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The mobility landscape is evolving before our eyes with new mobility options emerging and ICT enabling technologies able to provide users with unprecedented access to travel information or to provide unprecedented B2B, B2C, and C2C services. While a post-combustion mobility future is visible on the horizon, many of the new technologies (from EVs to micro mobility) and services are being developed by the private sector. Delivering a new multi-modal urban mobility system will therefore, in addition to better public transport, require innovative governance, including collaboration between the public and private sectors.

A new emphasis on collaboration is emerging due to the potential of shared mobility (ridesharing, carpooling, and shared light transport vehicles, including cars, bicycles, and scooters) to complement public transport and reduce reliance on private car ownership. Shared E-vehicles or soft mobility options can offer convenient and affordable options for the first and last miles of journeys. First mile/last mile transit options have relative benefits, walking is obviously the better option, with E-vehicles only relatively better than combustion engine vehicles, and there can be ‘wicked’ consequences. Park and ride systems for example can increase or decrease car use[1] and ridesharing is far less attractive if it displaces public transport. While there is a long way to go, there is a demand-side trend towards citizens seeing mobility as an on-demand service and as an alternative to owning a personal vehicle[2]. City planners are therefore interested in making the most of the opportunities arising from this promising ‘encounter’ between the supply (technology, services) and demand (behaviour, culture) sides of mobility provision.

A significant proportion of city traffic, pollution, and CO2 emissions comes from goods delivery vehicles. Here, different solutions are needed. In the specific case of multiple small shipments to city centre shops, for example, Gothenburg has developed a ‘consolidation centre’ approach[3]. In this approach, small shipments, which studies showed made up a large proportion of deliveries destined for city centre shops, are delivered to an out-of-centre facility where they are loaded, with different small loads being consolidated onto shuttles, then delivered according to regular schedules. Moreover, technological progress is offering city planners new possibilities in some segments of the freight sector (deliveries by drone for example). The point here is that projects aimed at putting in place new forms of mobility, whether for personal transit or goods shipments, cities can usefully engage with the private sector, as this is where the technologies are being developed

The UIA survey of projects in Albertslund, Lahti, Ghent, Toulouse Metropole, and Szeged shows that cities are engaging in multi-stakeholder collaboration and that innovative collaborative arrangements have become part of the everyday policy toolkit for delivering sustainable mobility in these cities. This chapter presents the UIA survey findings from the 5 UIA cities, with a focus on personal transit, with respect to their feedback on the following topics:

  • Shared visions for urban transport;
  • Collaboration and participation;
  • Existing urban mobility regulations;
  • Collaborating in initiatives and programmes such as the UIAs.
 

[1] European Environment Agency (EEA), 2019, Report N°18, 2019, page 58.

[2] KPMG, Mobility 2030: Transforming the mobility landscape, page 7.

[3] European Environment Agency (EEA), 2019, Report N°18, 2019, page 64/65.

Toulouse, France - COMMUTE

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The Toulouse Métropole and its municipalities have worked with private sector partners on mobility for many years. This has resulted in shared visions and partnership-based mobility action plans. Toulouse’s UIA supported COMMUTE project similarly uses a partnership-based approach to mobility management.

Tisséo-Collectivités, which operates at the conurbation scale, is the mobility managing authority for the Metropole. It has responsibility for land-use planning and for the quality of transport service provision. Collaboration is at the heart of its approach to managing urban mobility.

The Metropole’s first mobility plan was developed in partnership with Airbus in 2001. Since then, Tisséo-Collectivités has worked with stakeholders to promote eco-mobility in the Toulouse conurbation, including the provision of mobility services such as car sharing, logistics, free-floating bicycles and scooters, carpooling, etc. The private sector stakeholders play an important role. More recently, as part of its Smart City approach, the Métropole has worked with local start-ups to test and sometimes roll out new services, such as Ze-Watt (electric mobility), Iodines (car sharing), or Easymile (self-driving shuttle), etc.

Toulouse’s use of ‘PPPs’ or public-private partnerships (e.g., on car sharing) or infrastructures (e.g., transport hubs) also enables the city to avoid the full financial burden falling on the public purse. Albertslund is also eager to exploit this potential. Toulouse believes that such partnerships are best used on a case-by-case basis, depending on how best to meet the needs of users. PPPS can be challenging. In the field of integrated mobility, Tisséo-Collectivités (TC) has found that the greatest challenge was to find agreement with all partners on what the needs are and that public and private sector perspectives could differ in this regard.

