Urban traffic congestion, accidents and pollution are serious problems in Europe's cities. Therefore transport issues and mobility are of highest priority for local authorities. In 2000 the European Commission recognised the need for action and launched the CIVITAS Initiative (CIty-VITAlity-Sustainability) to help cities to achieve a more sustainable, clean and energy efficient urban transport system by implementing, demonstrating and evaluating an ambitious integrated mix of technology and policy based measures. CIVITAS I (2002-2006) has involved 19 cities clustered in 4 demonstration projects, while CIVITAS II (2005-2009) involved 17 cities in 4 demonstration projects. Like the project METEOR in CIVITAS I, the CIVITAS GUARD was a horizontal project designed to support, monitor and evaluate the CIVITAS demonstration projects, as well as to organise European dissemination.
CIVITAS-GUARD was established as the Specific Support Action for CIVITAS II to efficiently and professionally plan, realise, manage and control the following activities:
- Independent overall cross-site evaluation of the measures undertaken by the CIVITAS II cities including monitoring and analysis of the implementation process;
- Support the EC in the technical and formal monitoring of the CIVITAS II projects through the provision of specialist and independent advice;
- Development of policy recommendations on the basis of validated project results;
- Targeted Pan-European dissemination and awareness-raising.
The aim of the evaluation within CIVITAS-GUARD was to support and ensure that the evaluation within individual cities and projects was undertaken in such a way that:
- The impacts of individual or packages of measures are understood in a clear and unambiguous way with rigorous statistical interpretation where this is possible and valuable;
- Methods, approaches and outputs are coordinated and comparable across cities, so that value is added to enable coherent understandings to be developed at a European level;
- Clear and supportable messages are determined regarding the value of sustainable urban transport measures, singly and in combination, which can be actively promoted across Europe. This will be undertaken in the context of EC transport policy and will supplement findings from CIVITAS I;
- The evaluation procedure will include the assessment of results and outcomes as well as processes of planning and implementation;
- Based on the insight from the processes of implementation, interpretations and explanations will be given for success/ failure and policy recommendations will be formulated.
The different tasks and responsibilities were taken over by the partners, exploiting their competencies, knowledge and experience. The project consisted of groups of activities with strong linkages:
- Management of the involvement of the cities, by motivating and supporting them (to achieve a commitment of the cities to co-operate within the pan-European dimension of CIVITAS is crucial for the success of the CIVITAS Initiative);
- Identification and evaluation of the impact of the CIVITAS measures and applications;
- Provision of policy recommendations trough the interpretation of the results, ensuring that everybody in Europe knows about it and achieving a multiplier effect.
The whole project was quality controlled in a fully independent way. Doing so GUARD addressed the objectives of the CIVITAS Initiative and spread the knowledge about cleaner and better transport in cities throughout Europe
Key Findings from the impact evaluation:
- 17 demonstration cities across Europe implemented over 200 transport measures in 8 thematic areas.
- The number of CIVITAS Forum Network cities grew from 83 in 2005 to almost 170 at the end of 2009.
- More than EUR 200 Mio investment (EUR 50 Mio of European Commission contribution)
- Introduction /expansion of 8 car pooling systems. Over 3150 new people started to use these car pooling services that were developed within CIVITAS II.
- Car sharing was introduced in 8 cities, resulting in a total increase of the car sharing fleet of 143 (clean) vehicles.
- The clean vehicle fleet increased with 700 vehicles, mainly by introducing/converting CNG, LPG and other fuels and biodiesel.
- Construction of 60 km of new cycle lanes and around 950 additional cycle parking stands. 4 cities initiated a new cycle rental scheme (bike share), resulting in 266 rental stations and a combined availability of over 2400 rental bicycles. All in all, the modal split for cycling increased between 1% and 7%.
- Three cities organised new mobility agencies or developed integrated plans for mobility services. These initiatives have been shown to serve a crucial role in bringing new travel options to outlying areas and integrating the delivery, promotion and/or administration of these options under one roof.
- 17 different mobility plans were implemented, some at multiple employer work sites. Awareness and acceptance by the general public of mobility planning efforts was as high as 90%, because of marketing and communications campaigns that were launched in 12 different cities.
- Multiple bus priority lanes and high quality corridors were implemented, reducing bus travel times by up to 25% and resulting in significant fuel savings (up to 8%) and emission reductions (up to 70%). In some cases, bus priority measures and other bus improvements reduced the percentages of delayed public transport services by up to 32%.
- Significant usage of website and SMS information systems for public transport (with up to 1,6 Mio website visits and 45,000 SMS messages per month in just one city).
- Up to 99% satisfaction by users of integrated public transport tickets and/or smart cards. No evidence was found during CIVITAS II that this has led to a significant higher usage and revenues, but given the high acceptance will likely be a positive long term effect on ridership.
- Installation of 5,000 new or re-des
Overview of Recommendations
Within the cluster and measure reports there are many detailed findings and recommendations. However, there are five areas of recommendations which can be identified at a higher level. These are:
- Measures should be considered in the wider context of a city's policies, with a clear strategy, an understanding of the relationships between measures and the building of appropriate organisational partnerships.
- Monitoring the impact and effects of measures is important to identify potential improvements, and to provide evidence to give confidence to decision makers and others.
- Transport is a market in which individuals make decisions for themselves and others. Understanding market drivers is essential if measures are to be successful. This is more than awareness raising.
- Legislation, standards and guidelines are required in several areas relating to fuel, vehicles, competition, and the presentation of similar transport strategies and operators in a similar way across Europe.
- Cost is and will remain a major factor in any individual's transport decisions. Taxation and subsidies distort markets locally, and it is recommended that a review is undertaken so as to ensure that local actions in this area do not lead to inconsistent and unsustainable long term solutions.