Evaluating CIVITAS achievements: no small feat!


Infographic showing a roundabout with travellers moving around it with sustainable modes. Four word bubbles list the main achievements, evolution, comparison and knowledge gaps in the cluster theme "co-creating liveable neighbourhoods".

Image from Created by ICLEI Europe using graphics accessed via Canva Pro. by Adrienne Kotler, designed based on infographics created by Katharina Phillips for the CIVITAS Initiative

Over the past many months, CIVITAS ELEVATE – the project responsible for the CIVITAS Secretariat and for supporting the current generation of CIVITAS projects and CIVINETs – has done a review and evaluation of the achievements of a remarkable 35 CIVITAS projects spanning the past 10 years! The results of this far-reaching work are now available online.

In order to draw impactful conclusions and insights, the 35 projects and their achievements were systematically analysed, and are presented, in five thematic clusters:

  1. Supporting the development of SUMPs;
  2. Co-creating liveable neighbourhoods;
  3. Boosting innovation and new technologies;
  4. Tackling congestion; and
  5. Improving freight management and goods distribution.

Click here to read the publication

Why conduct such an evaluation?

CIVITAS projects generate exceptional resources, learnings, and identify knowledge gaps and recommendations. Unfortunately, this knowledge, accumulated over the past ten years, is too often dispersed and fragmented. Through systematic review, CIVITAS ELEVATE has brought key lessons, tools and achievements together into one place, making them easy to find and build-on. What's more, by examining achievements together, the publication draws out new insights and learnings that would not have been visible otherwise.

The process

Gathering insights from so many projects was not easy. This was a challenge only compounded by the fact that some of the projects concluded in 2016, and therefore may not even have up to date websites anymore.

ELEVATE partners first reviewed and evaluated knowledge and material produced by projects, by reviewing their websites and public outputs. These were used to create, first off, one project fiche for each project. Next, in June 2022, ELEVATE organised a series of online thematic workshops, attended by coordinators and representatives from the CIVITAS projects, to explore key achievements, evolution over time, comparison across projects, and knowledge gaps in each thematic cluster. All of this knowledge was then complemented by interviews and bilateral meetings with project coordinators. Finally, the achievements identified through this process were consolidated and validated using results from ongoing ELEVATE evaluation work.

Key conclusions

Overall, CIVITAS projects have been very successful in exploring and implementing solutions that improve urban mobility all over the EU. They have contributed – and continue to contribute – to rich knowledge sharing, best practice exchange, and the creation of synergies. The use of living labs has supported projects’ implementation by helping to absorb innovations into the daily operation of cities, even beyond the end of projects.

Each thematic cluster has faced unique changes. The applicability and uptake of SUMPs as a planning standard across Europe has evolved, with more focus on inclusivity, data, funding, diversity and co-creation. Co-creation activities turned out to be avenues to further explore across thematic clusters in order to tackle the climate crisis at local level. And, technological changes are impacting all urban mobility work.

Looking ahead, projects should embrace the potential of co-creation to make the difference and initiate a mind-set shift towards a more environmentally-conscious culture. In that context, SUMPs should be further tailored to reflect the European Green Deal targets and contribute to achieving them. Across projects, partners observed that citizens often question the use, or usefulness, of technological solutions. Future projects should therefore investigate which, or at least be conscious of why, low-key and low-tech solutions might be more acceptable to the public.

CIVITAS projects leave a legacy of many tools, guides and kits for future uptake of innovative mobility measures. This rich legacy should be further shared at the local and EU levels, and insights should, for instance, feed into the development of SUMP indicators.

One of the biggest achievements of the CIVITAS projects common to all projects has been the ability to bring stakeholders together. The inclusive nature of stakeholder engagement contributed to the success of the projects. As CIVITAS celebrates its 20th anniversary, this key achievement, as well as all of the progress that CIVITAS projects have made across Europe, must be continued as CIVITAS looks forward to its next 20 years of mobility projects.


For more information, read the publication in full at: https://civitas.eu/resources/review-and-evaluation-of-the-latest-civitas-achievements.

Author: Adrienne Kotler


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