The Metropole’s Mobility Project 2020.2025.2030 is worth mentioning as it used a co-construction approach involving public bodies, not-for-profits, companies, and the general public. The project included three consultation phases. A first to present the issues and objectives, a second to consult on the structure and content of the action plan, and a third to present the action plan to the general public prior to the public inquiry. There was a strong outreach effort throughout each of the three phases, mainly via digital networks, as it was felt that ‘face-to-face’ meetings between the public and decision-makers are not always conducive to constructive exchange.

Toulouse Métropole not only uses a multi-stakeholder approach to develop, improve, and promote mobility services, but also to achieve related goals, such as road safety awareness activities. Toulouse also boasts a ‘Laboratoire des Usages’, which is a centre for open exchange designed to facilitate citizen participation in a wide range of development topics.

The UIA-supported COMMUTE project, which aims to reduce commuter traffic to the city’s airport area, gives an insight into the success factors of collaborative working. The project enjoyed strong support from political leaders before it was even adopted, and they have actively contributed to delivering it. Their backing gave the project extra impetus and generated reciprocal commitment from business partners, who are key to the success of the project. The dialogue between the Metropole and employers, each contributing with their own skills and insights, led to the development of a pragmatic action plan closely aligned with the mobility needs of employees.

Like Szeged, Toulouse’s COMMUTE project shows that collaboration with private companies works and can reveal opportunities. Companies had been hesitant to share data within the project, yet they came to perceive more benefits than risks, which made a common goal and strategy possible. This translated into a large-scale coordinated, contractualised action plan, including, inter alia, a major car-sharing scheme and a teleworking initiative.

In the context of a rapidly evolving mobility landscape, agile leadership is also an advantage as Tisséo-Collectivités demonstrated in COMMUTE. While cycling was not initially included within the scope of the project, in the course of implementation, partners ‒ especially from the private sector ‒ identified a real interest from their employees for an initiative of this kind. The scope of the COMMUTE was consequently widened to include an initiative on cycling.

In December 2019, France introduced a new legislative framework in a Loi d’orientation des mobilités[1] (2019 Mobility Act). This Law includes a provision for local mobility plans.

 

[1] French Law : Loi d’orientation des mobilités. The Act provides for substantial investment to improve mobility in cities, including support for capitalizing on the digital revolution, greener transport services, recharging stations for EVs, low-emissions zones, and proposes a 2040 target date for the end of combustion engine cars.

Toulouse Métropole has drawn up a Goods Movement Plan, which aims to be a strategic, operational, and cross-cutting planning document on the scale of the metropole, with a focus on the problems of logistics and goods transport. The plan also uses a collaborative approach with the private sector and aims to modernise freight transport service provision. Having experienced the benefits of the COMMUTE project, Toulouse believes that a contribution from Europe could help it to improve its logistics infrastructure for freight. It is particularly interested in collaborating with European partners with a logistics mandate/function to address questions of governance and policy when the functional territory of a large conurbation exceeds the administrative limits of the ‘central’ metropolis.

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Lahti, Finland - CitiCAP

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Lahti is united by a shared vision to become carbon neutral and is working towards this goal on multiple fronts. Numerous initiatives are underway to green the city, which is set to be the EU’s Green Capital in 2021.

 

Lahti enjoys high levels of stakeholder participation. In developing the vision for the city’s Sustainable Urban mobility Plan (SUMP), for example, the city involved citizens from the very start of the process. Citizens helped to draw up the plan’s overall objectives and their participation continued through to the design of individual projects, e.g., via dedicated workshops.  As a result, citizen’s support the SUMP’s objectives, which in turn has generated support from elected and non-elected officials.

Like Toulouse, Lahti sees improving mobility as a way of keeping people in the city and enhancing its liveability ‒ and sees collaboration as essential to achieving this. Also like Toulouse, Lahti found explaining the city’s objectives to the private sector challenging in the sense that cities have long-term objectives, while the private sector tends to have shorter-term ones. In its UIA project CitiCAP, both public and private sectors had short-term objectives, which facilitated agreement on objectives and delivery. In a manner that is emblematic of the Finnish culture of collective ownership, CitiCAP takes a co-creative approach. This can be seen in what is Europe’s first Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) scheme. From designing the scheme to using the service, the PCT Scheme was co-designed with citizens and businesses and was trialled with users and city officials to examine usability and detect and overcome problems prior to full rollout.

