Mobility From Pasta to Mimosa: Summary of Major EU Transport Projects

From Pasta to Mimosa: Summary of Major EU Transport Projects

Tanja Polonyi
I can't imagine my daily life without my bike (and coffee)! But cycling often means fighting over space on the road with car drivers.  That's why I want cyclists and pedestrians to get the space they deserve. Give me green spaces, walkable streets, and fresh air!

We’re excited to introduce you to Trace and Isaac. You’re wondering who these people are? Isaac and Trace are names of EU projects, EU transport projects to be exact. Here’s a short introduction on how the EU is helping drive change in the transportation sector with its major EU transport projects. It will leave you hungry for more and reaching for the stars!

What Are EU Transport Projects?

First off, there are several EU projects promoting e-mobility and electric vehicles, but we haven’t included these. Instead, we focused on EU transport projects that are aiming to shift away from car use to sustainable mobility options or are encouraging physical activity in people’s daily lives.

Whilst some EU projects are not restricted to specific countries, most focus on a selection of regions, cities, or countries to compare how different approaches work in different geographical areas. 

Below, you’ll find a short summary of the major EU Transport projects that took place in recent years. It’ll give you a good understanding of the working methods and functions of these EU projects. If still available, we’ve included the project’s evaluation reports or handbooks for you to check out. 

Active Access

  • Goal: Aims to replace long car trips with short walking and cycling trips by encouraging people to look at what’s already in their local neighbourhood. It also aimed specifically at improving public health, tackling obesity and strengthen local communities.
  • Approach: Dissemination of information material like posters, brochures, YouTube clips of local areas to visit, fact sheets as well as capacity building, interactive training, and stakeholder involvement.
  • Participating cities: Graz, Tartu, Koprivnica, Harghita County, Budapest, Pomurje, Annecy/Haute Savoie, Aveiro, L’Alcudia, Nicosia, Bucharest, and Alba Iulia
  • Time frame: 2009 to 2012
  • Results: The project resulted in a 10% increase in adults taking part in the recommended weekly physical activity. 50.000 people were involved in the Active Access activities, 6 walking and cycling lobby groups have been established,

For specific results of the project, click here.

CYCLEWALK

  • Goal: The project supports the shift from car usage to cycling and walking over shorter distances. The goal is to improve the accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists with an interregional learning approach – sharing best practices and experiences in collecting data 
  • Approach: With study visits, technical working tables with stakeholders training, and technical and scientific advice provided by the Urban Cycling Institute, the project wants to introduce quality criteria for walking and cycling infrastructure.
  • Participating countries: Romania, Italy, Slovenia, Holland, Lithuania, Austria
  • Time frame: The project is still ongoing. It started 1st of January 2017 and will last until the 31st of December 2021.

Take a look at the action plans of CYCLEWALK cities!

FLOW

  • Goal: Reducing congestion by creating opportunities for more walking and cycling
  • Approach: FLOW specifically targeted politicians and other decision-makers to consider cycling and walking as a better alternative to motorised transport and to build a better understanding of congestion.
  • Participating cities: Munich, Lisbon, Gdynia, Budapest, Sofia, and Dublin 
  • Time frame: May 2015 to 2018
  • Results: Policies implemented in FLOW cities included bike-share systems, cycle routes, cycle to work campaigns, shared space in city centres. The project also developed an Impact Assessment Tool for follower cities.

For a better visual explanation of the FLOW project, check out this video. In 2017, three webinars were held to exchange expertise and experiences, and you can access the recordings here. More information on FLOW can be found on the project homepage and at Rupprecht Consult’s detail page.

ISAAC

  • Goal: The ISAAC project researched active travel behaviour to understand people’s motivation behind walking, cycling better, to develop evidence-based recommendations to achieve a modal shift (cycling, walking)
  • Approach: ISAAC worked across disciplines, combining research findings and expertise from health and care, environment, transport, urban planning, and traffic safety. In addition, surveys on mobility behaviour and motivation were conducted in all participating cities. 
  • Participating cities: Tilburg, Groningen, Ghent, Lège, Trondheim, Bergen, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, and Berlin
  • Time Frame: 2016 to 2018
  • Results: Within the project, the webtool PedBikePlanner was developed that helps planners to identify the most effective and appropriate measure to boost walking and cycling in their city. Based on local conditions, the tool advises on current travel patterns and modal split, road safety, the road environment, population, and policy ambitions. It provides tailored suggestions for appropriate interventions, considering several characteristics of cities, their ambitions and target groups related to modal shift.

You can access the PedBikePlanner webtool here.

MIMOSA

  • Goal: MIMOSA is short for the project’s motto: Making innovation in mobility and sustainable actions.
  • Approach: Five different cities worked together to learn from each other and explore new approaches to sustainable transport. The cities got guidance from the science and support team. Besides workshops and technical visits, there were awareness raising and communication campaigns and policy assessments, all focusing on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.
  • Participating cities: Bologna, Funchal, Gdansk, Tallinn, and Utrecht
  • Time Frame: October 2008 to February 2013 
  • Results: Through peer-to-peer sharing, the participating cities either found that other cities have already found solutions to similar problems, or that they face different problems related to similar measures. A search engine that focuses on sustainable mobility was created (connected to CIVITAS and other databases), and there’s a body of knowledge on ingredients for success regarding enabling cycling cities.

