In late October, an urban mobility training session took place in Timisoara, Romania, that brought together public servants and specialists in the field. Organised by the Romanian branch of the CIVITAS National Networks, it served as an ideal opportunity to share the CIVITAS approach and discuss Romanian efforts to combat what is a hot topic in the country: traffic congestion.
Presentations were given on two of the CIVITAS research projects seeking to reduce urban road congestion, FLOW and CREATE. Pasquale Cancellara, the Dissemination Manager for both projects, focused on the data and results they had generated that were particularly applicable to the situations faced by public authorities and urban mobility specialists in Romania.
He commented that “when you remove a car lane, the public adapt. But people find it hard to believe it will happen until it does”.
Regarding the general lack of walking and cycling measures in Romanian cities, he lamented “the classic chicken and egg situation" that was prevailing. "Cities do not have enough data to prove that people cycle and walk, so they cannot show that improving cycling and walking infrastructure reduces traffic congestion”.
Despite this, he remained positive that progress would come. His concluding message was clear and somewhat defiant – “it’s about moving people, not cars”.
Following this, likely activities soon to take place in Romania as part of CIVITAS PROSPERITY, one of the three CIVITAS SUMP projects, were introduced. These include setting a SUMP national working group, which would include representatives from local planning authorities, experts, public and private companies, civil society, and the Ministry of the Regional Development. In addition, training courses will be organised for local officials on SUMP elaboration in April next year.
A presentation was also given on the first piece of dedicated Romanian cycling legislation by a Romanian NGO focusing on active mobility.
The training concluded with a site visit of the Traffic Management Control Centre of Timisoara, which opened and hosted the CIVINET Romania event.
To read more about the FLOW project, click here.
For more information on the CREATE project, click here.
To discover more about CIVITAS PROSPERITY, click here.