On the infrastructure side of the overall project, Lahti’s citizens were also given an opportunity to contribute to the planning of a cycle highway. Target groups included young people, seniors, entrepreneurs, and other groups. This enabled the city to ensure that the project would meet the needs of all its citizens. While this stakeholder consultation process met some challenges, which led to slight implementation delays to the cycle superhighway, the city has embraced these, as it believes that the co-creation element of CitiCAP has proved the benefits of involving citizens and businesses in policymaking.

In implementing CitiCAP’s Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) scheme, Lahti found that progress and buy-in benefited from less formal methods. In other words, the better partners understand, know, and trust each other, the less formal contractual agreements are needed ‒ and the lower formality in the relationships supports ad hoc coordination and co-creation. This is thought to have been a key success factor in CitiCAP; not only in keeping costs down, but in fostering the essential involvement of local businesses and SMEs in the project.

Lahti reported a lack of national legislation or guidelines on sustainable mobility planning in Finland[1]. Only the Helsinki region has an official transport plan based on national legislation. However, many Finnish city-regions have plans that are similar to the EU’s SUMP model. Lahti and the CitiCAP project overcame this gap in the legal framework by capitalising on Lahti’s Master Plan.  The Master Plan is drawn up by the city’s planning department and the process also involves city officials from other fields of city administration and policy areas. It can be viewed as a forum for discussing the future development of the city, in which all stakeholders play an important role and citizens have a chance to give their views on the plan at various stages of the process.  The Plan is updated every four years (the elected council’s term of office).  As soon as the plan is ratified by the city council, planners start to revise it as each newly elected council determines the goals for the new plan and approves the final plan during the last year of its term. This is meant to increase the Plan’s ability to address city planning issues, including land-use planning, in an agile way.

A new planning round started in 2017 with the final plan is due to be approved in 2020. Through the CitiCAP project, the SUMP process is being integrated into this planning cycle for the first time.  In the Finnish context, this is seen a cutting edge as few cities combine city strategy work on SUMPs (which is voluntary) with the mandatory master planning process. This example shows that a voluntary European approach can be integrated with a national/local level process and also indicates that, given the ever-wider take-up of SUMPs around Europe, cities are increasingly adopting SUMPs to deliver sustainable mobility.

Collaboration, e.g., within EU projects such as UIAs

In an echo of the interest from Toulouse for further involvement in EU working, the Lahti case highlights the role that the EU is playing by providing support for policy development, technical assistance, and capacity building. Lahti officials participated in the EU’s SUMPs-Up training programme to support the development of a local SUMP, for example.

 

[1] National level support would appear to be less than suggested by the SUMPS-UP report. European Programme for Accelerating the Take-up of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, SUMPS-UP, SUMP in Member States, Civitas Report by Thomas Durlin, 2018, page36.

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Szeged, Hungary - SASMob

Despite initiatives to modernise public transport and provide alternative travel options, car use continues to rise in Szeged, Hungary’s third city. In 2017, in response to this secular trend, Szeged’s planners enhanced the city’s mobility policy with a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). The Plan uses Szeged’s participative approach to mobility policy, which has received special praise from CIVITAS[1]. The Plan also deploys a variety of instruments and places emphasis on stakeholder participation at all stages of policy development. Stakeholders include government departments, the public, as users, and employers, as influencers of commuter behaviour. The approach is ‘people-centred’, reaching out through surveys and questionnaires, or workshops, for example, and emphasizes co-creation. Szeged is engaged in a determined effort to reduce car use ‒ using a participative approach ‒ through:

  • Modernising public transport to make it more attractive;
  • Deploying regulation and incentives to reduce car parking at new buildings in the city;
  • Developing corridors for people to be able to walk or cycle to their destination.

As part of this policy effort, Szeged’s UIA SASMob project epitomises the city’s creativity and participative philosophy. SASMob has two main strands:

  • A data-based intelligent mobility application to inform users of available choices;
  • The negotiated creation of an Employers’ Pledge to reduce commuting;
  • Investment in green infrastructures (co-created cycle-ways).

Szeged identified employers as an entry point for engaging with employees who commute to work by car, as this group is a large and key component in traffic congestion. In this regard, the city’s basic goals are similar to those of Toulouse[2], although there are differences. Toulouse’s COMMUTE focuses on reducing the costs of congestion, whereas SASMob has a focus on quality of life as a factor recruitment, which has a mobility dimension[3]. Szeged, like Toulouse, found that when the benefits of alternatives to the ‘traditional commute’ were discussed and understood, employers found them compelling. The city is striving to encourage local employers take more measures and invest more to help make commuting in the city more sustainable and environmentally friendly (staggered working times, teleworking, cycling, etc.). Szeged has good topography for cyclists and the city hopes to build on the its natural advantages to make cycling even more appealing, including adding more employees to the growing ranks of cyclists.

