Summary of the Connective Cities Virtual Dialogue Event in partnership with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and UN-Habitat and hosted by the City of Wiesbaden - Germany , 19, 20 and 22 July 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to fundamental changes in urban mobility worldwide. Some impacts are short-term, especially during lockdowns. Others are long-term changes in the way urban mobility and traffic will operate in the future.
One of the main responses of governments worldwide to the pandemic was to restrict circulation of people. However, municipalities still had to guarantee the mobility of essential workers and goods. There was also a shift in behaviour, with citizens changing their regular modes of transport for reasons of safety and hygiene. Modes of transport which allow for physical distancing, such as walking, cycling and private cars are now favoured, whereas there is a decline in the use of public and shared transport. Lockdown restrictions further contribute to the rise in e-commerce and delivery services, posing particular challenges for last mile freight distribution.
Having experienced reduced traffic and less pollution during lockdowns, the motivation to promote more sustainable urban mobility has grown for many local governments. Investing in measures such as active mobility infrastructure, safer and more accessible public transport and low-emission transport options are in accordance with the imperative aim of economic recovery, as infrastructure investments may lead to job creation and private investment in diverse economic sectors.
During the three-day event, 55 participants, including representatives of municipal administrations and enterprises, civil society, business and academia from over 15 countries, discussed how they could shape the future urban mobility in terms of
In her opening speech, Stefanie Holzwarth from UN-Habitat emphasised that “we have a window of opportunity to learn from this pandemic and to build back better by making our mobility systems more resilient and responsive to crises. We should aim to get out of this stronger and ready to address climate change, air pollution and road fatalities, because the world cannot accept any further delays!” Sergio Arredondo from the Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Municipal Associations (FLACMA), speaking on behalf of UCLG, reminded participants that it was not enough to continue to provide local transport services; they have to be provided in a healthy and safe manner. Around the world, municipalities were witnessing a bicycle revolution – which has to be reflected in future urban development and design. In a welcome speech, Bettina Gies from the event’s host city of Wiesbaden said that international exchange on urban mobility was crucial, because agile and active solutions were needed to tackle current and future urban mobility challenges.
After presenting thirteen examples of good practice in the areas of public transport, bicycle traffic and urban logistics, municipalities, civil society and private sector participants shared their related challenges, discussed them in peer-to-peer learning processes and jointly developed potential solutions. The challenges presented ranged from reducing e-commerce-related waste in the city of Taoyuan (Taiwan) and increasing citizens’ acceptance of bike lanes in Cuenca (Ecuador) to making public transport more attractive in terms of speed in Yerevan (Armenia) and increasing mutual appreciation and respect between different road users in Wiesbaden (Germany).
Working group A: Cycling bicycle traffic [pdf 7,1mb]
Working group B: Sustainable urban logistics [pdf, 2,3mb]
Working group C: Local Public Transport I [pdf, 2,3mb]
Working group D: Local Public Transport II [pdf, 1,2mb]
During the dialogue event, participants worked together to develop four specific project ideas to be implemented in the framework of thematic municipal cooperation.
The City of São Paulo (Brazil) aims to increase demand for public transport with measures such as a publicity campaign on hygiene and an education programme for children to promote the use of public transport. An app for the public transport system, which can support multimodal transport, was identified as a suitable solution for Yerevan’s public transport challenges. The city’s first steps will be to secure funding, conduct a consumer and market analysis and make use of experience gained in other cities such as Leipzig, which recently introduced a similar app. The City of Lalitpur (Nepal) and the Cycle City Network Nepal want to introduce a bicycle sharing system as a sustainable business model and plan to develop an implementation strategy for Lalitpur Metropolitan City. Finally, Buenos Aires (Argentina) aims to adapt curb management in one of its neighbourhoods to accommodate different users’ needs and develop a model for safe micro hubs, which integrate last mile logistics.
Connective Cities will support project ideas with follow-up activities such as expert missions, local workshops, webinars and advice on internal, external or third-party project funding options.
Peer Learning Note from UCLG in cooperation with Connective Cities and the City of Wiesbaden
In 2020, the international city platform Connective Cities started its series of online events on Covid-19- related topics in cooperation with committed municipal stakeholders. The dialogue event on urban mobility was part of this series.