Tag Archive: Sustainable Policy Making

  1. The 2023 Annual POLIS Conference will take place 29-30 November in Leuven, Belgium

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    Source: POLIS Network

    Europe’s leading sustainable urban mobility event returns in 2023, after a record-breaking 2022 conference.

    The annual event provides an opportunity for cities and regions to showcase their transport achievements to a large audience of mobility experts, practitioners, and decision-makers, both public and private.

    Visit the POLIS website and learn more, here.

    Regarding the host city, and current President, Leuven, the Polis Network shared: “Leuven, Belgium, is a mission-driven city that excels through inspiring governance models and the systems put in place for the public to innovate and get involved in critical decision-making processes. Dynamic and diverse, Leuven is at the forefront of innovation: indeed, the European Commission awarded the city as the 2020 European Capital of Innovation for its unique cooperation model — one that unites residents, institutions, and organisations and allows them to co-innovate, test, and apply groundbreaking solutions to fight climate change, foster the quality of life and education, and promote a sustainable, accessible, and inclusive mobility system.

  2. Groningen shares the secrets to smooth and sustainable city logistics

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    Source: Mobility Innovation Marketplace, L. Steinberg

    The city of Groningen, the Netherlands, is lauded as an innovator when considering sustainable urban logistics. Following an informative keynote by Lior Steinberg, we now share some of the city’s successes.

    Have you ever considered exactly what goes on out of sight in our cities, that enables us to enjoy the comfort and luxuries of everyday life that we have all become accustomed to? At the touch of a button, we can have orders delivered straight to our door. This delivery system or, urban logistics, is a complex but very productive network and we all love it. But sometimes it doesn’t function perfectly, and this can affect all of us.

    Factors to consider when contemplating urban logistics include traffic congestion and pollution. Some cities have been proactive and addressed such issues – one example being Groningen in The Netherlands. In a quest to improve standards of living, Groningen has been making improvements for decades and is keen to share its strategy for a sustainable city.

    Timing. Perhaps the most logical of all improvements, Groningen has capped the delivery times for cargo and delivery vehicles in specific areas of the city. Deliveries are now only possible between 5am and 12pm unless via a dedicated permit. Rush hour congestion is aided and thus, pollution levels drop, as do the often-forgotten noise pollution levels. Concise planning is required by those using delivery services – particularly businesses – and a faster-flowing network functions well. The strategy has been in place in certain areas for a number of years, but as of 2023, it applies to the entire city, one that is dedicated to improved social activities for those who visit.

    Polluting vehicles. Some might regard this as an obvious strategy, but Groningen has gone that little bit further than most. From 2025, only electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles and those under human power will be allowed in the city.

    Hubs and last-mile implementation. Groningen has constructed several last-mile hubs around the city. Multiple goods are transferred to these hubs by transport services, at which point electric cargo bikes and sustainable methods take over the handling of deliveries to their final destination.

    Cargo Bikes. The relationship which the Netherlands has with bicycles is globally recognised, particularly in Europe. As a nation of devotees of this mode of transport in everyday life, cargo bikes with their sustainable and practical approach have been championed in the country. Now with constantly-developing electric drive systems, deliveries of many sizes will be made faster and more economically distributed.

    Knowledge and collaboration. Keen to expand its founded success, and in a quest to improve our way of life, Groningen has shared its strategies with other European cities. Their approaches have been widely published and projects including Intereg’s Smart Urban Freight Logistics Hubs and Horizon’s Urban Logistics as an On-demand Service have been included in Groningen’s agendas. Let’s hope other cities take advantage of this knowledge.

  3. New WEEE data gives insight into collection and recycling rates

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    Source: European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment

    Close to half of all waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) across Europe is not properly processed.

    New figures include data for WEEE that is difficult to gather information for, and therefore may not have been previously reported to the European Commission under WEEE Directive obligations. These regulations aim to address environmental concerns by promoting sustainable production and consumption, particularly in light of the growing number of discarded electronic items.

    Electronic waste contains a complex mixture of materials, some of which are hazardous. These can cause major environmental and health problems if the discarded devices are not managed properly. In addition, modern electronics contain rare and expensive resources, which can be recycled and reused if the waste is effectively managed. This is of course a priority when considering the finite resources available for manufacturing.