To know more about this project, click here!

In this context, a local champion emerged during the project and was able to persuade employers of the importance of managing mobility. The Vice-Mayor of Szeged, a well-respected leader, personified the project, and this proved to be a key factor of success, especially for bringing business into mobility planning and successfully persuading this important group of stakeholders to commit to an ‘Employers Mobility Pledge of SASMob’. The Vice-Mayor had the vision and leadership skills to champion the project and persuade key groups to buy-into the vision[4].

Szeged found that the greatest challenge was the different corporate philosophies among the companies approached. For sustainability-minded employers (mostly multinational employers), the introduction of additional measures was generally straightforward. However, where the corporate culture was less open to change and sustainability, mobility was less of a priority.

This shows that skilful leadership ‒ advocacy ‒ can make a difference to perceptions and ultimately to transport outcomes. Kravalik (2019) notes the difference between Toulouse and Szeged on this point, where the Toulouse ‘model’ can be described as ‘very structured, concerted and hierarchical’ Szeged has relied more on, ‘changemakers, advocates, ambassadors’, or ‘influencers’ to build partnerships for mobility; the end result being effective partnerships in both cases.

The Szeged example also shows that when some companies lead the way, others may follow. There is evidence of emulation in SASMob and that it is amplifying the project’s impact. The gambit is that if companies are given an opportunity to review the costs and benefits, some may be encouraged to change and employers are a key ally in the sense that changing the mobility preferences of employees is extremely challenging, as SASmob’s own survey work reveals[5]. Enlisting employers, who may be able to enable or incentivize new behaviours, is clearly a strategy with potential.


[1] Article: Szeged’s SUMP and innovative mobility management, Michiel Modijefsky, Eltis, Feb, 2020.

[3] Zsuzsa Kravalik UIA Expert for SASMob Szeged project

[4] The CEMR/Urban Agenda argue that outreach/advocacy to raise awareness can help to change behaviours.

[5] Information from the UIA Szeged web page. How do we go to work and what would be the ideal way?

As part of the city’s overall mobility strategy, Szeged has put in place a local regulation to encourage property developers to limit the number of parking spaces at new office buildings in the city. Permits are conditional on presenting a mobility plan, which is revised every five years. This is used in inner city areas where public transport coverage is good. The city hopes that this regulation will serve as a signal to employers about the importance of reducing commuting to workplaces.

Szeged adopted a SUMP in 2017 and in addition to SASMob the city participates in the INTERREG central Europe LOW-CARB project.

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Ghent, Belgium - TMaaS

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Ghent has also adopted a people-centred approach to city planning. Its goals are ambitious. The city has undertaken detailed work on its performance in respect of all of the UN’s SDGs for example. The goals and the method are very clear, that policy should aim to improve the liveability of the city, and be designed on the basis of cooperation between stakeholders (including govt, academia, industry, and citizens, aka the quadruple helix[1]).

Ghent’s vision for mobility is to reduce car use and develop multimodality. To this end, the city is indeed harnessing the ‘quadruple helix’ approach in which stakeholders to support the innovation needed, and the role of collaboration in Ghent should be seen in this light.


[1] P. MORLION, E. MARLIER in 2nd Symposium on Management of Future motorway and urban Traffic Systems (MFTS 2018), pp. 136.

A recent example is the city’s strategic mobility vision ‒ comprising a parking plan in 2016, a circulation plan in 2017 and other initiatives designed to restrict access to the city centre for non-essential traffic. The circulation plan was designed by the city, and then discussed with citizens. The residents of the neighbourhoods concerned were invited to provide feedback. Ghent reported that it learned that residents were involved at too late a stage, when they could no longer influence the design of the plan. In 2020, Ghent revised the consultation process for the preparation of mobility plans for the city’s suburbs. In the revised process, residents were interviewed and invited to share their ideas on mobility in their neighbourhood at the start of the process. The COVID-19 crisis forced the city to organise online interactive webinars, nonetheless, residents provided significant feedback.

