations where citizens are able to enjoy a high-quality environment and travel easily and safely; to build local partnerships for tackling sustainable mobility issues; to develop efficient management systems; and to adopt new approaches to urban transport. The general objectives of SUCCESS were to:

  • demonstrate that alternative fuels can be an efficient choice for urban transport, with a target for all vehicle fleets to achieve a decrease of 20 percent in the use of fossil fuels, and to cut energy consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide by 10 percent;
  • demonstrate that, with an ambitious package of mobility and traffic management measures, significant results can be provided regarding sustainable transport and energy policy;
  • demonstrate that cities in candidate countries can avoid the mistakes made in Western Europe and contribute to the development of their collective transport systems; and
  • support related research and assessment activities, including new, all-inclusive training and communication initiatives to disseminate results and encourage transferability.

Implementing sustainable mobility

CIVITAS SUCCESS comprised 50 individual measures. The local demonstrations typically included the introduction of biodiesel hybrid vehicles (buses, vans and taxis), backed up by a range of initiatives including access control schemes, integrated pricing systems, the deployment of car-sharing fleets, innovative transport information systems and new concepts for city logistics. The following key measures were implemented in the three cooperating cities:

  • new energy-efficient vehicles were purchased, including two hybrid minibuses and 10 electric buses, and 25 diesel buses were converted to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG);
  • two new biofuel filling stations and cooking oil recycling units were installed;
  • public transport was improved through new park and ride facilities, dedicated bus lanes and enhanced bike-bus services;
  • new forms of vehicle use were promoted through enhanced car-sharing systems and city bike schemes;
  • cycling and walking were promoted via infrastructure developments (the construction of 22 km of cycling paths) and the provision of information;
  • business travel plans and school travel plans were drawn up to encourage healthy and energy-efficient personal mobility;
  • advanced IT solutions were introduced for public transportation, including real time-information systems, smart card–based ticketing systems and fleet management through GPS and geographic information systems;
  • access control zones and speed-limit zones were created in selected urban areas, new pedestrian zones were built, and other traffic-calming measures introduced;
  • new parking and pricing policies were implemented, along with web-based information portals, park and ride sites and multi-operator smart cards for public transport;
  • improvements were made to the local public transport network with simple-to-use information displays on board buses, the introduction of new bus routes, and general improvements to passenger facilities; and
  • new concepts were tested to improve goods distribution, freight management was coordinated through the establishment of a freight quality partnership, guidance was developed to improve routes for goods vehicle operators, and signage was installed to help reroute vehicles away from congested areas and the city centre.

Project results

The enhanced environmentally friendly vehicles (EEV) introduced in the bus fleet in La Rochelle proved reliable, had reasonable maintenance costs and reduced pollution dramatically. The main findings of the exhaust gas analysis comparing Euro 3 and EEV buses showed a strong drop in carbon monoxide (-98 percent), hydrocarbons (-98 percent), nitrogen oxides (-68 percent) and particulate matter (- 89 percent). However, hybrid buses that were tested in La Rochelle showed a disappointing performance, with low levels of reliability/availability and frequent maintenance requirements. 

Biofuel operations in La Rochelle were successful in reducing polluting emissions of particulates, carbon monoxide and, to a lesser extent, nitrogen oxide emissions (as might be expected). Maintenance rates did not increase, which is an important finding and bodes well for future implementation. Fuel consumption rose by 5 to 6 percent, which is in line with other experiences of high-blend biodiesel and not sufficient to offset the positive impacts.

LPG buses in Ploiesti met their objectives of reducing carbon monoxide emissions and fuel costs. The maintenance costs for these buses were not reduced (as had been hoped), and there are some concerns about the long-term robustness of retrofitting older buses. The public reaction to the overall refurbishment was very favourable.

The key results from the implementation of a clear zone in Ploiesti were that pollution and congestion were reduced and there was increased awareness of the benefits (and subsequent acceptance) among businesses inside the access controlled area. In La Rochelle, the access restriction policy implemented in three main areas received a high level of support among the population, who were aware of the benefits in terms of increased safety and cleanliness and decreased noise levels.

Test versions of a smart card in Preston generated useful results on performance and usability. Feedback from users was that instructions on how to use the smart card were clear and the roll-out strategy was refined based on feedback that smart card recharge should take place on board the buses. Smart card use was the preferred method of payment among respondents across all bus routes.

The bike-sharing scheme in La Rochelle reduced the number of car trips and associated emissions of pollutants. The general public felt that the scheme was useful from a global perspective and the average number of subscribers increased over time.

A freight quality partnership was established in Preston and South Ribble, helping to identify, and then steer the implementation of, practical measures to improve the coordination of freight traffic in the area. The Lancashire Freight Strategy was drawn up, freight zones were defined and mapped, and better information was provided for freight operators regarding the routing of freight vehicles into and around the city.

The key result for the GPS system in Ploiesti was a reduction in operational costs. In addition, public transport users became familiar with the real-time information system and high levels of appreciation were recorded. Public transport users considered that the main improvement to the quality of bus stops was the installation of real-time informational panels.

Related documents




Project Descriptions

Result pub.



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