1. POLIS publishes new report on shared micromobility

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    Source: EU Urban Mobility Observatory

    The new report, “Catch me if you can!”, analyses how European cities are regulating shared mobility

    POLIS, the network for European cities and regions to work together in developing innovative technologies and policies for local transport, has undertaken extensive research with stakeholders to gather their insights on the key issues and challenges that have emerged with the rise of shared micromobility. Those consulted include individual cities, public practitioners and private operators.

    For local and regional authorities, shared micromobility represents a complex governance challenge, where many aspects – sustainability, safety, innovation, regulation and more – must be balanced.

    Some might argue that regulation should be a prerequisite for the deployment of shared micromobility services and schemes. However, the reality is that mobility services have often been put in place before adequate regulation has been established. Most local and regional authorities have found themselves having to regulate services which were already in use, and without clarity about how to achieve this.

    The POLIS report explores: 

    • How local and regional authorities are regulating shared mobility.
    • What has and has not worked, and learnings from these experiences.
    • The differences and similarities between cities.
    • Potential future strategies for both public authorities and private operators.

    In the face of rapid change and increased public demand, local and regional governments have based their regulations on local context and with use of the tools available. Critical aspects within authorities’ jurisdiction include issues such as urban space allocation, vehicle requirements, and user behaviour. The primary challenge is that of introducing newer modes of transport such as shared micromobility into pre-existing infrastructure that is primarily shaped around private cars.

    For the future, it is important to balance the regulation of new transport modes with the possible changes around the traditional monopoly of private cars. Climate neutrality goals demand a shift away from the conventional ways urban transport has been organised, and it is more and more relevant to explore strategies for incorporating shared mobility and other transport modes into urban mobility ecosystems. The role of policy and regulations is to build effective frameworks for including new transport modes into the mobility mix. Transport planners must also consider topics such as redistributing space in favour of more sustainable, safe and health-promoting transport means.

    The POLIS report can be read here.

  2. Sustainable mobility versus noise pollution

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    Although we might not realise, noise pollution is Europe’s second largest environmental health threat. A staggering one in every five Europeans is exposed to noise levels that are damaging their health.

    Perhaps expected, the majority of noise comes from transport pollution, namely roads, rail and air traffic. City dwellers suffer the most, with Paris cited by the European Environment Agency as one of Europe’s noisiest. Data reveals that 5.5 million people are exposed to noise levels exceeding 55 decibels, with 432,000 residents taking tranquillisers to combat their discomfort. London and Rome are also identified as problematic cities, with 2.6 million and 1.7 million people exposed respectively.

    Sustainable mobility and its minimal noise output offers a solution for the estimated 30 – 46 billion euros that society spends every year in overcoming the problem. The findings from CE Delf approximate this as 0.4% of total GDP, understandable when considering the long and short-term health risks that amalgamate, including cardiovascular, blood pressure and insomnia concerns.

    Other solutions to noise pollution are being explored. The European Environmental Noise Directive offers guidance, while appropriate authorities are encouraged to join the Green City Accord and address pollution-prevention laws. In addition, local and national governments are developing Noise Plans that include sustainable mobility solutions such as low-noise asphalt and the installation of sound barriers. Paris’ Plan Brut is one such example, that also recognises the need to reduce car traffic in city centres, expand cycling networks and ban polluting vehicles.

    Reducing car speeds is an effective way of reducing traffic noise. Thousands of towns and cities across Europe have implemented measures as part of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, a campaign that has also implemented the construction of 3,600 green areas that aid in air pollution.

    Although largely invisible, noise pollution does have an impact on people’s everyday lives and welfare. Sustainable mobility options and swapping traditional transport norms for walking and cycling will create more comfortable environments for all of us to live, work and play in.

    More details on the impact of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and those towns and cities involved can be found here.

  3. Lisbon excludes cars from driving through the city centre

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    Source: Bloomberg

    Lisbon has become the latest European city to put a plan in place banning through-traffic. The Portuguese downtown capital has implemented the scheme on a temporary three-month basis for now, beginning on April 26th. Cars will be able to drive into the heart of the city but not through it, with a larger exclusion zone barring vehicles over 3.5 metric tones between 8am and 5pm. Only public transport will be exempt from the directive.

    In place of their journey through the city centre, cars will instead be ushered onto a semi-circular road network resembling a ring road. The scheme is expected to significantly reduce the amount of traffic through the historic heart of the city, while not causing major disruption for those vehicles visiting with a purpose. Some trepidation and a significant amount of cloaking accompanied the decision, one that Lisbon Deputy Mayor for Mobility Anacoreta Correia stressed, “is dynamic, it does not have an end in sight and will change as the completion of the works progresses.”

    It’s believed that the scheme will be recognised by even the most devoted of car owners who currently use the city on their journeys. Central Lisbon has some engineering and construction works scheduled for this summer that include two new metro stations, storm drains to aid in flooding along the city’s waterfront, sewerage repairs, and road resurfacing. Traffic passing through the city would only add to the disruption that is already expected.

    Although deemed to be temporary, the three-month trial has ignited some discussion in the city, with many proposing that some of the directives remain permanent, in particular the ban on daytime heavy goods vehicles.

    A number of Portuguese transit experts have concluded that the plan will aid the 2030 carbon neutrality target, implemented by Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas in his previous role as European Union Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. Lisbon is one of 122 cities that have made the climate pledge, and Paris and Amsterdam are already taking measures to bar inner city through-traffic. London’s congestion charge was a precursor for such changes that are commonly gaining support and shaping the future.

  4. Pakistan government begins the promotion of electric motorcycles in an effort to reduce fuel-spending

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    Source: DND, D. Naeem

    In response to the energy crisis and rising fuel-import costs, the Government of Pakistan has given a briefing on national initiatives to lower fuel consumption. This includes the significant promotion of LEVs such as electric motorcycles.