Ghent’s UIA project, TMaaS, aims to support the city’s shift to multimodal transit, a key element in the city’s ‘Strategic Mobility Vision 2030’. TMaaS is a digital platform (Link.Gent dashboard) that processes and presents transport information visually for the benefit of residents. Ghent organised the participation of traffic operators and residents as part of the platform’s development. As part of the first ‘research’ year of the project, residents were invited to keep a mobility diary and to provide their input to the consortium about the kind of information they would like to receive about their daily routes and in what way. Workshops were also organised to explore these questions and the dashboard was beta tested with users. Several demo sessions were organised for citizens to familiarise them with the platform, obtain their feedback and identify areas needing improvement. Following the development phase (consultation and technical development) the dashboard is now ready and being adopted (and adapted) to the needs of three other cities; Durán, Southwark, and Antwerp.

Ghent led the development of its TMaaS platform with a view to ensuring that, by steering private sector provision, the service serves the interests of residents. One problem was the rigidity of procurement procedures, particularly for estimating a budget for IT mobility solutions in a rapidly changing market. Ghent opted for a flexible procedure, avoiding traditional fixed budgets. In the TMaaS project, another issue was that while industry partners can be agile in their decision-making, city administrations must follow procedures and respect hierarchical constraints. Private partners also have different goals. Research partners tend be to more focused on research results, for example. While these differences were evident during the project, they were addressed, and compromises were found; private partners shifted their focus slightly and identified new tools they considered worth developing. According to Ghent ‘bringing two competitors into the same consortium has been an interesting experience: initially, the two companies were hesitant to share too much information with each other. Data sharing also led to new challenges: different data approaches between the two companies led to different aggregated data results’. Moreover, hopes to merge data about incidents and road works, initially planned under the project, proved too ambitious. However, after initially hesitating, these companies opened up, shared their data, and freely exchanged as members of the partnership. They contributed to discussions about the city’s needs and what was technically possible, thereby helping to develop the TMaaS dashboard. The partnership functioned as a co-creation space conducive to experimenting with the companies’ data to see to what extent different sets could be merged, including with data provided by the City. Collaboration not only helped to make extra data available, but also helped to create API[1]s to connect data with output platforms, and to display the data to users, citizens, and traffic managers. This open exchange and sharing might not have been possible in the context of a standard procurement procedure.

Like Lahti and Toulouse, Ghent also increasingly sees partnership with companies as key to solving mobility challenges. The ‘Spits. Gent’ partnership was put in place with companies in southern Ghent. This area has numerous mobility problems, which are exacerbated by the proliferation of industrial zones, which induce commuting. The city therefore approached all the companies in the area to discuss their mobility needs ‒ and their employees’ needs ‒ to see what the city could do to help promote more sustainable and efficient mobility practices.


[1] Application Programming Interface.

Ghent has several regulatory and other normative instruments in place to achieve its mobility goals and ensure compliance. In addition to a radical re-regulation of city centre traffic ‒ limiting access ‒ it has put in place;

  • An open data policy to govern collaboration with the private sector. While this led to some gains and some limited losses, Ghent’s experience shows that in the fast-emerging smart mobility market, collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as between companies, can create synergies;
  • Regulation of mobility service providers, such as shared bicycle suppliers. The goal is to regulate supply and therefore the number of shared bicycles, bicycle stops, etc. in the city;
  • Another idea being tested in Flanders (Ghent) is the closed street initiative[1], first used by Bolzano (Italy), which encourages drivers to avoid school zones between 8 and 10am, for example, with access limited to emergency services. The approach is includes close consultation with residents and users.
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TMass project, credits to Jerroen Willems

 

Albertslund, Denmark - LINC

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The map below shows the ambition of Copenhagen’s conurbation’s cycle superhighway route. The radials of the overall network resemble and hub and spoke model. To achieve this, a high degree of collaboration is necessary between municipalities making up the conurbation. The network design also clearly reflects the prioritisation of cycling as a major mode of travel[1]. There are currently 8[2] cycle superhighways, 17km-long Albertslund route was the first, with 8 more routes planned in the coming years and 45 planned in total.

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cycle superhighways in Copenhagen (Source: ICLEI, 2019)

The cycle superhighways are integral to Copenhagen’s SUMP and the approach includes participation from users, including volunteer groups, to support the upkeep of the routes, maintain their attractiveness, and propose improvements, all of which is facilitated by direct email, an app, and events. The city will fund ideas put forward by users in relation to green areas and the numerous tunnels in the city. This generates ownership and makes cycling a better and safer experience.

