CIVITAS MODERN and CIVITAS VANGUARD have organised a successful workshop on social inclusion where inspiring case studies and innovative approaches were the leading threads.
Increasing cleaner and better transport in cities means also dealing with social inclusion. For this reason, CIVITAS MODERN and CIVITAS VANGUARD organised the 8th CIVITAS training and the 3rd in the Mobility Management strand, on 22-23 March in Coimbra. The goal was to shed light on the importance of social inclusion not only within the CIVITAS Initiative but for all the stakeholders interested in developing sustainable transport solutions. The event attracted more than 50 participants from all over Europe. Urban Mobility systems are often presented as being harmonious, inclusive, environmentally friendly, and so on. Nonetheless, the reality is different. Passengers with reduced mobility need appropriate vehicles, infrastructures, and most importantly rights. Transport needs to be accessible, available, and acceptable to all transport users. Therefore, although provision of transport alone cannot solve the complex pattern of circumstances that lead to social exclusion, transports are vital tools in ensuring that people are connected to the opportunities life has to offer: transport has a key role to play in tackling social exclusion by providing people with the means to get their jobs, services and social networks everyone is entitled to. The workshop aimed to give cities a better view on how they can tackle the barriers of social exclusion by looking at availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability of mobility services. The training event moderated by Robert Stüssi included a balanced mix of theory, practical tools, and exercises designed to provide urban transport professionals with new ideas and solutions that could be applied to individual initiatives. The first day dealt with: A theoretical background on social inclusion, addressing existing factors of exclusion (physical, geographical, economic, time-based, fear-based), possible target groups and their specific needs; A presentation of several inspiring case studies from across Europe by the ISEMOA, AENEAS, and TOGETHER projects; Showcases of measures related to social inclusion from CIVITAS ELAN and CIVITAS RENAISSANCE: experiences from Perugia, Zagreb, Brno and Ljubljana. The second day focused on: Showing several important aspects of evaluation criteria for social inclusion measures; Training participants with a group exercise on local challenges: Every group tried to set up a plan for implementing a measure on social inclusion for different local challenges. Experiencing the good practice of social inclusion in public transport in Coimbra: Participants rode on the electric minibus through the historic centre of the city, following the historical Blue Line. The service is free of charge for local residents, which are predominately elderly and socially marginalised and buses are tailored to the needs of passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility. Moreover, an NGO (TGEU) representing transgender persons brought an interesting position trhough 45 case studies collected in a statement concerning their experiences in the use of sustainable modes of transport. More work needs to be done toward Social Inclusion, but this was as a great example of the efforts we all need to do to achieve this important goal (for further information about TGEU's statement please click here). You will find a deeper focus on the training workshop on the next MODERN e-newletter, available from the end of April.