State of play - Sustainable Urban Mobility
EMI Knowledge and Research Agenda: Sustainable Urban Mobility
It is increasingly challenging for metropolitan areas to be sufficiently accessible in terms of transportation and mobility, especially against the backdrop of perceived negative externalities of increased mobility. At the same time accessibility and effective urban mobility is key to the economic and social vitality of cities in general. There is an evident need for a modal shift which involves measures directed at walking, cycling and the use of public transport, as well as other supportive measures (incentives). Based on existing research and the European Commission White Paper on Transport (2011) and its definition of a ‘new type of mobility’, the EMI KRA on sustainable Urban Mobility focuses on the question: To what extent/in what ways do actors in cities and urban areas stimulate a transition towards mobility based on walking and cycling, high quality public transport and (decreased use of) cleaner passenger vehicles whilst at the same time maintaining the social and economic achievements of their current mobility system?
The EMI approach: research-based, practice-led
The goal of this EMI agenda is to contribute to the European mobility debate by means of integrated, coordinated and overarching knowledge on urban mobility and based on the actual needs of European cities and metropolitan areas (i.e. demand-driven). It identifies key research questions on the ‘transition’ to more sustainable forms of urban mobility by means of identifying key implementation challenges cities face.
Practice-led: policy input from over 100 city policy documents, EMI-Polis workshop, the Eurocities Mobility Forum, URBAN Intergroup (European Parliament) and many contacts with both city practitioners and policy-makers at EU level. 20 inspiring city mobility practices from small and large cities1 (including their do’s and don’ts) and containing a specific focus on how academic research might help them.
Research-based: input from academic research articles, expert meetings with professors, academic position papers on the five main themes (see below) by leading academics, asked to focus specifically on policy practice.
Elements of the KRA Sustainable Urban Mobility
Synthesis Report on State of the Art Urban Mobility (in policy and practice and on both EU and city levels)
Research questions based on the following five themes: Urban Space & Scale, Regulation & Pricing, Lifestyle & Behaviour, ITS & Technology and Governance.
Position papers on the above-mentioned themes by five renowned academics.2
Practical guide showing 20 city practices illustrating city experiences with (the implementation of) specific sustainable mobility projects (including do’s and don’ts).
After the conclusion of this KRA (foreseen in April 2012) EMI will further strengthen its already broad network of urban stakeholders and stimulate debate on this particular issue by continuing to collect signed letters of endorsement and by various means of communication (i.e. LinkedIn discussion groups).
Focusing on current challenges
Initial conclusions from the State of the Art of Policy and Research on Urban Mobility show that cities have many good long-term visions and ambitions relating to sustainable urban mobility but do not have practical plans of how to implement these in the short-term. Research is (still) very much focused on harder measures (e.g. road pricing) and not so much linked to the specific research needs of the cities (e.g. mentality and behaviour, infrastructure of the future, new forms of mobility). To illustrate this:
Rethymnon, Greece: ´we need further research on citizen mentality and behaviour’
Zurich, Switzerland: ´we think one of the really interesting questions for future research is measuring the effectiveness of mobility management measures with regards to mobility behaviour, emission reductions and costs.´
1 Cities including Rethymnon, Hradec Kràlové, Worcestershire, as well as London, Bucharest, Copenhagen.
2 Prof. Goodwin on Lifestyle & Behaviour, Prof. Nash/Whitelegg on ‘Regulation & Pricing’, Dr. Stead on ‘governance’ , Dr. Sitavancova on ‘ITS & Technology’ and Prof. van Wee/Handy on ‘Urban Space & Scale’.