The collaboration underpinning the urban transport vision in the Copenhagen region is ambitious although to understand the both scale of the Danish vision (the UIA LINC pilot project, the multimodal strategy and decarbonisation using driverless E-buses, cycle superhighways, etc.) the LINC ‘arc’ has to be seen as part of the much longer-term Euroregional Oresund Loop City vision[3]. The Loop City is a multidecadal plan which will require deep and sustained collaboration on the cross-border scale. The plan is a long-term proposal to avoid uncontrolled urban sprawl, which can be both a cause and consequence of the domination of the private car[4]. This vision would be impossible to realise without close coordination between transport policy, land use policy, and other policies.

 

[1] Kristian Oleson (2017) Talk to the hand: strategic planning as persuasive storytelling of the Loop City, European Planning Studies, 25:6, 978-993, DOI:10.1080/09654313.2017/.1296936

[2] Achieving sustainable mobility in Europe’s towns and regions. Council of European Municipalities and Regions, (CEMR), page 8.

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the cross-border Loop (Source:  BIG Architects, 2017)

The UIA supported LINC light rail pilot project is trialling the driverless electric buses[1] that it is hoped will, in time, replace standard buses operating in the Copenhagen conurbation and which will connect to the light rail stations along the Danish arc of the proposed Loop. The Copenhagen light rail arc runs though the business districts situated along the western edge of the city. The Loop is much more than a transport network for commuters and residents; it is a vast corridor in which development can occur as an alternative to continued urban sprawl. This new multimodal system will serve both companies and future residential areas.

A wide partnership including Albertslund city, private companies, and local universities was put in place to deliver the LINC project and Albertslund funded the project officer posts essential to ensuring the effective running and facilitation of the Partnership. While the point is may seem prosaic, partnership working has a staffing/cost implication and this is not trivial.

Albertslund planners believe that the existing public transport infrastructure works well, with positive collaboration between different stakeholders (public authorities, the light rail LINC project, etc.). The main challenge, they believe, is in encouraging companies to use public transport more and supporting the effort to encourage their employees to use it. Albertslund notes that while the city can provide good facilities for cycling, and organise public participation, and while there has been a modal shift (23000 daily users; 14% of new cyclists used to travel by car[2]) it cannot force their residents to change their preferred mode of transportation. This is true, nonetheless, Alberstlund and readers could usefully study Szeged’s successful SASMob Employers Pledge in this regard and Toulouse’ COMMUTE similarly harnesses employers to initiate behaviour change.

In terms of the private sector contribution, with technology and as service providers, the LINC project shows that collaboration can bring in investment and technological solutions, enabling cities to meet their mobility objectives. One of the IT companies in the LINC project is also developing smart mobility services, such as tools for citywide carpooling services, locating free parking, and sharing information with public transport users. The city hopes that these will help residents to optimise their commute, thereby reducing traffic in the city. The aggregated data that is being collected should also help planners to better identify needs in the city more generally.

Albertslund believes that cities are in need of new financing models and that this will increasingly involve the private sector, which can bring in investment as well as expertise in exchange for market access. The city cites the example of the investment contribution of Nobina Denmark in the LINC project. LINC, and other UIA project cities such as Toulouse, show that cities can deploy PPPs (Public Private Partnerships), while safeguarding citizens’ interests, to develop or provide additional transport services.

Albertslund is now studying the potential of a PPP to help fund an EV charging network. Private companies have little incentive to set up a city-wide charging infrastructure, which means that the infrastructure is often located in public car parks. It is difficult for the city to design a traditional tender and a business model for charging infrastructure and it hopes that a PPP could encourage a private sector contribution. The PPP model would give the city a say in the emergence of this technology platform and such collaboration has proved successful[3] although it would also be useful to assess the feasibility of a conurbation-wide partnership on this particular issue. On the topic of financing e-charging infrastructures, it is worth noting the French government’s recent announcement that it will subsidise electric charging infrastructures on motorways. There is obviously a need for governments to consider how best to fund such large-scale infrastructures, whose costs be high.

 

[1] See also The EU-funded FABULOS (Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation Systems) project running pilots in Gjesdal (Norway), Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (The Netherlands).

[2] Cycle Superhighway Bicycle Account, Capital Region of Denmark, 2019

[3] White Paper, ‘Emerging best practices for electric vehicle charging, Hall and Lutsey, ICCT (International Council of Clean Transportation), October, 2017.