    The law regarding WEEE

    Secondary law

  4. E-fuels only able to supply 2% of European car fleet by 2035, study claims

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    Source: Euractiv, S. G. Carroll

    A new study claims that the low production levels associated with e-fuels, a hydrogen-derived fuel source advertised as a green solution for combustion engine vehicles, means that the alternative will only be able to cover 2% of the EU’s vehicle fleet.

    The analysis, carried out by clean mobility NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), predicts that e-fuel production will still be in its infancy by the time the draft EU ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars is enacted. Due to the theoretically carbon-neutral status of e-fuels (CO2 is captured for production), fuel manufacturers and automotive industry figures have pushed for the official classification as a petrol/diesel green alternative by European lawmakers.

    Essentially, this would extend the sell-by date of combustion engine vehicles beyond the current 2035 EU deadline. However, as suggested by the T&E study, this is not a viable alternative – just 5 million cars out of the EU’s fleet of 287 million could fully run on synthetic fuel in 2035.

    Yoann Gimbert, an e-mobility analyst at T&E, rejected claims that e-fuels represent a clean solution for cars, calling synthetic fuels a “Trojan Horse for the fossil fuel industry”.

    E-fuels are presented as a carbon-neutral way to prolong the life of combustion engine technology. But the industry’s own data shows there will only be enough for a tiny fraction of cars on the road,” he said.

    On the other hand, the FuelsEurope trade association has referred to the analysis as “disingenuous and deeply misguided“. John Cooper, FuelsEurope Director General, argued that focusing on e-fuels only misses the trade association’s larger point, which is that a range of technologies and feedstocks can be deployed to decarbonize road transport beyond 2035, leading to a broader and more stable approach.

    Negotiations are currently underway between EU institutions to finalize CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, with the next round of discussions set to take place on 27 October, and the role of e-fuels sure to be a hot topic. Read the full Euractiv analysis here.

  5. LEVA-EU member Bird Publishes Independent Vehicle Life Cycle Analysis, Setting a New Standard for Emissions Reporting Quality

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    The report launched in Paris today will be the industry’s first ISO-critically reviewed LCA and indicates ‘Bird Three micro-EV’ is among the lowest emission vehicles in Europe, with a five-year lifespan.

    Bird Global, Inc., a leader in environmentally friendly electric transportation, today announced a major micromobility milestone as the company is set to become the first operator to achieve an ISO-critically reviewed vehicle Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), prompting a new industry standard and enabling reliable comparisons across European modes and vehicles. 

    Bird’s cradle-to-grave LCA report confirms that the Bird Three, the company’s latest and most sustainable vehicle, has a lifespan of up to five years after refurbishment and is among the most climate-friendly vehicles on the road in European cities – including other shared modes and public transport. Travelers in European cities who take a Bird Three account for on average approximately 21% less greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer than taking the metro, 77% less than driving a gas-powered car, and 87% less than taking a ride-hail car.

    The LCA emissions model was reviewed and documented by Ramboll, an independent Denmark-based engineering and consulting company, specializing in sustainability and corporate responsibility.  The LCA is being critically reviewed by EarthShift Global, a third-party ISO expert, to ensure that the methods, data, and analysis are consistent with ISO standards for LCA. Bird’s LCA is also one of the industry’s first aligned with the New Urban Mobility Alliance’s (NUMO) forthcoming LCA guide for cities. 

    Manufacturing and assembly of Bird’s electric scooters is included within the LCA along with additional manufacturing of components for replacements, transportation of vehicles to target European cities, charging and fleet management, and scooters’ disposal at end-of-life.  Conservatively, the LCA takes no credit for Bird’s renewable energy credits, carbon offsets, or robust program of end-of-life recycling. 

    The hardware and software powering Bird Three have been expertly crafted to create the most eco-conscious shared e-scooter available with best-in-class durability. Features include Aerospace-grade aluminum and the Bird Three’s proprietary battery system which travels farther on fewer charges, with industry-leading IP68-rated battery protection to keep it safe from dust and water. The vehicle also boasts independently tested and verified impact resistance; pneumatic tires and smart acceleration technology to reduce wear and tear. 

