Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. To address the urgency and complexity of this challenge, societies need to find solutions for fundamentally transforming our economies in an extremely short window of time. This requires immediate actions going beyond the level of fostering innovation and digitalisation in societal niches. Such transition calls for an innovation path which sets out to ‘design’ carbon-neutral societal systems and focus investments in zero-carbon solutions as indicated in the “Final Report of the High-Level Panel on Decarbonisation 2018”. TRANSFORMER takes up this challenge by applying the Transition Super-Lab (TSL) approach as large territory approaches of real-life management of the transition from typical fossil-fuel-based local economies to zero carbon ones”. In a TSL, systemic innovation for decarbonisation is achieved by identifying and using leverage points for transforming different socio-technical regimes simultaneously (such as hydrogen technology for changing the transportation system and the industrial production system). Focusing on a systemic transformation on a large (regional)-scale, in a TSL new forms of governance arrangements will be developed for coordination and collaboration across multiple actors and sectors.
The TRANSFORMER project focuses on four pilot regions: the Ruhr area in Germany, Emilia Romagna in Italy, Lower Silesia in Poland, and Western Macedonia in Greece. The project's key innovation is the concept of TSLs, which is designed to be multi-sectoral and to engage stakeholders from a range of backgrounds. TSLs will focus on developing and implementing practical solutions that will help pilot regions transition towards climate neutrality at an accelerated speed.
The TSLs will work towards developing long-term systemic transformation frameworks, which will address the multiple challenges that regions face as they transition towards climate neutrality. These frameworks will be designed to be adaptive and flexible and will enable regions to identify and prioritize their needs and goals, and to develop appropriate strategies to achieve them. The TSLs will work closely with stakeholders from different sectors, including the mobility sector, to co-create solutions that are practical and effective. This will ensure that the solutions developed are tailored to the needs and context of the regions and are relevant to the challenges they face. The project's evaluation framework, roadmap blueprint, toolkit, and knowledge hub will support pilot regions, and these resources will be made available to other regions across Europe, ensuring that the project's impact is felt across the continent.
Throughout the development of TSLs in the project, three out of the four regions have clearly identified mobility as a key challenge area to focus on to ensure a rapid transformation of regions towards a climate-neutral future. The mobility focus of these regions varies from regional cycling mobility, coordination of mobility management activities, access to sustainable regional mobility and electrification of regional mobility.