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Advancing Sustainable Transport in Urban Areas To Promote Energy Efficiency

European Union
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Active mobility


Background & Policy context

Increasing the percentage of travel undertaken by walking or cycling is a clear way to reduce CO2 emissions. Walking and cycling are also the most sustainable and healthy forms of transport. However, municipalities, employers and civic groups find it hard to coordinate their actions in order to deliver an integrated network of sustainable travel options.


The principal objective of the ASTUTE project is to overcome the organisational barriers that prevent an increase in the use of walking and cycling as viable methods of transport in the urban environment. By the use of 'soft measures' and intelligent interventions such as education, training and publicity, ASTUTE aims to facilitate change through a variety of policy and decision-making systems across Europe, in both the public and private sectors.

Specific objectives of the project are:

  • to identify and understand the different barriers to extending walking and cycling in different European urban areas by involving stakeholders;
  • to develop, test and publish a 'toolkit' of actions to overcome the identified barriers based on an analysis of the barriers;
  • to test the transferability of the 'toolkit' by carrying out the recommendations in a variety of European cities, engaging local stakeholder, and comparing results as between different cities, systems and structures;
  • to publish the revised 'toolkit' by way of multi-lingual DVD.

Working in six European Cities - Budapest, Dublin, Granada, Graz, London and Siracusa - and focusing on behavioural change through the use of 'soft measures' (education, training and publicity), ASTUTE will overcome the organisational barriers that prevent an increase in walking and cycling. This will be achieved across policy and decision-making systems and through the provision and use of practical solutions in both the public and private sectors. In addition, measures will be piloted in the private sector through Workplace Travel Plans.

The ASTUTE project lifecycle is divided into three main phases, scheduling project work and outcomes within defined timeframes. The three main phases of the ASTUTE project and associated project outcomes are as follows:

  • Feb - 06 to Nov - 06:
    • Define and understand the barriers to extending walking and cycling; 
    • Identify good practice solutions;
    • Develop and draft the ASTUTE toolkit of actions to overcome identified barriers.
  • Dec - 06 to Jun - 08:
    • Test the transferability of the ASTUTE toolkit within municipalities and employers (develop Work Based Travel Plans) and compare results.
  • Jun - 08 to Jan - 09:
    • Review and revise the ASTUTE toolkit;
    • Disseminate via DVD in 10 EU Member States.


Parent Programmes
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The ASTUTE project has:

  • Identified the 10 barriers to walking & cycling, as follows:
  1. Safety and Security Concerns: The perceived or actual danger encountered whilst cycling or walking and the security relating to storage of associated equipment;
  2. Inadequate Information: Lack of information and communication regarding walking and cycling routes and the location of facilities. Ineffectiveness of promotional campaigns;
  3. Inadequate Urban Environment and Design: Challenging topography, climate and appearance of the urban area;
  4. Lack of Infrastructure and Support: Insufficient provision and maintenance of cycle lanes, walking paths, cycle parking and inter-changes with other transport modes;
  5. Poor Public Perception and Lack of Awareness: Walking and cycling not considered a viable transport mode as habits, lack of public interest and cultural barriers not successfully challenged;
  6. Accessibility and Health Issues: Absent walking and cycling facilities make modes inaccessible whilst insufficient fitness or mobility excludes some of the public;
  7. Lack of Public Sector Support: Cycling and walking initiatives and city wide coordination not successfully implemented due to low priority from politicians;
  8. Lack of Private Sector Support: Organisations lack awareness of benefits of Mobility Plans (Travel Plans) and so resources are not made available: Inadequate facilities for staff;
  9. Congestion and Air Pollution: Air pollution makes journeys uncomfortable and unhealthy for pedestrians and cyclists. Reduced accessibility for businesses due to congestion;
  10. Lack of Education and Training: Low level of cycling proficiency, cycle maintenance and road safety skills.
  • Developed the ASTUTE Toolkit of best practice to overcome them;
  • Used the methodology to implement actions in municipalities and workplaces including:
    • Bike training for children
    • Innovative walking maps
    • New awareness-raising techniques
    • Events and competitions
  • Trained 5 ASTUTE Agents to disseminate the mobility management best practice in New Member States;
  • Set up dozens of new Travel Plans (Mobility Plans) for organisations and reduced Co2 emissions accordingly.

Policy implications

ASTUTE aimed to identify, understand and overcome the barriers that prevent increasing the use of sustainable, environmentally friendly and energy efficient modes of transport such as walking or cycling throughout Europe. The partners have overcome these barriers with the use of the ASTUTE Toolkit available at It comprises over 100 Best Practice examples from across Europe of how public and private sector organisations have effectively increased walking and cycling.

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