1.1. Sustainable urban transport

Aim: Solutions encompass various elements of accessibility, different transport modes and measures to reduce the need for transportation. Integration of land use and transport planning is one of the key issues. The solutions presented cover logistical arrangements for the transfer of people and services, which take into account the entire commuter belt, as well as sparsely populated areas.

Facilitator: Marcin Wolek, Councellor, Gdynia, Poland
Rapporteur: Sakari Saarinen, Planner, Helsinki, Finland

CO2 and car taxes: lessons from the Nordic countries

The presentation examines the differences in car taxation and in car ownership, size and use across the Nordic countries. The purpose is to gain an understanding of options for reducing the CO2 emission from cars through a comparative Nordic analysis. It showcases how different types and levels of taxation and other economic instruments affect car purchase, use and CO2 emission.
Henrik Duer, Consultant, Senior Economist, COWI A/S

Sustainable, post-fossil mobility needs more than just a change of fuels

There is an urgent need for low-carbon accessibility strategies, both to reduce CO2 emissions as well as to reduce the economic and social vulnerability of regions against rising oil prices. This requires a combination of technological advances and behavioral aspects and urban/regional planning. A change of fuels alone is not enough! The showcase of Bremen (population 550,000) brings together strategies to promote clean vehicles and alternative fuels/propulsion with improvements for walking, cycling and Public Transport. The development of Car-Sharing services is an important pillar in a less car-dependent lifestyle. The Bremen Car-Sharing system was selected as one of three showcases world-wide to be presented in the “Urban Best Practice Area” at the 2010 World EXPO in Shanghai.
Michael Glotz Richter, Senior Project Manager for ‘Sustainable Mobility’, city of Bremen, Germany

Sustainable urban transport in Bergen – an essential measure for a sustainable city

The City of Bergen is aiming to become a CO2 neutral city and in this work they have been making a number of measures through targeted planning and action. Bergen has conducted a risk and vulnerability analysis that is unique in Norway, and this knowledge has also played an important role in urban planning in the city. In this presentation the emphasis will be on the urban transport in Bergen. The city has put in place the first urban light railway in Norway which was opened in June 2010. Bergen Light Rail is a gigantic environmental project, primarily because an urban light railway is a very environmentally friendly means of transport. In addition, Bergen Light Rail entails extensive concentration of building developments along its route, so that an increasing number of people can benefit from the existing infrastructure. The overall result is lower energy consumption and greater environmental gains for Bergen.
Eva Britt Isager, Head of Climate Section, Department of Urban Development, Climate and Environmental affairs, City of Bergen, Norway

Citizen's dialog - a way for sustainable traffic solutions

Year 2010 the local council in Linköping took on a new traffic strategy with focus on reducing the climate change. The strategy includes highl goals in reducing the car traffic and increasing the use of public transportation, biking and walking. The important parts of the strategy are cooperation between the land use and traffic planning, distinct priority on traffic with low effect on the climate change and increased actions on mobility management. The key factors to accomplish the goals of the strategy are communication and co-operation with the citizens in the city of Linköping.
Muharrem Demirok, Deputy Mayor, Linköping, Sweden

Summary of the parallel session 1.1 Sustainable urban transport


Henrik Duer, COWI A/S: CO2 and car taxes: lessons from the Nordic countries

The presentation showed examples and underlined that taxation system might be an efficient tool in transforming societies into "post-fossil" societies. However taxation should be deployed as an integrated element of wider strategies that have to be agreed on social and political level.
Solutions on sustainable transport have to be integrated to make a difference. Thus the different prices and taxes connected to transports have to be in-line with and support the implemented policies and strategies.

Michael Glotz-Richter: Sustainable, post-fossil mobility needs more than just a change of fuels

The presentation showed examples of quality sustainable transport solutions that can make a difference. As such, just changing fuels, f.e. using electric vehicles, is not a solution to many transport problems; it won’t take away congestion, parking and other spatial challenges.
In Bremen especially car sharing has proved to be successful sustainable measure. The principle in car-sharing is: ‘Using a car instead of owning one’. Car sharing can make a difference on several urban transport problems. f.e. reducing the amount of cars in the traffic, and thus influencing on spatial challenges. Car-sharing brings also more choices and win-win situations for different users and transportation needs. Its’ implementation strengthens the competitive position of public transport in the city.

However, even in developed and wealthy societies, car-sharing needs time and promotion for its steady development. Successful car sharing system might be also treated as promotional element for the city which is using it. For example, city of Bremen was nominated to promote car sharing during EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.

Eva Britt Isager: Sustainable urban transport in Bergen – an essential measure for a sustainable city

The presentation underlined the need of complex strategical planning in case of sustainable mobility solutions (i.e. climate and energy action plan for Bergen includes four main areas, also transport). Introduction of new sustainable modes of transport, like light railway in Bergen, can be successful responses to urban sprawl and growing car dependency. Such solutions also improve the image of public transport in general.

Muharrem Demirok: Citizen's dialog - a way for sustainable traffic solutions

The presentation gave examples of citizen dialogue process as part of the sustainable city development; especially with regard to new master plan and transport strategy development processes. In Linköping engagement and participation of citizens in solving urban transport and planning problems has been very successful. Selling an idea might be a dialog with citizens; this allows that implemented solutions are widely accepted and they don’t bring the risk of political problems.

Panel discussion

Main points raised in the panel discussion were:

There is some positive trend evidence on chance for change in means of transport: German statistics show that in Germany the total transport volume, the overall mileage travelled, has started to decrease, especially the travel mileage by private cars, while the travel mileage by public transport and cycling are slightly increasing. Surveys among youngsters in Germany also show that very many think that cars are no longer a hip issue and people driving big cars are unappealing. ‘Private cars are Viagra in chrome’.

The real rise of sustainable mobility needs more than just a change of fuels. Only planning and implementation of real integrated strategies and measures on sustainable urban transports can lead to real results. At the same time continuous awareness raising and thus taking steps towards behavioural change on transports is needed.

How to proceed from plans and strategies to implementation of sustainable transport solutions; the biggest problem is how to convince politicians and citizens? How to sell the sustainable ideas to politicians? Once implemented the sustainable transport solutions tend to be extremely popular, but in planning and construction phase the opposition and complaints are a challenge.

Many solutions towards more sustainable urban transports are known and available, but the implementation of sustainable transport plans and strategies in local and regional level often stops to unseen barriers like; national transport policies, key stakeholders being against the implementation of sustainable urban transport solutions, although they have favoured these in plans and strategies.