Home » Baltic Sea Region Mobility Summit 2020, September 8 – 10, 2020
Throughout three days of the “BSR Mobility Summit 2020” over 250 attendees of the online event got a wide perspective of how different cities develop sustainable mobility solutions to change transport user habits and make urban areas sustainable and liveable. The unique feature of the summit was the combined effort of the “cities.multimodal”, “SUMBA” and “BSR electric” projects funded by the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020.
Projects shared their experience in implementing multimodal mobility, using, managing, and augmenting existing transport infrastructure and electrifying transport to avoid disastrous climate change and make cities more liveable. In addition, the summit featured examples from various municipalities outside the three project consortia about successful projects and citizen involvement. Overall, presentations stressed the importance of the multiple benefits of sustainable mobility, being resource and space efficiency, a decrease of the transport-related emissions, and impact on climate change, as well as social inclusion and accessibility and the quality of life. Correspondingly, sustainable mobility initiatives should stress and communicate these benefits and let users experience them early in the process.
Partners of the “BSR Electric” project presented seven use cases in different fields of e-mobility, including city logistics (e-vans, e-trucks, e-bikes), shared bikes, electric buses, e-ferries, as well as the study on the state of e-mobility and roadmap for e-mobility development in the Baltic Sea Region, as well as developed e-learning modules.
Partners from the “cities.multimodal” project presented such a project’s activities and results in fostering multimodal commuting in the urban environment as mobility points, development of sustainable urban mobility plans, collaboration with schools, and kindergartens, creating multimodal pilot areas, and applying innovative community involvement practices.
Partners from the “SUMBA” project shared their insights on the successful implementation of transport modelling in cities and innovative ways to collect mobility data, the Intermodalizer tool to assess the state of urban mobility across a range of dimensions as well as commuting master plans to promote sustainable mobility in and between urban and peri-urban areas.
The summit featured three practical workshops on the Intermodelizer tool, transport modelling, and data in cities, as well as taking strong measures from planning to practice. The main conclusions from the workshops concerning positive sustainable mobility actions include:
All three projects talked about their contribution to Riga. When asked, if there is one thing Riga could improve in terms of urban mobility, participants mentioned biking network and cycling paths, public transport, and more opportunities to move by foot and bicycle. Riga has great development plans and ambitions but needs to work on the actual implementation.
The last part of the summit “Urban mobility heading towards the future” included high-profile presentations on the European Green Deal from European Commission and on EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The central ideas that were displayed in this session, were that transport and mobility are crucial to strengthening the resilience of the Baltic Sea Region and EU. Furthermore, one of the main mobility goals after the COVID-19 outbreak is to stay safe and sustainable. Also, an insight of the development of the EUSBSR Policy Area “Transport Action Plan” was given, emphasizing connectivity, climate-neutral transport, and innovative technologies and solutions in the Baltic Sea Region.
Perspective from Bremen was given, that the COVID-19 crisis has changed the mobility habits of citizens and has provided both opportunities and challenges for sustainable mobility. Further, inspiring examples from Vilnius of how to become a sustainable city step by step were given – in recent years, Vilnius has significantly improved its transport infrastructure and accessibility, making it more attractive to cyclists and improving the quality of public transport.
Also, an insightful presentation about citizen involvement, particularly in Antwerp and Ghent was presented. In most cases, negative comments about new ideas will be made louder at the beginning, and only later positive findings will follow. It was concluded that public involvement gives a multidisciplinary perspective and provides a chance to use financial resources more efficiently.
A very interesting discussion ensued about different city experiences of approaching sustainable mobility and public involvement. Gaining insights that the challenges of the COVID-19 must be solved immediately, and the opportunities must be taken, paying close attention to increasing the demand for public transport.
To implement bigger sustainable visions, we need to:
For easier pilot project implementation, it is important to involve decision-makers and potential users at an early stage, there is a need for flexible “templates” and business cases. To easier turn pilot projects into everyday products and services and to raise loyal end users, it is important to design what people use, involve businesses in the pilot projects, as well as municipalities, need to build projects around their daily operations. There is a need to educate the public about the importance and value of these pilot projects in a particular place and context, thus encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunities offered.
Humans are unable to adequately react to a crisis that approaches very slowly, but they can react to an acute crisis such as Covid-19 (public health, prevent the total collapse of the economy). Governments and parliaments can deliver in a few days what sometimes takes years. “Crisis is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” (R. Emanuel).
The summit also featured attractive video-tours on e-scooters in Riga cemeteries and hospitals, bicycle library in Vaxjö, as well as mobility points in the Baltic Sea Region cities.
Here are some takeaways from the summit:
All presentations and videos are available here:http://www.mobilitysummit2020.eu/presentations/
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