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Taxis and rental cars in cities in The Netherlands to be zero-emission by 2025

The Netherlands is to restrict all newly registered taxi and rental cars in the big cities to zero-emission vehicles after 2025. Other parts of the country are allowed until 2030. This comes about after the policy decision to allow municipalities to introduce zero-emission zones in cities, however these zero-emission zones can now also include taxis.

The agreement has been signed by the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Tilburg municipalities alongside Uber, SchipholTaxi, Bolt and Leaseplan representing the industry. The Amsterdam municipality starts ahead of the curve as they have already introduced taxi ranks which only zero-emission taxis can use. Amsterdam Schipol Airport has also introduced these zero-emission zones in its taxi ranks.

The zero-emission vehicles can include battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs). The policy provides different amounts of time to transition to a zero-emission vehicle, depending on the age of the vehicle. Newer vehicles are allowed a longer time period to change as they have already recently invested money into their business. This is also due to the fact that there are no subsidies planned to help in switching to the new vehicle.

The reasons behind our congested cities

Congestion is a major concern for cities and regions across Europe and beyond. Many approaches have been sought to attempt to control and manage traffic flows in order to improve liveability, air quality and economic indicators.

Congestion is caused by a supply and demand imbalance: more cars are on the road than space on the road allows. Depending on the time of day, and the surrounding population and workforce densities, and the conditions of the road and its intersections, demand for the roadway can increase up to and beyond the point of saturation—when the volume of cars using the road is greater than the capacity of the road.

There have been major efforts to tackle congestion by planners, engineers, politicians- from simple road signage to more complex data-driven platforms. Whilst many have succeeded, others have failed to account for negative externalities—the social, economic, and environmental problems they create.

However, there are a variety of reasons for congestion- which are not related to driver behaviour. Understanding congestion mitigation requires understanding its science and politics. Congestion is notoriously difficult to model in a scientific setting. Scientists have been studying congestion—presenting and refining models, and suggesting further research.

Driving cars is an obvious cause. Many people have few alternatives to driving, much of the world’s built environment has been planned and designed to be driven, and new roadway capacity induces driving. Parking also induces driving, and drivers add to driving distances and congestion while searching for parking.

Lack of safety is also a key reason- and a high number of crashes adds to congestion. In 2021, 40,000 people died in traffic collisions in the United States. That figure is relatively small compared to the total number of collisions every year. More than 12 million vehicles were involved in crashes, fatal or not, in 2019.

Road capacity is also a core reason. A lack of road capacity is the most common explanation for persistent congestion, and thus more roadway capacity is the most commonly proposed solution. However, adding capacity does not reduce congestion- as outlined by the concept of induced demand. The underlying demand for driving exceeds the road space available, so building more roads induces more traffic. Congestion soon returns but with more vehicles affected than before.

This is augmented by urban sprawl which also adds to congestion- as distance between domestic, work and other activities is widened.

Traffic flow actions also affect congestion in negative and positive ways. Transportation engineers have numerous methods for redesigning streets to improve traffic flow and speed up traffic. While straightening and widening roads can provide short-term relief from congestion during peak commute hours and increase vehicle speeds during off-peak hours, the improvements on average are not enough to overcome induced demand or the risks introduced by high-speed drivers.

Traffic flow is also impacted by traffic controls—including intersections, stop signs, stop lights, yield signs, lane merges, and toll collections, to name a few examples. Traffic controls can create congestion by creating traffic bottlenecks and resulting shockwave effects. Conversely, traffic congestion can also be mitigated by improving, removing, or adding traffic controls.

More technologically enabled traffic control (such as traffic light synchronisation and real time traffic sensors) may not be as effective as assumed for reducing congestion. For example in Los Angeles, which was one of the first cities to synchronise all traffic signals, was found by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, to fail to solve congestion in the city.

However, an increasing number of cities, counties, and even a few states are beginning to design new and existing streets with traffic safety as the primary concern instead of traffic flow, prioritising “traffic calming” measures like speed bumps, high-visibility crosswalks, protected bike lanes, and road diets (i.e., removing vehicle lanes to make space for alternative modes and traffic calming features). The shift from prioritising traffic safety over traffic flow is an ongoing experiment with inconsistent levels of adoption, but it’s gaining traction in the planning profession.

Climate Governance in the framework of the SUMP process focusing on climate mitigation planning

In the EU, the absolute and relative average Green House Gas (GHG) emissions caused by mobility in general (and urban mobility more specifically) has increased since 1990, as opposed to most other sectors of the economy. The share of GHG emissions of urban mobility varies now between about 25 and 40% of total urban GHG emissions.

