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Spreading sustainable mobility across Europe through peer-to-peer exchange

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Posted on: Monday, December 14, 2020 - 11:41

During the past four years, the CIVITAS Initiative has facilitated a peer-to-peer exchange programme that has allowed 59 cities to visit 12 host cities across Europe.

The programme, which consists of work placements and study visits, is oriented in relation to the CIVITAS thematic areas. It has been a great resource for participating city representatives and the wider CIVITAS Community. The programme has consolidated and accelerated advances towards cleaner and greener urban mobility across Europe.

One example of this shift can be seen in the first programme cycle, which followed a study visit to Zagreb (Croatia) when the city of Šabac (Serbia) reinforced its commitment to developing sustainable transport by formalising its participation in the CIVITAS network and signing the official CIVITAS declaration.

By encouraging cities to exchange efficient, innovative and sustainable mobility solutions, the programme also created the conditions needed for cities to find solutions to common challenges. For example, following a visit to Reggio Emilia (Italy) in 2017, the city of Kruševac (Serbia) arranged a dissemination meeting with various city administration departments and representatives from schools and kindergartens, resulting in the replication of Reggio Emilia’s practice of having school mobility managers. By the end of the year, every kindergarten and school was asked to appoint a mobility coordinator.

More recently, in 2019, the programme saw Bristol and Cologne swap notes on the use of mobility hubs for reducing car use. Similarly, Helsinki and Tel Aviv have been working together on the development of innovation labs to drive smart city business ventures. A final example comes from a visit to the city of Cascais, where representatives from Parma were impressed by the city control room and its implementation. Parma is now in the planning phase of the development of a similar platform to monitor mobility services in real-time. These are only a few of the resulting success stories from the CIVITAS peer-to-peer exchange programme.

Additional success stories can now been read in the inaugural CIVITAS E-publication, featuring seven cities and three best practices. For the fourth learning cycle, peer-to-peer exchanges could not be organised in the traditional way, which motivated CIVITAS to collaborate with volunteering cities to re-invent ways of working and exchanging knowledge. The interactive e-publication is meant to be an inspiring and valuable steppingstone on the route towards greater sustainable urban mobility. It will allow readers to travel virtually and learn together in Aachen (Germany), Bratislava (Slovakia), Helsinki (Finland), Madrid (Spain), Rethymno (Greece), Szeged (Hungary) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). 

Recently, cities have proved themselves capable of adapting at unprecedented speed and to shouldering an even greater responsibility. Now, more than ever, cities have the opportunity to reshape urban mobility for future generations and to put the brakes on the climate emergency. The knowledge and experiences gathered in the soon to be finished programme are there to support cities in their ambitious enterprises.

The peer-to-peer learning programme has been organised under the CIVITAS Satellite Coordination and Support Action. This is concluding at the end of 2020.

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