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Encouraging sustainable mobility in suburban districts: an interview with CIVITAS ECCENTRIC

Author: Richard Adams
Posted on: Friday, August 4, 2017 - 15:40

Paz Valiente, the project coordinator for CIVITAS ECCENTRIC, has been interviewed by Eltis about the project. She reveals how ECCENTRIC is bringing sustainable urban mobility to neighbourhoods in the suburban districts of cities.

Please sum up your project in a sentence.

I am afraid I need two! ECCENTRIC seeks to put neighbourhoods found on the peripheries and in the suburban districts of European cities - ones sometimes forgotten about in sustainable mobility - in the spotlight. It also aims to address the potential conflict between having both high quality public spaces in city centres and accessibility for freight deliveries using carbon neutral modes of transport.

In what way are the five ECCENTRIC living lab cities already benefitting from your project?

Measures are already being implemented. Those in Vallecas (Madrid) are improving the mobility of children and older people and giving them greater autonomy in their travel choices. Sustainable transport alternatives are being offered to children for their trips to school and older people for journeys to social activities. A number of local campaigns are also being conducted to promote healthy living.

New mobility concepts, such as Mobility-as-a-Service, are influencing the measures being devised and implemented in Stockholm and Turku. Such ideas seek to facilitate intermodality and achieve a high modal share for public transport, walking, and cycling.

Domagk Park is a new, relatively small neighbourhood in the north of Munich with 4,000 residents and 15,000 new jobs.  A comprehensive sustainable mobility concept based on new, affordable transport alternatives is being developed there. Residents already benefit from mobility centres in which they can access an array of mobility solutions, including public transport, car pooling, and car sharing. An innovative parcel delivery system is also nearing completion.

The Bulgarian city of Ruse is conducting an awareness raising campaign in the neighbourhood of Druzhba to explain safe and environmentally friendly mobility. This is one of a series of initiatives designed to bring about safer mobility for all, including pedestrians, cyclists, mothers with children, and people with disabilities.

What are the key project publications or resources (current or future), and how will they be used by the living lab cities, and indeed other cities?

At the moment, there are many technical publications on urban mobility, maybe even too many. ECCENTRIC is instead trying to focus on involving citizens, improving decision-making practice, and sound monitoring.

We hope that the materials produced following the ECCENTRIC project evaluation will appeal to practitioners and decision makers with an interest in the aforementioned topics. They will explore the measures' impact and the decision-making process behind them, whilst providing recommendations based on our experiences with the project.

What opportunities are there for others to become involved in the project?

Part of the project is focused on replication. We encourage cities interested in becoming 'Observer Cities' to get in contact, be they from Europe or elsewhere in the world. Once initial project results become available, they will be presented at different international events. This will provide opportunities to interact and network with other cities.

How can people keep up to date with project activity?

ECCENTRIC has its own project page on the CIVITAS website. In addition, some of the cities have already launched a website or a blog with information on day-to-day progress. For instance, the blog for the CIVITAS ECCENTRIC blog in Madrid can be found here and the website for Munich here.

Name one development/innovation that you think will impact urban mobility in Europe over the next five years.

It is indeed true that technological innovation is going to change urban mobility, through the combination of electrification, automation and further expansion of ICT-based mobility services. Yet I  would prefer to focus on the social challenges that European cities are facing: our capacity to respond to the challenges associated with growing social disparities; increased migration flows; and the reduced involvement and participation of citizens in the public sphere. Urban mobility represents an excellent vehicle for working in these areas and ultimately creating more equitable cities.

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