The European Commission strongly encourages cities to use a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) as a proven, established multi-sectoral framework for effectively tackling all common urban mobility challenges, including congestion, pollution and climate change.

JASPERS supports the establishment of SUMPs in several countries and cities. Climate aspects of urban mobility are taking an increasing role in this advisory activity, and the necessity and urgency to define climate action objectives in SUMPs have become an explicit subject to JASPERS advice in several cities and regions.  Furthermore, the EIB as the EU Climate Bank requires a solid strategic basis to define climate-proof urban mobility investments during the appraisal process of lending requests.

Dedicated SUMP guidance is urgently needed to support municipalities in addressing Climate Change Mitigation. JASPERS has developed specific technical notes to support its advisory work for individual SUMPs. This approach and experience may serve as a basis for a broader guidance document, which should also include procedural requirements and ways to provide decision-makers with the appropriate tools.

One of the most important topics related to mitigating climate change will subsequently make the subject of a knowledge consolidation workshop organised on 20 May 2022, 09:00 – 12:00 CET.

The goal of this webinar is for cities and regions to share their experience and knowledge regarding the engagement of stakeholders from different sectors, new collaborative practices among diverse stakeholders, and governance coalitions for climate mitigation in the transport sector. If you are interested in participating in this workshop and taking part in an open and interactive discussion within the group of experts and EIB JASPER, you can register here.

This workshop will comprise a mixture of case studies, group and plenary discussions focusing on governance for climate mitigation planning, integration, and cooperation with the non-transport sector in the planning process.

Climate mitigation as a cross-cutting and cross-sectoral issue is of relevance and interest to a wide range of stakeholders, who can greatly support it through engagement and participation in the climate mitigation action. Therefore, it is important to understand who the key stakeholders are and what their interests, responsibilities and positions are from the beginning of the climate planning process to develop an appropriate stakeholder management strategy.

Moreover, regional- and national-level governance of urban mobility in the context of climate change plays an important role in coordinating and supporting local actions, especially for small municipalities. Numerous international, European and national city networks play an important role in helping their members exchange knowledge and experiences and providing support to act on climate change in the transport sector.

The detailed agenda of this workshop will be shared with you upon registration.

To register for this webinar please see here.

Contact points

Jochen (Joachim) Schneider, EIB (JASPERS), E-Mail: j.schneider@eib.org

Susanne Böhler-Baedeker (Rupprecht Consult), E-Mail: s.boehler@rupprecht-consult.eu

Testing 5G-enabled CAM functionalities in cross-border scenarios: 5G-MOBIX public demonstration across the Greece -Turkey border

Is it possible for a truck to cross the busy Greek -Turkish border seamlessly, without (any action from the) driver or requirement to stop? The Greek and Turkish partners of the 5G-MOBIX project demonstrated that connected and automated mobility (CAM) is not some futuristic scenario but is occurring now, even under challenging circumstances such as crossing hard land borders.

Connected automated mobility use cases come with challenging connectivity requirements, 5G cellular technology is deployed at the right time to fulfil these requirements – at least in metropolitan centres. In rural areas or along motorways across borders, the deployment is slower due to lower population densities and thus, lower commercial investment incentives for mobile network operators (MNOs).

The 5G-MOBIX project consortium, which brings together 58 partners from 13 countries, including from the EU, Turkey, China, and South Korea, has developed and evaluated automated vehicle functionalities using 5G core technological innovations along two cross-border corridors and several urban trial sites. The Greece- Turkey cross-border corridor is one of them. Located on the south eastern border of Europe, between Kipoi, Greece and Ipsala, Turkey, this trial site provides a strategic geopolitical environment, a pertinent testing ground for the operation of CAM use cases at a hard EU border.

During the demonstration on 10 May 2022, the Greece-Turkey trial site partners presented different user stories and showcase the impact of tested solutions that target the specific characteristics of this dynamic border route. More specifically, the demonstrations showed how the heavy commercial traffic in this border region – created by large numbers of queuing trucks – may be alleviated by implementing platooning, automated truck routing and assisted border crossing.

These field trials bring insights into the benefits of 5G in the CAM context. Various protocols, scenarios and 5G features have been tested under conditions of regular vehicular traffic, network coverage, service demand, as well as considering the inherently distinct legal, business, and social aspects at each site. Their performance is being evaluated in the context of cross-border challenges concerning telecommunication infrastructure, application security, privacy and regulatory issues.

