Better urban transport is essential for Europe's citizens, the vast majority of whom live in urban areas. Traffic congestion is responsible for more than 10% of all CO2 emissions in the European Union. Private and commercial vehicles are responsible for 98% of the energy consumed in the urban transport sector. The risks of uncontrolled traffic growth and worsening living conditions emphasise the need for radical change based on an integrated approach which requires a combination of technology and policy based measures.
The VIVALDI Project was developed in response to the Growth 2001 call for proposals. It addresses the objectives KA2.1.3/8 'Increasing the urban transport systems sustainability and efficiency through radical strategies for Clean Urban Transport' (CIVITAS). It also jointly addresses the objectives of the ENERGIE5-T1 call for proposals, targeted action D 'Rational use of Energy-Clean Urban Transport'.
Urban transport policy within the VIVALDI project sites is driven by four main policy goals:
- Economic vitality and success of the city - thus the transport strategy for the city needs to ensure the efficient movement of both people and goods to support the economic functioning of the city;
- Social inclusion of all groups in society - it is necessary to ensure that all groups of society have equal access to employment, training facilities, retail outlets and leisure facilities;
- Health and well being of the citizens - the transport system should promote the health and personal security of the citizens;
- Sustainability - the transport activities of the city need to contribute to a more sustainable environment through efficient use of resources and minimal environmental impact.
Each of the main demonstration sites will implement and evaluate an integrated package of innovative transport measures addressing several of the CIVITAS policy fields. In addition an Eastern European site will carry out demonstration within the field of collective modes and assess the potential transferability of the other demonstration elements to an Eastern European context.
The results for each demonstration sites (Aalborg, Bremen, Bristol, Kaunas, Nantes) are grouped according to the CIVITAS policy fields, which are:
- Clean public and private vehicle fleets using ‘alternative fuels’ (CVF);
- Stimulation of collective passenger transport and improved quality of service (CPT);
- Demand management and revenue-raising strategies based upon integrated pricing (IP);
- Measures for managing mobility demand, walking and cycling and integrated planning (SM);
- Access management to inner city and sensitive zones (AR);
- New forms of vehicle use and ownership, and less car-intensive lifestyles (LCL);
- New concepts for the distribution of goods (UGT);
- Transport management systems and related information services (TM).
1) Ålborg (DK).
- Car sharing.
The service provides 11 cars and a 7 car sharing sites. The system allows members to book a car via the Internet or telephone and it is easy to get information about and create membership of the scheme. Each member has their own smart card and PIN, making it easy to use the cars once they have booked. The system records the distance and charges that are sent out with the member’s bill, and members can at all times see how much time is left on their booking and what the mileage is.
As a result of the car sharing initiative, the total fuel use for transport in Aalborg has reduced by approximately 1%. By selecting environmentally friendly cars, specific energy consumption level have been kept at 2.4 MJ/km (the average for the private vehicle fleet in Aalborg is 3.1 MJ/km). As a marketing strategy, from October to December 2005, users of a monthly public transport travel card could join the car sharing scheme for a reduced cost. From this marketing initiative, 30% more potential car owners have joined the scheme and hence postponed the purchase of a car.
- Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI).
The RTPI came into operation in August 2004 and the bus priority in January 2005. In total, 209 buses are now fitted with computers connected to a mobility centre that operates the system. Around the city there are 32 signs with RTPI at the most important bus stops and at the four local railway stations. The number of intersections with bus priority is 51.
The public is well aware of the new opportunities
The technical implications for each demonstration sites are grouped according to the CIVITAS policy fields.
2) Bremen (DE).
- Clean and Efficient Vehicles.
T1: Experts are quite confident that car makers will solve technical problems (mileage, loading capacity, engine efficiency), but are in doubt whether manufacturers’ commitments to CNG cars will be sufficient to enable a market breakthrough.
T2: The main problem is the low density of fuelling stations, particularly in Bremen and
Europe, but the experts are confident that most of the problems can be solved.
3) Bristol (UK).
- Cycle Resource Centre (CRC).
T3: The utilisation of the centre is less than expected. However, the evaluated results for the first year of operation have identified possible areas for improvement and the Mud Dock will continue to market the CRC and will review their pricing structure in order to increase usage.
4) Nantes (FR).
- Clean and Efficient Buses.
T4: Problems encountered with new CNG buses are under manufacturer’s guarantee, and the first thirty buses bought between 1998 and 2000 give an appreciation of CNG vehicle maintenance. It seems a little bit more expensive than for diesel, but this may change over time because CNG engines continue to be more reliable, and engine parts will become cheaper.
The main general policy recommendations are:
P1: the involvement of key stakeholders (including the general public as well as public and private bodies) is very important, but it is also important to maintain strong project management on the part of the local authority;
P2: a good communication plan is necessary, supporting awareness raising and promotional activity;
P3: none of the VIVALDI measures can be seen in isolation, they are all part of integrated transport planning strategies in the 5 cities;
P4: transferability is another key element of the role played by European projects – using good practice and learning from the challenges that others have faced;
P5: the importance of strong local government with a clear vision on sustainable transport cannot be underestimated;
P6: the role of people is important.
The policy implications specific to the measures implemented in the demonstration sites are:
1) Ålborg (DK).
- Car sharing and RTPI.
P7: The measure should be integrated into future projects with the aim of improving the environment in the urban areas.
2) Bremen (DE).
- Car Sharing.
P8: To extend the car sharing service to the suburban region is one of the potential growth paths for car sharing organisations. A focus group discussion in September 2005 decided that the suburban region is not the core area where car sharing organisations can win new clients with pure market-based offers, and that in suburban regions the demand for car sharing is too low from a business point of view.
- New tram line.
P9: In general the shift from bus to light rail in suburban regions is likely to be an efficient means of improving the public transport system, so that it can compete better with private car usage and contribute to the development of the area. Despite the high investment costs, a positive effect can be expected in the long run, as patronage increases and the operation of PT gets cheaper. In general terms, a tramline extension can be recommended for other cities.
- Clean and Efficient Vehicles.
P10: The most important political decision is to tax vehicles according to their e