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Discussion points arising from the 5 UIA city surveys

The  Urban Agenda for the EU[1] and the mobility partnership in particular identifies collaboration in the sense of multi-level governance (MLG) as a key to delivering urban mobility services in EU cities. The Urban Agenda’s recommended that attention be paid to building cities’ capacities in three areas:

  • Legal: National authorities should ensure legal frameworks enable local authorities to implement SUMPs;
  • Planning: Appropriately constituted/resourced organisations are needed to deliver projects (i.e., project delivery teams with clear competencies); a clear plan and equal status on platforms for collaboration among municipalities;
  • Financial: National authorities should ensure that adequate financial support is available. A variety of EU funds can also provide support.

The Urban Agenda’s mobility partnership focus was on vertical and horizontal collaboration between public authorities responsible for a given functional area. The feedback from the 5 UIA cities indicates that, where necessary, the cities surveyed are:

  • Engaging in the horizontal collaboration (Toulouse and Albertslund, in the LINC);
  • Engaging in cross-sectoral planning, such as in spatial planning (although a silo effect remains in some cases in relation to data integration);
  • Interested in further EU working (Toulouse).
 

[1] The Urban Agenda for the EU was officially established by the Pact of Amsterdam, agreed by the EU Ministers responsible for urban matters in May 2016. Urban mobility - Reinforcing multi-level cooperation and governance (Urban Agenda for the EU), Euro Cities & CEMR, 2020.

This includes public sector (metropolitan and cross-departmental) collaboration. In line with the Urban Agenda, several of the surveyed cities affirm the lead role of the public sector as the accountable partner. The CEMR/Urban Agenda studies call for national governments to enable cities with conducive national policy frameworks and investment[1], to creating the conditions in which cities can act[2]. The recent French Mobility Law is an example of this. The public sector is uniquely placed to both direct change (through re-regulation) and engage in cooperation to ensure coherent and consistent mobility strategy at the functional area scale. Some cities have regulatory powers. The use of local regulations, such as in the Ghent case, to shape private sector provision as part of a multimodal project is an important policy tool in terms of influencing the modal split, which amounts, in the context of the emerging smart mobility market, to also shaping this market. The UIA city survey also demonstrates the importance of private stakeholder participation in designing and delivering, and in some cases co-creating mobility policies so cities emerge with a double responsibility, in relation to delivering for citizens and engaging with and shaping the contours of the market.

The cities surveyed all have partnership-based approaches and are:

  • organising public consultation/participation early in policy development in the design of parks, bicycle-lanes, crossings, parking fees, and in Lahti’s PCT scheme ‒ again through co-creation ‒ (Szeged, Lahti, Ghent);
  • working withing within established partnership models, including procurement, but doings so in a flexible, agile way (Toulouse by adapting to needs expressed during COMMUTE and Ghent in particular which built flexibility into its procurement processes to better engage with the private sector);
  • approaching mobility with a collaborative mindset, which is evidenced by their interest in Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans[3] (Toulouse, Lahti, Szeged, Ghent, and Albertslund within the Copenhagen SUMP).
 

[1] 13 billion Euros over the 2017-2020 period under the French mobility law.

[2] Urban mobility - Reinforcing multi-level cooperation and governance (Urban Agenda for the EU), Euro Cities & CEMR, 2020, page 11.

[3] The SUMPS-UP project found (2018) that SUMPs are increasingly adopted across Europe. They are well-established and supported by national policies in France (Toulouse) and Belgian Flanders (Ghent); well supported with some national support in Denmark (Albertslund) and Finland (Lahti); and included in planning frameworks but not supported by national/regional govt. in Hungary (Szeged).

The traditional range of partnership-based models for companies ranges from privatising a service, contracting out, concessions and alliances[1], as shown in Table 2 below, and can be categorised as hierarchical, market-based or network-based (more informal) (Veeneman et al, 2018).

table1
Typology of collaborative arrangement between the public and private sector (not mobility focused but mobility related), Source (Willems and Van Dooren, 2011)

Table 1 shows a range of formal collaborative models and their features. The UIA projects and other city projects confirm that private sector participation in mobility policy includes such conventional PPPs, and also reveals that the typology of intervention extends to a range of network-based partnerships or less formal arrangements, characterised as ‘alliances’ in Table 2 with the notable difference that UIA cities would not accept that alliance change any accountability assumptions. The UIA cities show how public-private collaboration with the private sector is becoming more diverse by:

  • Exploiting private sector mobility resources, capabilities, or expertise (existing models) and in some cases (Albertslund’s LINC) leveraging funds;
  • Co-creation (present is several UIA projects, Lahti’s PCT and Szeged’s approach to employers uses a less formalised approach);
  • Influencing entrenched attitudes and eliciting behaviour change (personal negotiation possibly followed by quasi-formal ‘pledges’ or contractual arrangements ‒ Szeged, Lahti, & Toulouse in particular, often with a focus on reducing commuter traffic, the idea of ‘example and emulation’ being a key feature of the approach).