“CAM traffic, especially commercial long haul traffic, is fundamental to a functioning economy and society, and is not bound to single countries,” says Coen Bresser, Senior Manager Innovation & Deployment at ERTICO-ITS Europe and 5G-MOBIX project coordinator. “Realizing seamless border crossings really is key to the success of CAM. Only by solving the current coverage gap can we realize the full benefits of CAM and with the emerging deployment of 5G, we have a key opportunity to fix it.

Link to the full press release

Dynaxibility4CE Final Conference

After more than two years the Dynaxibility4CE project is coming to an end this year. Dynaxibility4CE supports public transport authorities to adjust and successfully developing new strategies and tools to make them key actors on the way towards less emissions and more mobility innovations.

The Final Conference of the Dynaxibility4CE project will take place on 17 May at the GaRaGe (Karl-Heine-Straße 97) in Leipzig, Germany. The conference, which will be held in the same week as the ITF 2022, will give you the opportunity to learn more about the achievements of Dynaxibility4CE related to MaaS, CCAM and UVAR. 

You can register here: Dynaxibility4CE Final Conference | polisnetwork.civi-go.net

Bulgaria preparing law to promote electric vehicles

Bulgaria is set to draft a new law to encourage electric mobility and provide incentives to buy electric vehicles. Plans for the new law were announced by Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policy and Minister of Environment, Borislav Sandov in April. According to the Minister, the goal is to have at least 30,000 electric vehicles in Bulgaria by 2026..

Data from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory shows Bulgaria lags behind most European countries in terms of electric mobility. Some 3.3% of new passenger car registrations in 2021 were either battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), while the share in the total fleet was 0.1% in the same year. In comparison, the average shares for the EU were 17.9% and 1.6% respectively.

Affordability is one major reason for the low uptake of electric vehicles in Bulgaria. Average prices for electric vehicles are higher than those for conventionally fuelled vehicles and average household income in Bulgaria is among the lowest in the EU. Unlike many other EU countries, electric vehicle purchases are not yet subsidised in Bulgaria – however, this is about to change.

Bulgaria’s Operational Programme Environment 2021-2027, which is EU co-funded, includes a measure to promote the replacement of old passenger vehicles with electric vehicles, providing a subsidy of up to EUR 6,200 per vehicle replaced. In addition, Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan also includes financial incentives for zero-emission vehicles.

A second major barrier for the uptake of electric vehicles is the lack of charging infrastructure. It is a classic chicken and egg dilemma where the lack of charging infrastructure deters people and business to buy electric vehicles, while the low number of electric vehicles deters investment in sufficient charging infrastructure.

According to Minister, Sandov, “Construction of charging infrastructure and electrification of vehicles will be accelerated, which will bring Bulgaria closer to the European long-term goals for greenhouse gas emissions reduction.” He stated that 10,000 charging stations should be built so everyone can charge their electric car. “This will create a dense charging network that focuses on the main areas where charging stations are needed, including 20-30 fast charging hubs on major roads. Public charging points for electric cars will be built in the central parts of more than 50 cities, as well as in large residential areas.”

A specialised commission for the development and encouragement of e-mobility will be appointed by the Government by the end of June 2022. It is to prepare a model of simplified regulation to encourage the construction of charging stations, while a long-term vision for the new law is going to be ready in the autumn.

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Maribor launches a bike sharing system “Mbajk”

The Slovenian city of Maribor has joined the group of cities that provides a public bicycle sharing service for its residents and visitors. The new system is called Mbajk and includes 210 bicycles based at 21 stations located in the broader area of the city centre.

Mbajk is designed to be used by those wanting single-ride hires within the city, and so is a scheme that complements public transport services, instead of those looking for multi-hour or full-day bike rental. Consequently, the first hour of any trip is free of charge for an unlimited number of hires.

Bicycles can be picked up at any station and left at any station. Renting a bicycle is undertaken either at a station’s terminal or by using the Mbajk mobile app. The only cost for people cycling less than 1 hour each time is a yearly registration fee of 3 euro; registration is undertaken on the service’s website.

Mbajk will operate all day, every day. The city of Maribor has a fixed 15-year contract with Europlakat, which provides 15 stations and 150 bicycles, with the remainder being provided by additional partners.

Saša Arsenovič, Mayor of Maribor, believes that the bicycle sharing service will see further expansion in the future.

