Ljubljana, the capital of the Republic of Slovenia, is perceived as a human scale city. With approximately 280,000 residents living in 275 km2, it combines small-town friendliness and a relaxed atmosphere with all the amenities of a modern capital. It is dotted with picturesque places and fascinating corners – recently renewed pedestrian zones, riverbanks, squares and bridges for pedestrians and cyclists.
The heart of Ljubljana is the old centre from pre-Roman times against the backdrop of a medieval castle on top of a hill. The city takes pride in its beautiful bridges. Especially the Triple Bridge is a well-known icon. Home to numerous theatres, museums and galleries, Ljubljana boasts one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras in the world. The headquarters of the main national agencies and institutions, embassies, and a university with over 47,000 students are situated in the city. Ljubljana is a national and regional centre for culture, trade and science where Western and Central Europe intersect and mix with Balkan and Mediterranean influences. These century-old overlaps add to Ljubljana’s geographic, climatic and cultural diversity. Ljubljana has a key role in the economy of the country and the entire region. Almost a third of Slovenia’s trade is made in the capital and roughly a quarter of all employed people work here. As a result, more than 130,000 commuters travel to the city by car every day.
Before taking part in CIVITAS II and CIVITAS Plus projects, the quality of life in the beautiful and vibrant city centre was deteriorating as a result of the poor state of the public transport system and more and more private cars in the city’s streets. Many efforts have been undertaken afterwards to alleviate this negative trend. Positive changes are evident already now, but Ljubljana has set an even more ambitious goal for the year 2020. Modal split of one third of walking and cycling, one third of public transport and only one third of personal cars (now two thirds) should be reached then.
The city of Ljubljana is striving to improve conditions for all, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. Ljubljana is well aware that this can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue with all concerned, and a thorough understanding of citizens’ mobility needs. A giant leap forward in this context has been made in the last few years, by an intensive dialogue with stakeholders and citizens.
As part of CIVITAS ELAN, Ljubljana implemented 17 measures to tackle congestion and reduce the share of journeys made by car in favour of sustainable modes of transport. A particular focus was the provision of a competitive, fast, effective, comfortable, customer-friendly, safe and less polluting bus service and promotion of non-motorized mobility of people. Since CIVITAS ELAN kicked off in late 2008, the city replaced many old buses with buses that meet Euro5 emission standards, 5 hybrid and 20 CNG buses were purchased. Six hybrid vehicles have been provided for the city administration as well. Real-time information on bus arrivals is provided at bus stops, and cameras have been installed on buses to increase passengers’ safety. Based on satellite navigation, a public transport priority scheme reduced travel time. The introduction of a smart electronic city card created the conditions for an integrated payment system for local and regional public transport.
As part of a comprehensive plan to improve walking and urban cycling, Ljubljana has in the past few years expanded pedestrian, reduced speed zones and one-way streets to 2.129 hectares (2013). Two electric “on-demand” vehicles offer free transport in the pedestrian zone. Ljubljana also created additional Park & Ride facilities with more than 1.600 parking spaces. These efforts have been accompanied by more than 130 public awareness-raising events. Ljubljana sees its participation in CIVITAS ELAN as the coordinating city of the project, as a step on its path to becoming a more sustainable, green city that offers a high quality of life to all citizens. Being the finalist in the 2013 competition for the European Green Capital 2015 and the finalist in the 2013 Eurocities reward in »Smart living« category suggests that Ljubljana is on a right way.