CIVITAS SUITS. An interview with the project coordinator

By News Editor / Updated: 01 Jun 2017

This month Eltis interviews Andree Woodcock, the co-ordinator of the CIVITAS SUITS project.

Please sum up your project in a sentence.

SUITS aim is to substantially increase the capacity of small- and medium-sized local authorities to develop and implement transport strategies and systems, policies, technologies, practices, procedures, tools and measures that are sustainable, inclusive, integrated and accessible. These will recognise the end-to-end travel experiences of all users and freight.

In what way is your target group, small- and medium-sized local authorities, already benefitting from your project?

The project is already dedicated to providing knowledge transfer opportunities to small- and medium-sized local authorities for sustainable transport solutions. The project started in November 2016 and will run for four years.  Currently, we are taking a ground-up approach to understanding the resources that small- and medium-sized local authorities need to develop their sustainable mobility solutions. If any city or organisation outside the consortium spots a gap in their skills or knowledge, they can suggest ideas for inclusion in our resource development programme. Possible examples include tools that describe how to use big data, explain policy, or optimise user engagement.

What are the key project publications or resources (current or future), and how will they be used by small and medium-sized local authorities?

We are developing a ‘capacity building toolkit’ for sustainable urban mobility planning, which will consist of modules and information that our initial work with local authorities has shown to be lacking. In addition, we will develop a financing and procurement decision support system. Future learning opportunities and events include webinars, workshops, trials, and a conference.

What opportunities are there for others to become involved in the project?

There will be extensive knowledge transfer to organisations and individuals. We will be holding workshops and events at other CIVITAS events, our own conference in 2020, as well as local events in SUITS cities and regions. I invite any authority who is interested in our approach or sphere of interest to get in touch with me directly. I can be contacted through the SUITS Eltis project page.

How can people keep up to date with the project activities?

The website is currently being developed and is due to be launched soon. In the meantime, you can find out more about the project by visiting our section on the main CIVITAS website.

Name one development/innovation that you think will impact urban mobility in Europe over the next five years.

Smart cities are integrated, inclusive, accessible and data-driven. The recognition of the need for sustainable transport systems - including active, public and shared forms of transport - that are context-specific, integrated into wider visions for cities, and based on crowdsourced citizen data and user engagement,  is acting as the catalyst for the creation of healthy and liveable cities for everyone. Clear evidence is emerging across Europe that greener transport solutions are linked to safer streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. If more sustainable transport systems are introduced over the next five years, then urban environments could undergo significant positive changes.

What is the most interesting mobility-related book/paper/research you have read recently, and why?

The book chapter entitled ‘The New Mobilities Paradigm' by Sheller and Ury (2006) is very interesting  - it sets out the need to consider interconnectedness and transport in relation to other types of mobility. In addition, the recent book 'Designing Mobility and Transport Services: Developing traveller experience tools', of which I was a co-author, describes what is required to develop a means of measuring inclusive, end-to-end multimodal journeys.