Tourism is important for economic growth, especially in the underperforming Mediterranean economies. In order to support sustainable transport in these areas, DESTINATIONS, a CIVITAS HORIZON 2020 living lab project, has developed and implemented sustainable mobility measures and actions in six European tourist sites.
The project offers intelligent sustainable transport solutions for tourists and residents alike through innovation and cooperation with all major stakeholders. These solutions aim to improve urban accessibility and the cost effectiveness and integration of transport services, as well as to reduce emissions and energy consumption.
Within the project, which started in 2016 and ends in May 2021, several measures promote the uptake of electromobility, including the installation of fast re-charging stations, the electrification of public transportation fleets, specific regulations fostering the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and tailor-made information and awareness campaigns. The project's impacts are making a positive contribution to demonstrating how an innovative holistic approach to building sustainable urban mobility systems can achieve growth and therefore provide a benchmark for other EU tourist cities.
Amongst DESTINATIONS promising results, Rethymno on Crete (Greece) introduced the first EVs into their public fleets and installed the first public EV charging points in their region. A mini e-bus, which is accessible to all, runs on a new circular route, connecting the bus station with the beach, and parking facilities. In its first year of operation, the mini bus served over 4000 residents and tourists, and saved 4.5 tons of CO2 and 6.5 MWh of energy. Rethymno received numerous national and EU-level awards as a result of these actions, such as receiving gold at the Best City Awards 2018 and 2nd place in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards 2019.
On the Portuguese island of Madeira and Las Palmas in the Spanish Canary Islands, other CIVITAS DESTINATIOS partners, there has been a marked increase in the number of EVs. Regional and national funds for the acquisition of EVs were unlocked while new public-private collaborations were established. Although the project results are promising, there are still issues concerning safety and autonomy, the high costs of infrastructure and the need to upgrade local grids.
Original article published by civitas.eu on 3 December 2020
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