1st Austrian networking event in June 2014

1st Austrian networking event in June 2014

In June, the first of three ENDURANCE Network Meetings was held in Graz. During this meeting, the participants received information on the latest SUMP-developments at EU level.

To improve the framework conditions for SUMPs on the Austrian level, the Austrian Energy Agency is conducting a series of national networking events. The purpose of these events is to actively assist cities in the development or improvement of their SUMP process. The events address city representatives responsible for urban planning and mobility experts, researchers or any other professionals working in the field of sustainable urban mobility.

At the first meeting, the entire SUMP process was then presented and discussed with reference to specific implementation examples from Vienna, Graz and Bolzano. Furthermore the ADVANCE audit, a practical tool for improving Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) in cities and municipalities, was introduced. It provides a systematic evaluation method and guidance, shows the potential for a (even more) successful SUMP thus helping cities to develop and improve the quality of their existing mobility plans towards a sustainable urban mobility plan.

About 25 participants including urban and transportation planners and mobility experts attended the meeting and shared their experiences, points of view and contributed to lively discussions. It has been an important event for networking and exchange of experience among city representatives.

Very interesting and enriching were the implementation examples from Graz, Vienna and Bolzano:

1. Vienna: the redesign of the Mariahilfer Straße
Vienna’s main shoppng mile was redesigned in a way, that two traffic lanes (formerly constantly jammed with traffic) were removed completely and about 400m of the 1.6km long street was realized as pedestrian zone (with cycling allowed) and the rest was designed as shared space. Pedestrian zones liven up the streets and facilitate social integration. One of the things that Jan Gehl, a Danish architect and urban planner, has been representing for many years. He recognized early on: "Who creates an infrastructure for cars, ultimately finds more cars. But where there are spaces for traveling on foot, more people are walking." At the beginning comprehensive analysis of social space, shopping streets and traffic were performed, which formed the basis for the subsequent target definitions. Hence the first SUMP steps were already set. The involvement of the residents was an essential criterion during the planning process, an important feature in the context of sustainable urban mobility planning.

2. School Streets in Bolzano
This project has been implemented successfully 25 years ago despite initial resistance, especially from the parents. School streets consist on a temporary traffic block along streets usually very busy due to the presence of parents bringing or picking up their kids to/from school. With the introduction of these relatively simple measure kids safety is guaranteed, together with their transport autonomy and a relief on urban traffic. Meanwhile, about 80 percent of elementary school children come to school with means of public transport, cycling or walking. The statistics of the traffic accidents show that most of the children hurt were those who were taken to school by car. 2013, the number of injured children on the way to or from school almost went down to zero. The Municipality of Bolzano has introduced a truly successful project in cooperation with the municipal police, the involved schools and parents' associations, indicating that inclusive urban planning is also successful in practice.

3. Graz - City of short distances
Cycling against one-way streets, area-covering speed limit of 30 km/h: What is currently being implemented in many European cities gradually began very early in Graz. For decades the city relied on "Sustainable Mobility" and sustainability, especially by focusing on pedestrian, cycling and public transport. Due to this approach Graz has been and still is a role model for cities and regional projects when it comes to sustainable transport. To maintain this, the city has aligned its current mobility strategy to sustainability.

Contact: Nina Pickl

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