Improving the Environment in Small Towns and Districts by Managing the Mobility and Reducing the Greenhouses Gases Emissions

Improving the Environment in Small Towns and Districts by Managing the Mobility and Reducing the Greenhouses Gases Emissions


L Cogerino, Rhônalpénergie-Environnement, FR



h4. Why did we do launch MOBASTO?

The face of the middle sized towns and counties in Europe has changed strongly in the last decades due to an urban sprawl, which induced an increase of the number and the distance of travels. The use of motorised vehicles has risen sharply which creates considerable environmental and health problems. It has become evident that actions have to be taken at local level. The local authorities have the possibility to act in the transport field, because they are very often responsible of spatial planning, road works and public transport. For these reasons the European project MOBASTO (MObility Agencies in Small TOwns and districts) has been initiated by Rhônalpénergie-Environnement, France, in partnership with the towns of Luleå, Sweden, Romans and Bourg de Péage, France, the district of Quedlinburg, Germany, and the Norrbotten Energy Agency, Sweden with the support of the European Commission. 2 What is a sustainable urban transport plan ? The transport subject is a quite complicated one, because it goes beyond only technical considerations. The use of a car for example is not only determined by rational means but also by social attitude. A sustainable urban transport plan should therefore include in the analysis all types of transport (car, public transport, bicycle, pedestrians etc.) and besides persons also goods. To overcome the identified problems objectives must be fixed. These could include inter alia improvement of road security, reduction of energy and green house gas emission in order to comply with the general concept of sustainable development. The plan should be translated into a set of concrete measures indicating a time frame and the necessary means. The civil society represented by the key actors in an advisory committee can be of valuable help in the elaboration of the urban transport plan. 3 Why create a mobility agency ? Mobility is an individual expression due to a need or necessity. Its requirements are therefore very different according to the individuals and their activities. There is not one universal mode of travel which is suitable for all mobility situations. The management of mobility must therefore seek to combine all modes of travel, whilst respecting social constraints and the protection of the environment. At local level this means to provide full and easy-to-understand information about all existing transport possibilities, to encourage and promote the most ecological choice of transport and to advise the local authority on how to distribute space allocated to the various functions of a municipality more wisely. All these functions of mobility management can be assured by a mobility agency, which should be designed according to the specific situation in each local authority. 4 Cold climate in Luleå, Sweden, increases problems with car traffic Luleå is situated in the north of Sweden, 1000 km from Stockholm. The municipality has 71 600 inhabitants and 85% of them lives in the urban area. The infrastructure for transport consists of an airport, a harbour, a bus company trafficking the urban area, a bus company trafficking longer distances in the county, long distance train traffic, 110 km separate lanes for walking / cycling and 2 000 km roads.

They have a cold winter climate with an average temperature below zero degrees Celsius.

In Luleå car ownership is high, a recent survey shows that 85% of the households has at least one car available. Everyday 120 000 journeys are made by inhabitants in the urban area of Luleå (total 56 000 people). Half of the journeys are short (under 5 km) and 58% of the short journeys is made by car.

These short journeys with car combined with the cold climate and periods of inversion are a major air quality problem for Luleå.

The main task is to decrease short car journeys and replace them with walking, cycling and going by bus. To do so thy want to improve their bus system (new terminal, traffic light priority, real time monitoring) and the bicycle net (signs, new roads, traffic signals). These measures are combined with information, communication and marketing. 5 Mobility in the rural district of Quedlinburg, Germany The ?Landkreis Quedlinburg? is a district of 80,000 inhabitants situated in the federal state of Sachsen-Anhalt. The district joined the MOBASTO project in order to add elements of mobility management to an updated public transport plan. An advisory committee supported the district authority and the external consultants in a permanent process of discussion and decision during the project phases.

Two scenarios extracted the alternative options of development for the next ten years: one projecting forward the present tendencies and another one that includes several decisions of controlling and influencing choices. Besides the optimising of public transport, one of the option included is the implementation of mobility management concerning three components that are developed by a feasibility study:

* Mobility management as a method of administration in order to come to more effective structures of communication and co-operation

* Mobility centres as elements of mobility marketing to influence the choice of transport means

* A decentralised mobility service to reach the thinly populated area of the district as well The scenario 2 can lead through an integrated spatial and transport planning, through the substitution of car journeys by public transport or non-motorised means to an absolute reduction of green house gas emissions. 6 Sustainable development and transport in Romans / Bourg de Péage, France The work in the towns of Romans and Bourg de Péage (~55 000 inhabitants) started by the analysis describing the different flux of car traffic, public transports, cycles, goods and their main impacts. In order to avoid the expected increase of cars and consequently green house gas emissions two objectives were established:

* better management of urban development,

* favour the use of other ways of transports instead of individual cars Three scenarios have been elaborated and finally it has been decided to retain the one which aims at keeping by 6% the increase of greenhouse gases (in relation to 2000). As main actions were identified to ensure a coherence between urban development and public transports for new infrastructure projects. A very important surface of parking may lead to a recovery of public space. The quality of the public transports should be developed to ensure a good link between the two centre municipalities and the periphery.

A special emphasis is put upon the link to neighbouring Valence, important administrative and economic centre, were a cadenced train relation is proposed.

In order to ensure an accompaniment of these different measures, the principle of a mobility agency creation was proposed together with its integration in the local Public Transport Authority. 7 What is all about? The web site has been conceived to allow a broad exchange on the subject of mobility in small and medium local authorities. The methodology for establishing sustainable public urban transport plans and the objective of mobility management are presented. A wide space is dedicated to present successful and good practices from towns and counties in the areas of development and urban planning, automobile traffic, parking organisation, public and joint transport offer, ?soft? transport modes, goods transport, mobility management and public health and security. By using an online input form visitors can propose their proper good practices. A forum encourages the exchange between practitioners - theorist and new-comers and old hands. 8 Getting involved by signing the MOBASTO Charter The above presented procedure can now be applied elsewhere. The wish of MOBASTO founders is to enable other local authorities to use this new method and to federate through a declaration a coherent and common approach for the transport sector in view of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The ?Charter of European local municipalities for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions due to transport? has been elaborated based on these experiences and signed in November 2001 In Romans/Bourg de Péage, France.

Other local authorities are encouraged to sign this Charter engaging themselves: to reduce the increase of greenhouse gas emissions trough a sustainable urban transport plan; to include the mobility management as a fundamental structuring element in the urban planning process; to promote and develop ecological ways of transport; to create an organisation or a network dedicated to mobility management on their territory and to continue the collaboration between the signatory partners through the web site


Association for European Transport