    At the National Energy Conservation Policy conference, Pakistan’s Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, proposed the shift away from conventional combustion engine motorcycles. He suggested that the change would benefit individuals, the economy, and the environment, plus reduce the country’s annual petrol spending – currently Pakistan spends 3 billion USD on petrol to power motorcycles each year. The new initiative aims to gradually phase out petrol-powered motorcycles completely.

    While the initial purchase point is higher, the government of Pakistan has outlined how the bikes can be more cost-effective throughout the product’s lifetime. Financial aid to promote the shift to electric power is currently under consideration.

  5. Next week: The first European micromobility meeting for PLEV users by non-profit organizations and user groups

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    This exciting event will take place on the last weekend of August, from Friday 26 August 2022 at 16:00 to Sunday 28 August 2022 at 16:00, in Brussels (Belgium), at the Tour and Taxis site, Avenue du Port 86 C, 1000 Brussels.

    The new meeting offers a place for discussions on micromobility, its assets, challenges, and developments for the future. The event is free to attend and open to all those interested.

    This event is the initiative of legal non-profit associations and user groups active on social networks and working for better European (micro-) mobility.

    Full details can be found via the event announcement on LinkedIn.

  6. EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2022 – registration and theme

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    Towns and cities are warmly invited to participate in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, which takes place from 16-22 September each year. The theme for 2022 is ‘Better Connections’

    Registration is now open to the official local authority of towns or cities that may wish to participate.

    The registration portal can be found via the Mobility Week Website.

    Participating areas are encouraged to organize activities focusing on sustainable mobility, implement progressive transport measures, and host a ‘car-free day’.

    “The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2022 annual theme, ‘Better connections’, seeks to highlight and foster synergies between people and places that are offering their expertise, creativity, and dedication to raising awareness about sustainable mobility and promoting behavioral change in favor of active mobility, in addition to reaching out and making connections between existing groups and new audiences.”

    The five pillars of ‘Better connections’ are:

    • People
    • Places
    • Packages
    • Planning & Policy

    Download the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK thematic guidelines document here.

  7. Hirschvogel sets target on green mobility manufacturing

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    Source: Cycling Industry News, M. Sutton

    LEVA-EU member Hirschvogel is one of the world’s largest motor vehicle parts suppliers. Now, the auto giant shifts its focus towards ‘green business’

    In its move to compete in the green and light mobility market, including that of bicycles, the business has dedicated 67% of its 2021 investment into such sectors; this equates to approximately €174 million. For context, the group consolidated sales of €1.25 billion in 2018 and employs over 6,000.

    This new focus should come as no surprise after the group revealed some 70% of orders for parts won in 2021 were associated with ‘green businesses’, with this trend continuing into 2022.

    The focus is on green business, the “green” business around CO2 – emission-free mobility concepts. In order to ensure growth and employment at all locations for future generations as well, we are currently aligning the components business in the automotive sector with high pressure towards e-mobility and drive independence. At the same time, we would like to grow through company investments in related technologies and markets,” says Jörg Rückauf, the company CEO.

  8. Sustainable Urban Mobility Awards – Winners announced

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    Source: Eltis, Hannah Figg

    Four European sustainable mobility champion locations were recently unveiled in Brussels by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility.

    The four awards and victors were; European Mobility Week Award 2021 for larger municipalities, Kassel (Germany); European Mobility Week Award 2021 for smaller municipalities, Valongo (Portugal); the 10th annual Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP), Tampere (Finland); and the EU Road Safety Award, Rethymno (Greece).

    European Mobility Week is an annual event, running from 16-22 September. Cities and towns across Europe can take this opportunity to trial new ideas, promote infrastructure and technologies, and track their own air quality. Residents become involved with and begin discussions surrounding sustainable mobility, heralding a social change towards a greener world. The event saw record-breaking levels of participation in 2021 with over 3,100 towns joining the scheme.

    Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, commended the award winners’ and finalists’ achievements, sharing:

    “I would like to extend my congratulations to the winners of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards as well as to all finalists. These cities have taken concrete actions to tackle transport emissions, noise, and congestion through innovative actions. With the new EU Urban Mobility Framework, we will support better planning of sustainable urban mobility, putting public transport, walking, and cycling at the core of local authorities’ efforts to improve people’s everyday lives.”

    For the full list of finalists, and an in-depth overview of their efforts toward sustainability mobility, view the Eltis coverage of the awards here.

  9. Clean Cities Campaign – No EU cities on track for zero-emission mobility

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    Goal to move citizens onto climate-friendly transport by 2030 will be missed at the current transition rate

    Source: Clean Cities Campaign

    In a report released by the Clean Cities Campaign, 36 European cities were shown to have made inadequate progress towards green mobility goals if they are to meet the agreed 2030 deadline. Zero-emission mobility can be reached via a transition to active, shared, and electric mobility options. Director Barbara Stoll has referred to the report as “a wake-up call to city leaders across Europe“.

    Cities were ranked according to criteria including active travel options (walking, cycling, etc.), road safety, public transport accessibility, congestion level, electric charging infrastructure, and pollution levels. Taking into account the ongoing climate crisis, city policymakers must act quickly to transition populations to sustainable transport options. Three-quarters of all Europeans live in cities, all of which are ‘failing’ in regard to mobility goals.

    Renowned forward-thinking city Oslo topped the rankings, and notably, Ghent, in which the LEVA-EU headquarters are based, was placed 7th with a rating of B, sitting amongst the likes of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. These cities, while still having room for improvement, can serve as an inspiration for others who wish to accelerate their green transition.

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