“Living in Ljubljana has been enriched by activities that encourage socialisation and provide space for social interaction. Many of these improvements would not have been possible without the CIVITAS ELAN project, and I'm happy that through ELAN not only Ljubljana, but also our partner cities – Ghent, Zagreb, Brno and Porto – have made a giant step towards more sustainable mobility in urban areas. The ELAN project has been one leg of a journey towards quality of life for the citizens of its five partner cities.”
— Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana (2006–2011)
The aim of the CIVITAS ELAN project was to address several sustainable mobility issues at once, including increasing the use of alternative fuels; stimulating innovative, high-quality and energy-efficient collective passenger transport services; influencing travel behaviour and modal choice; developing safe and secure road infrastructure; and enhancing the use of innovative transport telematics systems. As part of the CIVITAS programme, the ELAN project followed the approach of “putting the citizen first”. Thus the measures and solutions realised in the five partner cities (Brno, Ghent, Ljubljana, Porto and Zagreb) over the course of the project period were developed and implemented with considerable input from citizens.
From many points of view, CIVITAS ELAN can be considered REC Slovenia’s most successful project. The country office worked with a highly experienced international consortium of five cities and more than 20 professional organisations dealing with sustainable mobility. This work involved coordinating a strategic approach towards citizen engagement and implementing planned activities, and also included capacity building. Members of the REC staff not only learned a lot from this cooperation within the project, but also contributed their own skills and knowledge, most significantly in the fields of cycling and citizen engagement in the planning and implementation of mobility measures. The country office coordinated citizen engagement in all five cities and facilitated capacity building for project partners and several external stakeholders. In terms of other benefits for the REC, CITIVAS ELAN opened up new working areas on sustainable mobility, brought further integration with European sustainable mobility professionals and contributed to establishing new international contacts and working relationships. The project was also a financial success.
From a regional perspective, CIVITAS ELAN addressed topics of special interest to Central and Eastern European (CEE) cities. Rapid motorisation, rapidly changing cityscapes, public transport capacity and infrastructure renewal are problems shared by many cities in the CEE region. These challenges have, however, created many opportunities for cities from both old and new EU member states to learn from each other.
The project resulted in the five partner cities implementing a range of common measures within the following five categories:
- Clean vehicles and supporting infrastructure (new vehicles, alternative fuels, energy management, efficient driving).
- Stakeholder involvement and awareness raising (maps, brochures, workshops, individual marketing, citizen participation).
- Improved information, quality and trip safety on sustainable modes (real-time information, electronic ticketing, bus priority, better service).
- Walking and cycling services (cycle streets, bike lanes, bike parking, shared bikes, theft prevention).
- Improved access for all travellers (bus driver training, workshops for seniors, low-floor buses and trams).
CIVITAS ELAN aimed to increase the modal share of walking and cycling, support innovative freight delivery solutions, implement demand management, and increase the use of cleaner, energy-efficient vehicles. The project improved overall road safety while also reducing air pollution. CIVITAS ELAN enhanced participating cities’ perception of themselves as pioneers of advanced mobility concepts that offer high quality of life, and this, in turn, has attracted knowledge workers and enterprises to these cities.
In addition to the implementation of concrete clean and sustainable urban transport solutions, CIVITAS ELAN mobilised people in physical, political and social terms. Responding to citizens’ demands constitutes better governance and improves the quality of public transport, and ELAN project partners were convinced that putting citizens first would have long-lasting impacts. Transferring the ownership of policies to citizens not only substantially reduces the political risk of failure, but also serves to initiate positive attitudes and approaches towards sustainable mobility.
As participants in a policy-driven project led by impact and process evaluation, ELAN cities made significant contributions to major national, EU and global policy processes. They also motivated cities throughout Europe to follow their lead. CIVITAS ELAN brought together politicians and practitioners from various cities, countries and professional backgrounds while addressing global challenges such as climate change and the security of energy supply.
More information on CIVITAS ELAN is available at: http://www.civitas-initiative.org/content/elan