Innovative ways to involve local people in mobility planning – cities.multimodal partners tested them!

By Fiona Twisse / Updated: 30 Jul 2020

As everywhere in Europe, the majority of cities throughout the Baltic Sea Region struggle with high inner-city traffic volumes causing severe congestion, poor air quality, noise, and high CO2 emissions, consequently reducing accessibility, putting road safety at risk, increasing health problems and reducing the quality of life.

Shifting to sustainable transport modes like walking, cycling, public transport, and carsharing – versus individual car use is considered to be the effective solution to tackle these problems. The cities.multimodal project aims to develop and apply a low-threshold approach for sustainable urban mobility, making it attractive and comfortable for residents and easier for local community groups to facilitate this transition.

The cities.multimodal project focuses on increasing multimodality in dense inner-city areas with growing populations and mixed-use. The project partner cities defined a pilot area for their activities and implemented different measures such as mobility points to make multimodal transport visible in public space and facilitate the use of sustainable transport modes. The project partners also planned and implemented mobility management activities and campaigns to raise awareness for multimodality and they tested innovative ways on how to involve people in all these measures.

Tartu is a longtime implementer of the participative budgeting. The method comprises the involvement of local residents and mutual dialogue. Participative budgeting is considered to be an effective way to get feedback from residents. Of the annual city budget, 2% is used to implement the proposed initiatives that are chosen by communities and local residents through a voting process. The projects are supposed to be for the good of all residents of the city and many of the accepted proposals have been related to mobility.

Conducting surveys is a frequent method to test and elaborate on new mobility ideas with people. Surveys are one of the less intrusive and more voluntary methods of encouraging participation and can be seen as a good example of getting ideas from residents. But often it would only attract those who are nevertheless active in the issue resulting in biased outcomes. However, to attract more respondents to their survey about choosing the possible option for the future cargo bike rent scheme, the Hanseatic City of Rostock has come up with an attractive idea to let their respondents answer using stickers on the visual poster survey about what kind of cargo bike they would prefer. Furthermore, participants were offered to test ride all suggested types of cargo bikes on their own. That method attracted lots of attention and encouraged numerous respondents to take part in the survey. The case study, Cargo-bike testing during Climate Action Day in Rostock provides a more detailed look at the campaign. 

How people move around their city tends to be habitual and patterns have generally developed throughout their life. Even when people are aware of the benefits of more sustainable modes of mobility, it is hard to change a habit. To nudge their residents into biking and to collect the statistics the Active Mobility Unit of the City Hall of Gdansk has carried out a campaign called “Spin kilometres for Gdańsk”. The campaign was carried out with the support of a mobile application named “Activy”. It was used for tracking and measuring the number of participants, distances travelled, the amount of CO2 emissions saved, and the frequency of the journeys. Moreover, participants could obtain points which could be traded for prizes, which motivated people to join the campaign. More information about this campaign can be found in the case study Bike to work with Activy.

In order to gather the ideas of the residents’ mobility habits the City of Vilnius has developed and implemented the smart survey in the form of a game, that would react to the responses of the participant and offer new scenarios and consequences. This interactive game was short and fun and ended up being one of the most attractive ways to involve people in mobility planning in Vilnius.

All these examples of stakeholder, resident and community involvement and many more can be found in the database of Eltis Case studies.

Topic: 
Public and stakeholder involvement