Important conclusions on achieving behavioural change in mobility presented at webinar
Thematic webinar organized by ODRAZ, CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-SEE Network Secretariat, was held on December 13, 2022. More than 50 participants tuned in to hear about the topic of changes in behaviour and habits in the context of urban mobility. The webinar included thematic presentations on implemented mobility measures that influenced change in human behaviour.
Based on a few inspirational examples from the EU and CIVITAS as well as Croatian and Slovenian cities, participants had the chance to exchange experiences and examples of good practice about this very important topic when it comes to improving the quality of life in cities. The webinar was led by Magdalena Makar from ODRAZ, who introduced all attendees to the topic of the webinar.
Participants’ interest in the topic was prompted by answering several questions with the help of the tool sli.do. The participants rated their sustainability in mobility as very good, and even 61% of them expressed that they walked when performing their daily activities that day. What bothers the participants the most in everyday traffic are traffic jams and the impact of traffic on health. Along with air and noise pollution and traffic accidents, these are the negative impacts of automobilization, which are still on the upward trend, in urban areas.
To achieve climate neutrality goals of the EU and lower greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, it is necessary to change our habits and behaviour in everyday movement, especially for shorter distances. Good transport and spatial solutions focused on people, not cars, which include reliable and comfortable public transport and adequate pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, are extremely encouraging. An overview of specific activities undertaken by individual cities followed in the continuation of the webinar.
Nina Mia Čikeš from the City of Zagreb spoke about the role of street art in mobility and the expansion of pedestrian zones in Zagreb. Along with several other European cities, the city of Zagreb joined the Asphalt Art initiative, which includes painting the streets and parts of the traffic infrastructure with the aim of improving street safety and revitalizing public space.
Fred Dotter from the Belgian organization Mobiel 21 thinks that messages are as strong as infrastructure. For a transition to sustainable modes of travel a combination of infrastructural measures and informative campaigns as well as continued citizen education is needed. The CIVITAS Initiative, that he presented, is one of the leading programs that has been helping the European Commission and cities to achieve the goals of sustainable mobility and transport for the last 20 years. New trends suggest that people are more motivated to change when there is a possibility of a reward and, of course, when they are included in making decisions. Lastly, he highlighted the importance of keeping people informed, interested, engaged, and inspired in making a change in mobility because they themselves are in the end, a part of mobility.
Neighbouring Slovenia has a very rich experience in the implementation of projects in the field of sustainable mobility, and the webinar was an opportunity to learn about concrete measures and activities that were implemented in Ljutomer and Velenje. In both cases, the involvement of citizens in these changes was an indispensable part of the process.
Mojca Balant from The Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia presented how impacts of a SUMP measure affected redesigning of streets in a neighbourhood in Ljutomer. The period of monitoring and assessment of the impact of measures after implementation is the past six years. Measures in the Ljutomer neighbourhood resulted in an increase of pedestrians by 14 % and cyclists by 8 % and improved the quality of life of citizens by 13 %. In addition, the average speed in that neighbourhood also decreased, as did the number of cars. One of the more important conclusions of the presentation of this example is that the measures implemented at the micro level benefit from the SUMP methodology.
Nela Halilović from the Institute for Spatial Policies used the example of Rudarska Street in Velenje to present temporary measures in traffic regulation. Citizens were involved in the entire process, which is both desirable and challenging. However, with small steps and a clear goal, it is possible to do a lot. A clear methodology and goal of turning a street for cars into a street for people for two weeks was highlighted. The process began with an analysis of the current situation in the street, and measures were proposed to calm the traffic and regenerate the street, as well as to solve parking issues.
In the discussion, it was pointed out that in the transition period it is very important to include experts in communication with citizens so that they can clarify all doubts. Changes are, of course, possible with persistence in implementation and clear communication. This is shown by the example of Ljubljana, where after 15 years of work on improving urban mobility, everything is still not perfect, but the changes are visible and significant.
The presenters’ advice is that the implementers of the measures believe in change and surround themselves with a good team of people and experts who support the idea and the goal. In that case, success is guaranteed. The results are not visible overnight because the process involves multiple stakeholders. Some changes are visible in 10 to 15 years, therefore, it is necessary to approach solving the issue of urban mobility patiently and break down the measures into smaller steps.
Citizens who are the end users of the new measures and who need to change their habits for the general good should be constantly inspired, motivated, and included in the planning process. The emphasis is on high-quality mutual communication and cooperation. In the process of transformation consistency and continuity of the implementation of measures that contribute to their acceptance and improvement of urban mobility in the long term are also emphasized.
The webinar recording is available on the ODRAZ YT channel for anybody who missed it.
Webinar is organized as part of the CLIMASUM project activities. This project is a part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) of Germany.