To see the results of the project, check out the before and after CIVITAS Brochure.

PACTE

  • Goal: PACTE (Promoting active cities throughout Europe) is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the EU. It aims to tackle physical inactivity and create Active Cities. An Active City is a municipality that enables and supports its citizens to be physically active in their daily lives.
  • Approach: Developing an evidence-based rating, evaluation process and a labelling system to reward municipalities for efforts and improvements.
  • Participating organisations: 9 inter-disciplinary partners collaborate on PACTE, ranging from the sport and citizenship think tank to the city of Liverpool, the European physical education association or the European cyclist’s federation.
  • Time Frame: 2018 to 2020
  • Results: PACTE found that in general, municipalities lack practical tools they can employ to help implement evidence-based policies, they lack partnerships/collaboration and mainly work in silos, they lack communication skills (resulting in a lack of awareness and implementation at the municipal level), and their approaches lack consistency. Focusing on the place where we spend most of our time, PACTE gives recommendations for Active Education, Active Mobility, and Active Workplaces. Recommendations include adopting a long-term Active Education/Active Workplace strategic development plan, awareness-raising campaigns (Walk and Cycle to School/Work campaigns, car-free days), investing in quality walking and cycling infrastructure, rethinking space allocation, appointing walking and cycling officers in cities, and partnering with stakeholders across departments and within civil society and the private sector. 

Do you want to apply these insights to your own city? Build your own action plan for your city with a survey on the PACTE website.

PASTA

  • PASTA stands for Physical Activity Through Sustainable Transport Approaches
  • Goal: The project was set up to find out what methods work to encourage active mobility and to support urban planners with arguments for active mobility
  • Approach: PASTA started with reviewing existing literature on active mobility to identify innovative measures to promote active mobility. Building on that, PASTA created an indicator set, did workshops and interview, and surveys in participating cities (14.000 survey replies)
  • Participating cities: Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Örebro, Rome, Vienna, Zurich
  • Time frame: 2013 to 2017
  • Results: A tool for health impact assessment was built. PASTA also created an indicator set to understand what constraints and supports active mobility in cities – this indicator was used in 7 cities, where 61 stakeholders were surveyed and 138 Active Mobility-promoting suggestions collated. 

You can access the Handbook of PASTA here and find more information on the project’s homepage.

STARS

  • Goal: STARS (Sustainable Travel Recognition and Accreditation for schools) aimed to increase the number of pupils cycling to and from school who would previously have been escorted by car.
  • Approach: STARS included an accreditation programme for primary schools (e.g. Gold, bronze star) for promoting cycling independently at the school, with STARS advisors giving tips and lesson plans. The project focused on peer-to-peer encouragement for secondary school. Each STARS school recruited youth travel ambassadors: students who are responsible for the campaigns and activities are encouraging others to cycle more. All STARS schools were encouraged to participate in a Cycle Challenge to track cycle trips and compete against each other.
  • Participating cities: London (Hackney), Edinburgh, Krakow, Budapest, Madrid, Milan, Brussels, Bielefeld, Province of Noord Brabant
  • Time frame: 2013 to 2016
  • Results: Hackney saw the world’s second-largest “bike bus”, missing out on breaking the world record by just eight riders. 16 out of 22 primary schools in Madrid carried out several routes of bike trains and walking buses, making this tool one of the best ones to encourage both pupils and parents to switch from car to bicycle/walking. During the City Cycling Bielefeld event, 939 STARS pupils cycled an impressive amount of 60.843 km.

Click here to read the Final Report of the STARS project and find the project’s homepage here.

SWITCH

  • Goal: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by switching from car trips to cycling and walking
  • Approach: Encourage people to switch using personalised information and communication technology, including apps and public health campaigns
  • Participating cities: Antwerp, Donostia, San Sebastian, London, Hounslow, Gdansk and Vienna
  • Time frame: June 2014 to May 2016
  • Result: The cities reported that the exchange with each other was helpful, and the combination of tailored contact and linking the campaign with local situations was crucial.

Campaign Guide and a Toolbox was created to help follower cities with the switch. Related knowledge of the project can be found here.

TRACE

  • Goal: The project developed behavioural change and data collection tracking applications to better plan and promote cycling and walking in cities.
  • Participating cities: Breda, Agueda, Southend on Sea Borough, Bologna, Esch, Belgrade, Plovdiv and Belgium
  • Time frame: 2015 to 2018
  • Results: Several tracking apps and tools were developed:
    • Biklio: a network of recognition and benefits to cyclists; linking them to local businesses and the cycling community
    • Positive Drive: tracks walking, cycling, car and public transport and rewards good mobility behaviour; GPS data helps to monitor, understand and nudge people towards more sustainable behaviour 
    • Traffic Snake Game: learn about better ways to get to school, reward system
    • TAToo tool: analyse collected cycling and walking data to give useful indicators on your city map

Biklio and Positive Drive are still available in your app store. More information can be found on the project’s homepage.

This is just a fraction of all the EU transport projects out there. If you want to find other projects, check out TRIMIS

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