Photo Credit: Roman Babakin © / Shutterstock.com – no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.

Article published first at total slovenia news on 21 April 2022.

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Cycling is still on the rise in Brussels

Brussels is continuing to see an increase in the number of cyclists in the city. In the first two months of 2022, the number of cyclists in the Belgian capital has increased significantly compared to 2021: the growth in January and February 2022 was 25% and 32%, respectively, according to Brussels Mobility. The growth is being driven by dedicated active travel planning, which is continuing to be expanded.

Bike traffic has significantly increased during the weekday rush hour, and also in the evening and at night, especially at weekends. This is partially a result of the relaxation of health measures, which is seeing more people go out to restaurants and bars and using their bicycles to do so.

This builds on an ongoing effort across the capital to encourage active travel, which began even before the pandemic. Bike for Brussels, launched in 2017, aimed to create a ‘bike culture’ through a range of campaigns. Since 2020, like many cities across the globe, Brussels enhanced its (temporary and permanent) cycling infrastructure and rolled out a range of initiatives to encourage bike travel, including additional cycle lanes, repair centres and car free neighbourhoods.

In 2021, Brussels announced its intention to go even further, aiming to push cycling to 10% of total journeys by 2030. This is one of the objectives of ‘Good Move’, the region’s mobility plan, which won the European Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in 2020.

“Cycling is good for your health in several ways: it reduces traffic jams and therefore stress, and it improves air quality,” Elke van den Brandt, Brussels Minister for Mobility, told Brussels Times. This echoes her comments at POLIS Network’s recent political group summit in Paris, where, along with leaders from cities across Europe, van den Brandt reiterated Brussels’ commitment to reallocating space towards active travel.

Brussels is emphasising the health aspects of cycling to encourage further uptake, with Brussels Mobility launching a campaign targeting the over-40s who are more likely to use their cars for short journeys. To kick off the campaign, an ‘Open Air Spinning’ event will be organised on 8 May in the city centre, offering fitness exercises on three emblematic cycle paths of the capital.

This article originally appeared on Brussels Times, on 19 April 2022.

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Planning for Attractive Public Transport: submit feedback now on the draft SUMP Topic Guide

The abrupt changes to our societies and economies introduced by the COVID-19 crisis have clearly had an impact on public transport, its attractiveness and how it is delivered with swift reactions and measures put in place by operators and authorities.

In designing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and attempting to secure resilient transport systems but also changing urban mobility patterns, public transport should be regarded as a critical challenge and made more attractive. Urban planners need to go beyond “business as usual” to achieve a tangible modal shift towards the most efficient and sustainable modes of transport and concretely tackle global warming.

In response to this, the second Policy Support Group of the CIVITAS ELEVATE Coordination and Support Action, with the involvement of 5 experts from selected organisations (International Association of Public Transport – UITP, European Passengers Federation – EPF, Technical University of Berlin – TUB, City of Gdynia, Gothenburg Transport Operator) the CIVITAS Policy Advisory Committee and the CIVITAS ELEVATE consortium members TRT and Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUAS),  has prepared a draft SUMP Topic Guide that provides guidance on public transport in the mobility planning and implementation process in order to achieve more attractive public transport.

The Topic Guide proposes best practice and key messages for planning for public transport, with the goal of supporting cities in achieving a shift towards more public transport and active modes through better planning.

With the launch of the draft Topic Guide, the public is invited to participate in a consultation process, which will allow stakeholders to contribute to the development of the Guide, as well as ensure that it is relevant to all urban mobility actors.

The draft document is available for download here

Feedback can be sent to Vanessa Holve at holve@trt.it until Friday 13 May 2022 at 17:00.

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Horizon Europe calls for funding launched

On 28 April 2022, the European Commission launched several calls for funding & tenders under Horizon Europe cluster 5, which is focused on climate, energy and mobility.

Two calls for funding have been made active under the destination “Safe, Resilient Transport and Smart Mobility services for passengers and goods”. Further information on the scope and expected outcomes of projects can be found below.

A third call for funding has been launched under the Climate neutral and smart cities mission. The aims of this mission are to involve local authorities, residents, businesses, investors as well as regional and national authorities to deliver 100 climate neutral and smart cities by 2030, and ensure that these cities act as innovation hubs to lead the way for other cities to follow suit by 2050. Further information on the call for funding can be found below:

The deadline for submission for the three calls is 6 September 2022 17:00 Brussels time.