Technological progress in the area of transport has brought many benefits to mankind. Thanks to road, rail and air travel, distances have shrunk and travel time has been reduced. These benefits, however, come at a price. Amongst the consequences of increased traffic are congestion on roads and at airports, increased fuel consumption as well as rising pollution and noise levels.
TRANSPOWER enables major actors in the field of urban transport, such as municipal and regional authorities, to implement concepts for environmentally friendly, resource-saving, secure and efficient urban mobility. Avoidance of traffic, switching to other modes of transport and environmentally conscious land use planning are the main strategies for sustainable urban transport. Decision makers need properly evaluated scientific information about best practices and relevant experience so that they can quickly and efficiently implement urban transport concepts.
TRANSPOWER supervises the implementation of small, manageable and tailor-made projects and concepts. By facilitating the exchange of experience and personnel TRANSPOWER will enable participating institutions to build up relevant capacities.
A key aim of TRANSPOWER was to supervise the implementation of existing concepts in the field of urban transport by using innovative approaches.
The main objectives of TRANSPOWER were:
- to create a network of cities, businesses and science;
- to provide decision-makers in cities and municipalities with information on recent urban transport problems. This will enable them to guarantee a fast and efficient implementation of new or existing sustainable urban transport concepts;
- to support an exchange of know-how between transport SMEs, research centres and policy-makers;
- to coordinate existing activities of the partners in the field of urban transport;
- to build capacity in terms of technology and manpower by exchanging experiences, presenting best practices and disseminating the results to other regions.
The project activities are organised in five technical work packages which represent the core issues in the field of urban transport in old and new Member States as well as in accession and associated countries at municipal level. They will deal exclusively with passenger traffic as cities and municipalities have steering mechanisms available only in this field.
The following activities were pursued in each work package:
Public Transport (PT)
Transpower developed models and solutions for PT that are oriented towards the local demands. These models are cost effective and affordable in investment and maintenance as well as environmentally friendly.
TRANSPOWER aimed to give an overview on the complete range of PT aspects, including technical solutions, financial models and organisational structures.
Integrated Planning (IP)
TRANSPOWER assisted municipalities in the implementation of IP. Innovative ideas and pragmatic solutions were customised to the respective local context and finally implemented.
Traffic Management (TM)
TRANSPOWER understands TM as a tool to control the operation of transport systems while being embedded in the framework of planning and strategy development. A Municipal Case Study might aim at the improvement of traffic control by traffic-actuated signal control.
Non-Motorised Transport (NMT)
TRANSPOWER developed new and innovative concepts to increase the proportion of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, enhancing security and quality of life.
Mobility Management (MM)
TRANSPOWER encouraged soft policies such as campaigns to mould mobility behaviour. Each partner had the opportunity to get acquainted with successful case studies and was supported to put them into practice. Contacts with practitioners who actually implemented the projects presented were established.
Public transport is one of the main pillars of sustainable urban transport and covers rail as well bus based systems. In Europe, a renewed interest in tramways - due to their perceived advantages in terms of emissions and services quality - can be observed. Three TRANSPOWER-cities, namely Groningen, L'Aquila and - with a long term planning perspective - Nis have taken steps to (re-) introduce tramways or are considering it.
Based on the joint efforts during the TRANSPOWER-project, the following recommendations can be summarised:
- Public transport is and will remain a key instrument for managing urban mobility with low emissions, limited resource consumption and with the objective to increase liveability in cities.
- Public transport operators and decision-makers need to realise that aging populations, urban sprawl, new forms of transport (such as e-mobility) and ever smarter vehicles are threatening the revenue base of public transport. Increased and integrated efforts are needed to protect the value of public transport in European cities and to expand it considerably.
- The European Stakeholder such as the European Commission and individual Member States shall expand their efforts to support local decision makers in protecting and expanding public transport by making financial means available and supporting legal amendments.
- Increased efforts should be made to support planners, operators and decision makers in enhancing public transport by providing forums for exchanges and knowledge transfer.
- Under-researched and under-developed fields in public transport such as fare integration, integration with other modes, integration with urban logistics and urban public transport institutional reform need to be tackled more broadly.
The essence is that without investment in public transport systems cities will seriously lose competitiveness in a 21st century economic environment. On the other hand, an extended public transport system will boost the quality of living in cities, realise important benefits in quality of environment and reduce carbon emissions and thereby and additionally increase its economic attractiveness. Foreign direct investment will raise and enable sustainable growth and prosperity.