Urban mobility concerns anyone focusing on and living in cities or towns. Contemporary challenges include organising urban mobility in a sustainable way, in recognition of energy effectiveness and respect for the environment. That was the subject discussed during the recent Local Development Forum session, attended by practitioners and experts.
Sustainable mobility is a condition wherein daily means of transportation choices are conducive to high quality of urban living – with every local resident, commuter or tourist guaranteed access to convenient urban travel. Pursuant to principles of sustainable mobility, said urban travel assumes respect for the environment and human health. Sustainable mobility ties in with greater accountability of citizens, enterprises and administrative services; an obligation to promote the use of alternative fuels and vehicles; as well as energy saving and efficiency performance in the transportation sector. For citizens, sustainable mobility translates into a duty to expand daily commutes to work to include healthy habits.
Sustainable urban mobility is not an issue in and of itself. It’s a difficult task to speak of sustainable mobility with no broader perspective of multiple improved urban services.
The pivotal component discussed during the seminar involved urban mobility viewed through the prism of a functional area rather than a single city or town. For cities, the issue of mobility translates into a key challenge of social participation. Debates regarding the design of sustainable urban mobility plans are hardly possible without accounting for the opinion of local residents, or that of businesses, urban leaders, and – basically – any stakeholders operating within the city or town, and its functional area. Presented in the course of the seminar, practical examples from Radom and Koszalin further proved that building a sustainable system with a focus on residents’ and commuters’ urban travel is a long-term process.
Today, local government officials are fully aware that data is indispensable to the process of considering wise urban development, and designing sound urban development plans. As experts duly accentuate, mobility management is only second to spatial management in terms of large data volume requirements. It is in the field of mobility that access to substantial volumes of diverse data makes the greatest difference in terms of the quality of plans and strategies developed and implemented by local authorities. Fortunately – as shown in a presentation by Association of Polish Cities expert Szymon Ciupa – data exists and is accessible on an unprecedented scale.
It is noteworthy that the series of Local Development Forum seminars is delivered as part of the “Local Development” Programme implemented by the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy within the framework of the 3rd edition of Norway and European Economic Area Grants. The Local Development Forum is an open platform introduced by the Association of Polish Cities for purposes of debates with contributions from local governments, the central government and experts, combined with an integrated activity package designed to promote attitudes and tools supporting sustainable and endogenic local development.