NICHES+ builds on the successful first NICHES project, which coordinated research on seamless mobility services, innovative approaches in city logistics,new non-polluting and energy-efficient vehicles and innovative demand management strategies. Throughout the NICHES project, it became clear that a range of other innovative themes have the potential to become crucial for sustainable urban transport. The project also identified a significant need for further guiding local authorities in actually integrating and implementing such innovative concepts in their urban transport policies.
NICHES+ explored innovative urban transport concepts, which are high on the European and local agenda, while also looking into the needs of its potential users and implementers, i.e. concepts to increase accessibility to urban mobility options; concepts to increase the use and efficiency of infrastructure and interchanges; concepts to exploit functionalities of urban traffic management centres; concepts for automated and space-efficient transport. These topics add to the work started under NICHES, which already examined a set of innovative concepts and successfully promoted them. NICHES+ collected information and encourage networking by gathering urban transport experts in Working Group meetings. Selected concepts were looked at in terms of their transferability to ensure wider replication. The project developed policy notes for decision makers, implementation scenarios for selected cities and site visit programmes to promote the concepts.
Recommendations for further research on urban transport innovation were formulated. The project worked directly with cities, developing implementation scenarios for integrating innovative concepts in urban policies and move from the development of innovative mobility solutions to practical implementation. The added value of funding NICHES+, which can build on the basis of its predecessor project NICHES, is that a substantial coordination platform for innovative urban transport will continue to expand. Synergies between the two projects will help to achieve results in a very efficient way.
The NICHES+ consortium selected four new themes, each with three innovative urban transport concepts. For each of the themes, a Working Group of experts has been set up to facilitate networking activities and provide expertise:
- WG1 - Innovative concepts to enhance accessibility, including travel training for public transport, neighbourhood accessibility planning, tailored traveller information for users with reduced mobility Source: Rupprecht Consult
- WG2 - Concepts for efficient planning and use of infrastructure and interchanges, including passenger friendly intermodal interchanges, innovative cycling facilities for intermodal interchanges and infrastructure for innovative bus systems
- WG3 - Urban traffic management centres, including finance models for traffic management centres, mobile travel information services for the public and use of environmental pollution data in traffic management
- WG4 - Automated and space efficient transport systems,including Cybernetic Transport Systems (CTS), Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and Advanced City Vehicles.
Within the project 12 innovative concepts were developed and guidelines for implementation were published:
Travel training for public transport
Travel training aims at enabling passengers to make independent use of public transport without fears or concerns. The principal target groups are older people, people with disabilities or learning difficulties, and school children. For each target group a tailored approach has been developed; short training courses for older people, individual training courses for young people with special needs and playful travel training for school children.
Neighbourhood accessibility planning (NAP)
NAP aims at improving local conditions for walking and cycling as well as facilitating safe access to local facilities (e.g. schools, shops) and public transport services. New mobility forms such as inline-skating and local demands towards the public transport network can also be considered. NAP follows a participatory process with the local community to identify main issues to be addressed. A priority list of actions is drafted to enhance the accessibility on a neighbourhood scale (e.g. engineering, education, marketing, encouragement, enforcement, environmental and policy initiatives). The special needs of more vulnerable groups such as the disabled, older people and children are particularly taken into account.
Tailored traveller information for users with reduced mobility
This concept benefits all passengers, as it offers information that is relevant for a high number of users. The target group are people with reduced mobility due to a physical or mental disability, impaired sight or hearing, or when travelling with children or luggage. Solutions range from simple static information to sophisticated systems with barrier free routing information.
Passenger friendly intermodal interchanges
A well-designed passenger friendly interchange should bring certain benefits, like functionality, increased safety, higher capacity, increased passenger satisfaction, and attractiveness to people. Specific features include user-friendly ticketing systems, advanced traveller information systems and broad functionality supported design.
Innovative cycling facilities for intermodal interchanges
Bicycles are a promising alternative to the car as feeder transport to interchanges, if they can be parked safely and securely. Combined use of cycling and public transport (PT) is one of the best alternative solut
Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour:
- Integrated urban mobility
- Promoting more sustainable development