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Improving urban transport policies for more liveable and competitive cities

How can urban transport policies better integrate mobility as a key enabler to achieve improved accessibility, preserved health and environment and thriving economies in cities? This highly topical question has been extensively discussed during yesterday’s plenary session ‘Urban transport policies for more liveable and competitive cities’, animated by an impressive panel of CEOs and government representatives.

Out of the diversity of approaches and experiences shared during their discussion, one clear message stood out: making our cities more liveable and competitive requires a stronger holistic approach to transport systems and more joined-up thinking across the public-private spectrum and the civil society.

In this regard, Scania CEO Henrik Henriksson introduced one of his company’s new electric autonomous vehicle concepts (currently on display at the UITP exhibition!) to illustrate what a holistic solution to urban mobility challenges could look like: extremely modular, the model is built in such a way that the same carrier can be used during rush hours to move people, as well as to transport goods during the rest of day, and waste overnight.

“What we agreed in Paris is not to sit and wait for the perfect technical solution to come within the next few years. We need to act now”, asserted Henrik.

Having a more holistic approach also involves joining forces across the public and private sectors in order to move beyond incremental change. “We need private companies to continue to innovate and take risks to deliver the right solutions for our customers, and at the same time, we need national and city governments to invest and plan for the long term to ensure that incentives exist for us to move in the right direction”, explained David Brown, CEO of Go-Ahead Group.

Also insisting on the need for “regulators to work together with operators as one team”, Hoon Ping Ngien, CEO of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore, described the role of his organisation as that of an influencer for public transport operators. “As we invest in and welcome new mobility players, we aim at supporting the growth of these industries and indirectly play a part beyond Singapore” towards more sustainable and healthier cities.

Finally, as public transport is above all a people-centric industry, better integrating urban mobility cannot be achieved without working with and for all current and potential public transport users.

As part of Ruter’s many innovative solutions to get customers on board when it comes to healthier and cleaner modes of mobility, CEO Bernt Reitan Jenssen discussed the tremendous potential of participative solutions, from inviting groups to test prototypes to the use of gamification.

In the case of the City of Cape Town, where urban mobility is currently facing a crisis, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Felicity Purchase described how the city, in partnership with NGOs and advocacy groups, aims at giving every child the opportunity to cycle to school. This project is part of a wider strategy to tackle road congestion by creating a consciousness of other possible alternatives among citizens.

Also using targeted incentives to improve public transport accessibility, the City of Buenos Aires is concentrating its efforts on providing lower income citizens with more affordable public transport options. As Esteban Galuzzi, Transit and Transport Undersecretary for the Government of the City of Buenos Aires explained, this has been achieved with the introduction of a 50% discounted social fare currently used by 30% of users, and an integrated fare, “which allows for each phase of your trip to be 50% cheaper than the previous one within a two-hour period”. Additionally, the city has also been actively working on improving its network to make it safer and more accessible for women.

Presenting the recent evolution of the Dakar region as an example of “African cities’ rapid expansion”, El Hadji Oumar Youm, Minister of Infrastructure, Land Transport and Accessibility of Dakar concluded: “the mobility question is intrinsic to the concept of a sustainable city”.

 

If you’re in Stockholm today, join us for lunch to discuss perspectives and priorities for EU policy on urban transport, explore different MaaS models in Scandinavia or discover the latest trends in operating fleets of electric buses!

Don’t miss our key plenary session this afternoon, where we’ll be redefining the Art of Public Transport!

 

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