"The task of the transportation system is moving people and not vehicles", says one of the famous quotes by Vukan Vuchic, a professor of the University of Pennsylvania.
Jerome Simpson during the seminar in Minsk
Participants of the seminar "New Tools for Integrated Urban and Transport Planning", which was held in Minsk, discussed how to switch from traditional planning to innovative approaches. Jerome Simpson, Senior Expert at Smart Cities and Mobility programme (Budapest, Hungary), was one of the foreign experts invited to the event. He presented international urban mobility trends which can also be relevant to Belarus.
Moving away from petrol and diesel fuels
"Some goals related to sustainable urban mobility are very ambitious, e.g. giving up traditional fuel in the cities. This means that we must switch to electric cars or alternative fuels. All European Union cities will develop programmes to switch to new types of fuels by the end of 2016", said Simpson.
An electric cars at the charging station
Regulating or restricting access to the city center
One of the ways to develop urban mobilities, according to Simpson, is regulating or restricting access to the city center.
Speakers at the seminar suggested similar ideas to be implemented in Minsk. After the first inner-city ring road will be finalized, car transit traffic can be limited along Niamiha street.
There were also suggestions to restrict access to Minsk city centre for heavy-duty vehicles on weekdays.
Using bicycles, including cargo bicycles
Jerome Simpson mentioned the benefits of cycling more than once. According to the statistics he cited, people who cycle regularly live 2 years longer and take sick leaves 15% less often.
The expert also emphasizes the importance of free movements of goods and services in big cities. In his opinion, cargo bicycles will become more and more popular. They are much cheaper than motorized modes of transportation, cause no pollution and require no fuel.
"From 51% to 68% of all city logistics can be executed with the help of bicycles, both regular ones and cargo ones", assures Simpson. This will reduce the number of trucks in the city center.
One of the cargo bikes typically used by parents with small children
One of the trends in Western countries. When a car is used only by the driver, it creates excess traffic and hurts the environment.
ODB: Car sharing is a popular trend in the majority of countries in Western and Central Europe, which helps reduce the cost of travel and protects the environment.
Developing railway and waterway transportation
According to the expert, 50% of passenger and freight traffic should be switched from road transport to railways or waterways.
What are the social benefits of implementing these proposals and further developing sustainable urban mobility?
Jerome Simpson believes that various social and economic groups will enjoy the benefits.
People can save money by walking, cycling or using public transportation instead of their personal vehicle. Economic sector, including transport companies, will have more customers, Also, there will be an increased demand for developing mobility devices and environmental initiatives.
Finally, the society will benefit from a better environment and save money on health care.