The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
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CIVITAS VANGUARD — Advancing Sustainable Urban Transport in an Enlarged Europe through CIVITAS

Implementation period:

CIVITAS VANGUARD — Advancing Sustainable Urban Transport in an Enlarged Europe through CIVITAS

“As if organising an event — the annual CIVITAS Forum Conference — for more than 400 persons wasn’t challenging enough, I dared myself to dress up as my great grandfather, Paul Tyralla, to talk about sustainability in Leipzig 100 years ago and today. What was most nerve-wracking, however, was that my presentation was done PechaKucha-style — that is, using just 20 slides featuring images only, each of which stays on the screen for just 20 seconds. So I really had to learn my lines to bring it off successfully, which I just about managed to do. The recording of the event was published on YouTube.
Jerome Simpson, Smart Cities and Mobility Topic Area Leader, REC

The CIVITAS Initiative helped cities to achieve a more sustainable, clean and energy-efficient urban transport system by implementing and evaluating an ambitious, integrated set of technology-based and policy-based measures. The REC, as consortium leader for CIVITAS VANGUARD, assisted the European Commission in coordinating CIVITAS Plus (the third phase of the CIVITAS Initiative) and disseminated CIVITAS Plus results.

CIVITAS VANGUARD supported 25 CIVITAS Plus cities (from Skopje to Tallinn, from Coimbra to Iasi) that introduced or upgraded sustainable urban mobility measures between 2008 and 2013. It also hosted the CIVITAS and Political Advisory Committee secretariats, organised four annual CIVITAS Forum Conferences, and published the results of CIVITAS Plus.

Within the overall project, the REC's goals were to:

  • ensure a well-functioning, efficiently cooperating consortium;
  • provide services as the CIVITAS Secretariat;
  • provide an information request service;
  • organise the annual CIVITAS Forum Conference; and
  • organise the annual CIVITAS Awards

As part of Work Package 1, the REC was in charge of leading the consortium, quality control, progress monitoring, project reporting and liaising with the European Commission. In Work Package 5, the REC represented and gave direct support to the CIVITAS Initiative itself, including running the CIVITAS Secretariat, which provided direct support to CIVITAS demonstration and CIVITAS Forum cities through demand-driven services such as an information request service.

The REC also hosted the secretariat of the CIVITAS Political Advisory Committee, which provided the framework for the involvement of high-level policy makers. The REC was responsible for organising the annual CIVITAS Forum Conference, an event bringing together high-level representatives from the wider CIVITAS community. The REC was also in charge of organising the CIVITAS Awards, a prestigious annual award ceremony for cities that have shown outstanding performance in terms of innovations in sustainable mobility. In addition to the two work packages, the REC participated in almost all activities under the other work packages, primarily contributing to content development and quality control.

CIVITAS has a long list of impressive achievements. Among them:

  • The provision of more bike sheds led to a 35 percent increase in the number of bike riders in Ghent, Belgium.
  • Through staff car pooling, the public transport operator in Craiova, Romania, saved 712 litres of fuel and 6,190 vehicle-kilometres.
  • Travel planningreduced car trips in the vicinity of schools by 13 percent in Brighton & Hove, UK.
  • An e-ticketing scheme in Coimbra, Portugal, resulted in a 0.24 MJ/pkm reduction per passenger.
  • In Bath, UK, emissions ofCO2 were reduced by 10,180 kg thanks to a freight consolidation centre, last-mile journeys by e-vehicle, and the collection of packaging waste by e-vehicle.
  • Leveraged funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development assisted with upscaling the traffic centre in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  • In Coimbra, Portugal, hospital employees who switched from private car usage to public transport, thanks to a workplace travel plan, increased the public transport operator’s revenue by 28 percent.
  • Zagreb, Croatia, saw 37.6 percent fewer accidents thanks to weekly meetings with senior citizens.
  • Due to improvements in the visibility and safety of crossings and cycle tracks in Tallinn, Estonia, 24 percent more drivers yielded to pedestrians.
  • On-board public transport surveillance saw crime fall by 50 percent in Craiova, Romania.
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