Home » Meeting the Follower Cities Network of GreenSAM
The challenge of below-average uptake of green urban mobility offers among senior citizens targeted by GreenSAM concerns almost all cities in the Baltic Sea Region and becomes even more important in the context of ageing societies throughout Europe. This transnational relevance is also mirrored by the interest in the results of GreenSAM by the seven official Follower Cities. The Follower Cities Network includes cities in the Baltic Sea Region that are facing similar challenges at the crossroads of green urban mobility and ageing societies as the partner cities of GreenSAM: Gdynia, Gothenburg, Oslo, St. Petersburg, Tampere, Växjö and Vilnius.
The Follower Cities complement the partnership with insight into cities and countries not covered by the partners and they can become first adopters for the tools and model solutions developed by GreenSAM. The exchange between the GreenSAM partners and the follower cities brings new perspectives into the project discussions, ignites mutual inspiration and ensures that the developed solutions are transnationally relevant. Especially the fresh view on the results of GreenSAM from cities that were not involved in the development process is helpful for the further development.
During the fourth partner meeting that was held as a virtual meeting in April 2020, the project partners and representatives of the follower cities shared their views on green mobility for senior citizens and tested the GreenSAM Atlas and Toolbox together.
Gdynia, a port city located in the north of Poland by the Baltic Sea, provides environmentally friendly transport for seniors via minibuses. The drivers are trained to deal with senior citizens and the buses are barrier-free. The city is also committed to green mobility in various other projects: A cycling school for seniors and campaigns to promote bike riding like “Bicycle May”. In order to sensitise the local population to these mobility issues, Gdynia is organising numerous participation formats such as research walks, sentimental maps and focus groups with seniors to discuss public spaces and being mobile and active in the city.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is already known for its activities in age-friendly urban development. The “Action Plan for an Age-friendly City” was adopted in city council in 2017 and was the result of numerous participatory activities like conferences, interviews and digital trainings. As a consequence of the Action Plan, age-friendly measures are a priority in the city budget. To solve the most frequently mentioned problem of entering and leaving public transport and getting to the stops a pilot project was initiated. The newly introduced “pink busses” that run on biogas are a transport system that suits elderly people: a door to door on-demand mobility service that is bookable via call or using an app. 86% of the users are satisfied with this service that not only functions as a mobility service but also as a social meeting point as the passengers are pooled on the routes.
Växjö is a strong regional centre in the middle of the south of Sweden. The “Greenest City in Europe” is renowned for its environmental and climate work together with a population growth rate that is comparable to Sweden’s major cities and was the winner of European Commission’s European Green Leaf Award 2018. The city aims to cover 47% of personal travel by foot, bicycle or public transport by 2030. To achieve this goal, the cycling strategy is in place in order to make routes faster, easier and safer. Furthermore, a bicycle library project enables private individuals to try out different types of bikes for three weeks, including e-bikes or tricycles for seniors. The city is also working on cooperation with senior organizations about active mobility and traffic safety.
Vilnius, a city situated in the east of Lithuania, follows the development of a sustainable urban mobility plan. This plan includes age-friendly measures such as the renewal of the public transport fleet to ensure barrier-free transport. Senior citizens will also benefit from discounts, special seats in buses and a marketing campaign that promotes consideration for older people in public transport.
The Green mobility partnership initiative in St. Petersburg was established in 2015. The partnership promotes green mobility amongst others with the aim of creating more spaces for age-friendly public transport and discounts for senior residents in public transport. To scope the status-quo concerning satisfaction with green mobility an online survey was conducted with detailed findings on the replies of those over 65.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city and is located at the Baltic coast in the southwest of Sweden. The most important age-friendly initiative in Gothenburg is the senior card which allows free use of the public transport. The initiative has reduced the car use by 24 to 35%. Furthermore, there are age-friendly minibuses called “Flexlinjen”. The service also works as a social meeting point for seniors to go grocery shopping together. To further promote age-friendly green mobility, the city is working on an action plan for developing an age-friendly Gothenburg. 30 senior citizens take part in the co-creation of this plan as a permanent advisory institution.
Tampere is the third largest city in Finland. The cities focal point is smart mobility. Since several years, the city aims to be a top Smart Mobility testing platform in Europe. Therefore the fields of action are utilizing real time traffic data, open data, positioning, robotics and building a 5G mobile network. Tampere also takes care of its silver agers: “TampereSenior – The ageing society as an opportunity” programme seeks an operational model for an active life and healthy ageing in the City of Tampere and the Tampere Region working together with senior citizens and partners. The programme seeks new approaches which help old people to be active members of the society and policy-making. To improve the mobility situation of silver agers, there are already service buses that serve aged persons and people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.
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