    Bird’s LCA sets a new industry standard for emissions reporting quality, enabling reliable comparisons across European modes and vehicles, and helping Bird to identify and reduce emissions wherever possible,” Shane Torchiana, CEO, Bird. Not only does this work further demonstrate our commitment towards the planet, but is a call to action for all other operators to follow the same standard so that together, we can address misconceptions around vehicle lifecycles and educate our city stakeholders with the information they need to make informed decisions when selecting a responsible micromobilty partner.

    By following expert recommendations and best-practice methods for their LCA, Bird is demonstrating leadership in their commitment to rigorous, transparent greenhouse gas emissions reporting, which will enable city governments to make more informed decisions and – if widely adopted – enable emissions reductions across the micromobility sector,” Leah Lazer, Research Associate, New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO), World Resources Institute.

  6. Powers to enact 30km/h low-speed zones demanded by over 260 German cities

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    Source: TheMayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    Municipalities in Germany are unable to issue their own maximum speed laws, impacting the success of liveable city initiatives.

    In 2021, 7 German cities announced a new initiative, advocating for the right of municipalities to set their own speed limits. Since the founding cities of Aachen, Augsburg, Freiburg, Hanover, Leipzig, Münster, and Ulm sparked the conversation, 263 municipalities have declared their support.

    The ‘Liveable cities through appropriate speeds’ initiative focuses on the central right to enact 30km/h low-speed zones. The basis for this rests on the idea that liveability and quality of life are closely associated with public spaces and the interaction between motor and pedestrian traffic in these areas. Low-speed zones have been shown to reduce noise pollution, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide pollution and decrease the risk of fatal injuries in the areas they are enacted.

    The initiative’s four demands, signed off by mayors, city councilors responsible for mobility and urban development, and urban planning departments are:

    • A commitment to a turnaround in mobility (away from personal vehicles and towards other means of transportation) and quality of life measures in cities.
    • A 30km/h speed for motor vehicle traffic, including on main roads, is an integral part of a sustainable, city-wide mobility concept and a strategy for upgrading public spaces.
    • Petition the federal government to immediately create the legal prerequisites for municipalities to be able to order a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h where the municipalities deem necessary.
    • A funding model for research projects to determine the individual aspects, benefits, and effects of this regulation, to improve the application of this principle.
  7. 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.

  8. CoMoUK – New developments and shared transport: cutting car dependency

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    Source: CoMoUK

    CoMoUK has released its latest research paper, discussing the underpowered and inconsistent approach to development in the UK in regard to shared transport and its potential to deliver sustainable mobility.

    CoMoUK plays a leading role in the UK’s transition to integrated mobility solutions designed for the public good. CoMoUK supports the development of shared modes including bikes, scooters, buses, and cars.

    The new paper, which can be accessed in full here, discusses the state of shared mode development in the UK. “There is widespread planning approval of schemes that lock in car dependency. Shared transport is often not included within scheme design at all, and elsewhere it is only included at a very small scale (e.g. a single car club vehicle). However, there are numerous developments that are being planned around the ability of sustainable transport, including shared options, to cut the need for parking spaces, improve place and air quality and deliver ‘gentle density.”

    The paper goes on to explore multiple case studies, including locations such as Exeter and Leeds, providing recommendations for the future and best practice guidelines. Key recommendations revolve around redefining planning policy, coordinating planning and transportation initiatives, and limitations on private car facilitations.

  9. Up to 900 euro sustainable mobility bonus for Brussels residents

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    Source: themayor.eu

    The revamped Bruxell’air mobility bonus will mobilize citizens in their transition towards sustainable mobility

    Brussels Capital Region authorities recently announced the return of their sustainable mobility bonus, titled Bruxell’air. Similar to many other European cities, this move is an attempt to de-carbonize urban travel in light of climate change and city building densification.

    The scheme offers a bonus of up to 900 euros to any citizen who cancels their car registration and applies for the bonus. The bonus can be used to buy bicycle equipment, public transport passes, or access to car-sharing services. Bonuses are distributed based on yearly income, with the lowest earners receiving the full total. Any funds not spent on transportation must be returned to the city authorities.

    The bonus has now been available for over 15 years, with the transition reward jumping from 500 euros to 900 euros in this time; however, damaged vehicle funding is no longer offered. Bruxell’air is now under the supervision of the city’s environmental authorities who will monitor the successful rollout of the fund and prevent any fraudulent activities.

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