Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Sustainable Urban Transport for the Europe of Tomorrow

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

SMILE is part of the group of CIVITAS integrated projects dealing with transport measures to improve the urban environment. It is one of four projects in CIVITAS II (2005-2009).

With CIVITAS (CIty-VITAlity-Sustainability), the European Commission aims to generate a decisive breakthrough by supporting and evaluating the implementation of ambitious integrated sustainable urban transport strategies that should make a real difference for the welfare of European citizens.


The objectives of Civitas SMILE were improved urban air quality, creation of a sustainable, safe and flexible traffic system that improves the quality of life in two leading cities, Malmö (Sweden) and Norwich (UK), and in three follower sites, Tallinn (Estonia), Suceava (Romania) and Potenza (Italy).

It aimed to cut the current trend of increased use and ownership of cars, promote sustainable alternatives and stimulate efficient and clean city distribution of goods. Civitas SMILE cities typify the urban policy issues facing the many historic medium sized cities in the European Union and in Accession Countries, giving a level of transferability.

SMILE contained 20 demonstration measures, which aimed to directly lower the hazardous emissions from city traffic. In the long run it should create a modal shift towards public transport, cycling and car-sharing.

The project developed and implemented an advanced training model to exchange know-how between Malmö and Tallinn. The results aimed to have wide transferability in Europe, with particular focus on the new Member State cities. It demonstrated how small and medium sized European cities reach EU-objectives and the Kyoto treaty through an intelligent sustainable city traffic based on intermodality.


The strategy was to combine a set of measures to develop intelligent, sustainable and intermodal city traffic that makes it possible to live an active life independently of use and ownership of private cars. The measures followed the policies of the Civitas programme.

The aims of the measures were to:

  • stimulate biofuels and clean vehicles through technical and policy measures, focusing on both cars and heavy vehicles;
  • improve the efficiency in city distribution through transport management and new logistic solutions;
  • stimulate public transport, car-sharing, cycling through improved intermodality between these transport modes, i.e.priority systems, advanced information technology/new services and security in public transport, improved interchanges between public transport/cycling and introduction of car-pools;
  • develop sustainable travel behaviours through a wide scale mobility management and educational scheme directedto citizens, companies and the municipal organisation.

Specific measures in Civitas SMILE were:

  • clean Municipal Fleet
  • biogas on the net
  • clean heavy vehicles with CO2 cooler
  • environmentally adapted cars
  • extended environmental zone for heavy goods vehicles and enforcement
  • marketing of clean vehicles through subsidised parking
  • marketing of a new bus route system
  • improved safety and security on buses
  • integration of cycling with public transport
  • freight driver support
  • satellite based traffic management for SMEs
  • sustainable SME logistics for the food industry
  • mobility management
  • traffic monitoring
  • mobile internet service with bus information
  • internet tool for traffic planning
  • bus priority system
  • Eco-driving
  • heavy goods vehicle eco-driving
  • alternative fuel vehicle fleets
  • introduction of a low emission zone
  • introduction of time controlled access restrictions
  • influencing the choice of vehicle towards smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles
  • rail station interchange
  • on-street ticket vending machines
  • linking individual passenger transport information with healthcare appointments
  • development of a city centre car sharing club
  • development of


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The analyses of the measures individually, within the city contexts and by work package, have confirmed both the impacts of the individual measures but also the variations and linkages across the wide range of measures that have been implemented in the partner cities.

  • Significant, quantified impacts have been identified within the project duration for many of the measures particularly in work packages 5 (clean vehicles), 6 (access restrictions), and 11 (Soft Measures).
  • The measures in work package 7 have also been shown to have a quantifiable potential, but over a longer time period due to the nature of the measures in influencing the gradual replacement of the overall private vehicle fleet.
  • The small scale of intervention, the diffuse / indirect nature of the impacts and the different characteristics of the three measures in work package 9 (new forms of vehicle ownership) have made it difficult to draw consistent conclusions about this type of measure, although they do show promise.
  • The measures in work packages 8 (public transport) and 12 (telematics) have generally been found to be supporting measures for which isolating a direct quantifiable impact within the broader context of a city's transport system is difficult. However, public surveys have shown these measures to be well received and to contribute to modal change, although in isolation or at a limited scale their impact would not on their own be enough to produce a noticeable effect at the city or possibly even route level.
  • Finally the measures in work package 10 (freight) have proved to be the most disappointing, with only marginal impacts being observed for one or two measures.

Technical Implications

The disappointing results from the freight measures highlight a particular issue that needed to be considered. CIVITAS and other projects often try to isolate measures within the city context, and there is often talk of urban freight initiatives and city freight schemes. However, this ignores the fact that the current economic system means that freight transport needs to be considered at a level that is broader than the individual urban level. Decisions that govern the movement of freight in our cities are often taken in locations far from that city, possibly in other countries. Similarly the vehicles that conduct the transport are often based at depots far from the urban area where land and labour is cheaper. This existing framework cannot be ignored even for urban freight consolidation schemes, which would introduce a break in the chain at the urban boundary, because that break in the chain cannot be a discontinuity that affects the economic effectiveness of the distribution operation.

Policy implications

Political backing has been shown to be a key success factor in delivering the innovative sustainable transport measures within SMILE. Without such backing it can be difficult to mobilise the effort, co-operation or budget necessary to break from the norm. Broader regulation and targets are also important, as they can influence the way a measure can be implemented. The influence of regulations, sometimes in seemingly unrelated areas, can have an impact.

Throughout these recommendations it is important to remember that mobility is a derived activity; travel is something that people do in order to reach some other objective, even if it is merely going for a walk or a drive, then they do so in order to gain satisfaction and pleasure of to derive a health benefit from the activity. Because of this, issues around transport are affected by other aspects. For example, economic cycles and other policy decisions as well as personal preferences  and personal financial considerations all combine to influence overall levels of transport demand, the degree to which this demand can be met, the distances that need to be travelled and the choices over mode used and whether a journey is actually made. This all means that transport policy cannot be viewed in isolation from other aspects of public policy, as has been noted earlier in this report and is reflected in the links with for example, land use policy development within the SMILE cities.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!