In recent years, increased private mobility in metropolitan areas has caused a rapid and wide decrease in the quality of urban environment. The reduction of transport-related negative externalities encompassing mainly congestion, poor air quality and excessive noise levels, as well as growing energy consumption is a clear challenge facing European authorities at all levels.
The MIRACLES project was part of the European Commission’s CIVITAS Initiative, and consisted of a wide range of integrated, innovative and sustainable urban transport measures. CIVITAS I involved 19 cities throughout Europe, each working in one of four projects (MIRACLES, TELLUS, TRENDSETTER and VIVALDI).
The MIRACLES project’s four strategic objectives were:
- reduction of transport-related environmental impacts at local level;
- increased urban accessibility;
- enhanced economic efficiency through better transport management;
- overall improvement of citizens’ quality of life.
These goals led to the following specific objectives and targets reflecting the specific measures adopted:
- Significant reduction in transport-related emissions:
- - Link urban transport pricing to environmental vehicle performance;
- - Ensure substantial air quality improvement in Laboratory area;
- - Identify high emitting vehicles and target for enforcement.
- Significant reduction in congestion:
- - Improve the co-ordination of urban goods delivery service;
- - Rationalise road space use via road pricing schemes for passenger mobility;
- - Rationalise road space use via parking reservation systems for goods delivery.
- Demonstration and uptake of clean transport vehicles:
- - Demonstration and uptake of state-of-the-art clean transport vehicles, Euro IV standard;
- - Uptake of targeted clean vehicles (esp. buses, e-scooters and vans), Euro III and IV standard;
- - Widen business exposure to clean vehicle technology and develop the market.
- Modal shift for trips having their origin or destination in the clean area:
- - Improve mode share of bus, cycling and walking through an integrated policy package;
- - Manage mobility demand through the application of new ITS technology and through education, consultation and stakeholder involvement;
- - Resulting from application of access control and road pricing scheme to Clean Area and provision of attractive alternatives.
- Added-value integrated services:
- - Personalised real-time access to multi-modal traveller information;
- - Management of mobility demand through the application of new ITS technology and through education, consultation and stakeholder involvement.
The MIRACLES project involved the four cities of Winchester, Rome, Barcelona and Cork, supported by many other local partners including local authorities, public transport operators, transport organisations, academic institutions and consultants.
To achieve its objectives according to CIVITAS call for tender, the MIRACLES sites designed a common, integrated urban scheme for policy strategies based on the CIVITAS measures. (These measures were applied in a co-ordinated manner allowing the impacts of individual measures, clustered measures and the complete horizontal integrated package to be identified according to the site specific implementation plans).
All the work carried out within MIRACLES was designed to reduce the impact of vehicles in urban areas. To achieve this aim work was grouped into eight main themes. These were:
- reduction of high-polluting vehicles;
- sustainable parking policies;
- improvements to public transport;
- promotion of cycling;
- improving freight efficiency;
- promotion of sustainable travel;
- travel information systems;
- reducing the impact of public and private fleets.
A crucial task of the entire project was the evaluation of measures implemented.
The MIRACLES evaluation methodology was developed considering that each of the four participating cities were very different in character, scale and degree of sustainable development and initially a ‘bottom-up’ approach in choosing the impacts and indicators to be measured was used. This bottom-up approach was based upon MAESTRO and CONVERGE evaluation guidelines. In parallel, guidance from METEOR (a horizontal EC-funded project with the objective of evaluating all CIVITAS cities) led to the top-down infusion of METEOR core indicators into the evaluation plans. Evaluation results were reported at two levels: the measure-level and the city-level. A common template was developed for each level with their structure and content based on discussions between METEOR and the CIVITAS Projects. The templates ensured both a common reporting format and that all evaluation relevant information was reported and disseminated in a concise manner. The approach also permitted to better interpret and formulate key findings of each measure, and enabled a series of ‘headline results’ an
MIRACLES have implemented the following measures grouped according to the CIVITAS policy fields:
- Clean Public and Private Fleets;
- Collective Passenger Transport;
- Integrated Pricing Strategies;
- Innovative Soft Measures;
- Access Restriction;
- New Forms of Vehicle Use and Ownership;
- New Concepts for the Distribution of Goods;
- Integration of Transport Management Systems.
For the results of a specific measure we recommend to see the Final report of the project. In this section the global impacts at city level of the measures implemented are reported.
In general, it was difficult to draw unequivocal conclusions because of the large number of MIRACLES measures and their different grades of implementation. In Rome, the objective was to assess operating / maintenance costs of the MIRACLES measures per capita, and a value of just less than 1 Euro per inhabitant was estimated. For many measures, the benefits increased as the scale of implementation grew. This was especially so for administrators who can save resources and increase incomes by enlarging the small-scale MIRACLES implementations. Conversely, the value of 1 Euro per person may represent a limit for the feasibility of further measures: any intervention more expensive than this could be assumed to be affordable only if it achieved added value.
In Winchester, there was no evidence that the MIRACLES measures influenced the number of employees or accommodation bookings, although bus company revenues did increase. This was partly attributable to the MIRACLES improvements made to the quality and information of the services, but an increase in fare raises, frequency (of one service) and lower maintenance costs were also partly responsible.
In Barcelona, patronage of the tramway doubled during the first 18 months of operation. In addition, the supermarket operator’s investment in quieter vehicles and unloading methods achieved operational savings estimated to lead to an investment return within three years. Regarding the access restriction measure, it was considered that ANPR technology (if fully implemented) can reduce the maintenance costs associated with the traditional bollard technology.
In Cork, it was considered that the MIRACLES measures definitely aid
Managing mobility demand in cities requires an integrated set of strategies, many of which are common to all cities. Despite the difference between the MIRACLES cities, issues of congestion and also the solutions adopted have shown commonalities.
There have been drivers and barriers while pursuing the CIVITAS targets and policy can either facilitate, slow down the process, or even become a barrier. But only policy can guarantee the financial support.
Political commitment must be strongly guaranteed as well as continuity in the commitment towards the initial targets. The measures concerned with the CIVITAS initiative have an impact on the population of cities (politicians must believe and support Sustainable Mobility, both with formal acts and with facts). Political commitment can act as a barrier: policy has got its own timings. Often the formal compliance with statutory procedures requires more time then expected and can cause mismatching with the project Gantt (CIVITAS aims to implement rather than trial, and this means more formal procedures). Thus a risk management strategy is necessary, but in some cases there are issues that are outside a project manager’s control.
The contractual constraints imposed by the CIVITAS project have proven to be a driver (in some cases it has contributed speeding up some processes).
Another important issue is consensus. A local administrator would not act against the public consensus. Thus, once citizens must trust and support the politician’s, policy has to guarantee continuity in pursuing objectives, despite some initial “disappointment”.
In general physical barriers were not well accepted, and this is common to all the cities. Nevertheless satisfaction levels have increased after the implementations were completed and people could take advantage of a better environment.
For Cork the experience of other Civitas cities was helpful in anticipating and preventing some problems.
Policy must help creating Public Private Partnerships (PPP) these help improving the quality of the services provided (for example in Winchester the BQP - Bus Quality Partnership - brought together the key stakeholders of the local bus company and the local authorities. This has shown that passenger growth is linked to the extent of the BQP).
The “Push and Pull” strategy has been pursued and actually was an objective of the policy