And we should also add to the typology that at national scale partnership working on mobility is organised through formal consultations[2] for the purposes of determining a regulatory approach. There is therefore a wide spectrum of collaborative arrangements with the private sector in this policy field.


[1] Achieving sustainable mobility in Europe’s towns and regions. Council of European Municipalities and Regions, (CEMR), page 10.

[2] The UK national government undertook a national consultation with the public on the future of mobility, with the report, ‘Future of Transport regulatory review: call for evidence on micromobility vehicles, flexible bus services and Mobility-as-a-Service’, published in March 2020.

The question of capacity

As the Urban Agenda mobility partnership and CEMR indicate, ideally, cities need appropriate support within a multi-level governance (MLG) architecture, conducive national frameworks and financial support from national governments if they are to make a reality of the vision of smarter and greener mobility and liveable cities.

The point of noting this typology of collaboration with the private sector twofold, first, as Toulouse suggested in its survey feedback, that the choice of PPP model can only be determined on a case-by-case basis so it is useful that cities have access to the options ‘on the table’ and second, that the different options for engaging with the private sector presuppose a range of resources and skills, i.e., governance capacity, on the part of cities.

The policy field is also undergoing radical change. While local authorities are generally familiar with the existing legal constraints[1] (public procurement, state aid, for example.), the dynamics of competition and technological change in urban transport services bring new challenges[2], which begs the question of whether cities, which may be relatively inexperienced in the relevant governance methods, have the capacity to manage intervention in this growing market[3]. Consider, for example, the importance of ensuring that unintended consequences are avoided, such as ride hailing displacing public transport. There is always an element of risk in public sector leadership (investment in technology A rather than B involves risk) and this is precisely why the public sector should be the accountable partner.

While the Urban Agenda mobility partnership flags national public funding, there is also a question of private sector funding. In its feedback Albertslund called for new financing models (e.g., for EV charging stations). The question of the balance of public funding and the role of private sector funding for such projects is a current, important and unresolved one, especially considering the near future bans on combustion engine vehicles[4]. Substantial public funding of new infrastructures is likely to be needed but PPPs could play a role.

Whether conventional or innovative, collaboration with the private sector is an additional layer of complexity on top of MLG and cross-departmental working. The 5 UIA cities are working with the private sector and in some cases (Toulouse) have significant experience yet the representativeness of the 5 UIA cities is limited and many cities may have limited experience with and capacity for collaboration and the feedback discussed here also shows how this collaboration also seems to hold one of the keys to behavioural change ‒ which will be the focus of the next chapter.

To sum up on collaboration, to ensure the delivery of mobility projects, the Urban Agenda recommends the creation of ‘appropriately constituted/resourced project teams’ representing, either cities or where necessary in functional area terms, a group of municipalities[5] and these teams would be responsible for delivering integrated projects, such as SUMPs, (which are partnership-based plans). These formal teams would have a clear mandate and planning competencies and there would be a clear decision-making procedure. Critical to the success of these project consortia, would be public leadership, adequate national funding and EU support, and the project would have a clear understanding of the legal context in which it operates. Some projects would have an EU dimension, either cross-border of in terms of connection with European transport networks and European partnerships can support capacity building. In light of the preceding paragraphs, the ability to engage with the private sector should be added to the CEMR/Urban Agenda mobility partnership list of skills and resources. The question of the form and rationale of engagement with the private sector is ultimately a matter for public sector policymakers.

Concluding remarks and recommendations on the importance of collaboration in mobility are presented in the final chapter of this report.


[1] Urban mobility - Reinforcing multi-level cooperation and governance (Urban Agenda for the EU), Euro Cities & CEMR, 2020.

[3] Achieving sustainable mobility in Europe’s towns and regions. Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), page 7.

[4] KPMG Mobility 2030, page 6.

[5] Urban Agenda, page 10.

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Report
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions
Programme/Initiative
2014-2020

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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