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Special - Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes Town and Country Planning Association European Union

Knowledge Pool

Module 4: Implementation of Sustainable Planning

4.3 Mobility


Mobility and transportation are significant drivers of carbon dioxide emissions that is growing very rapidly. 23 percent of the world wide CO2 emmision are related to traffic. To achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, transport must be de-carbonised and mobility behaviour hat to change.


Mobility and transportation are significant drivers of carbon dioxide emissions that is growing very rapidly. 23 percent of the world wide CO2 emmision are related to traffic. To achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, transport must be de-carbonised and mobility behaviour hat to change.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions from transport three major approaches exist:

  • reducing the demand for travel,
  • improvement of traffic to low-carbon modes,
  • improving energy efficiency of transport modes and vehicle technology.

Both public and private transport has to be considered. Public transportation includes rail traffic and public transport is handled on the road. Individual traffic is mostly generated by private vehicles, motorbikes and trucks.

The individual transport is separated into passenger and freight transport.

A major role plays bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
The field of low carbon mobility in an urban context represents a big variety of approaches, concepts and measures described as follows.

The aims of an integrated planning approach meeting energy saving and urban mobility are:

  • Raising awareness of non-motorised modes of travel, their use in solving urban transport problems and cost savings in health, amongst policy makers, professional groups and academics
  • Reduction of the use of fossil fuel energy, reducing negative impacts on the environment and health.
  • Reduction of conflicts/barriers between walking and cycling and build alliances between the two areas.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of customers who walk and cycle with shop owners.
  • Changing attitudes to a car reduced lifestyle, giving walking a more positive image.
  • Increasing awareness of the health benefits with the active travel message being passed from doctors to patients.
  • Strengthen local economies, ensuring services remain close to where people live - an important consideration for ageing populations (Source: http://www.active-access.eu).
Integration of Mobility and Climate Issues

A significant proportion of regional energy consumption occurs in the urban areas. Integrating transportation issues and low carbon issues with sustainable land use models is necessary because land use patterns define density and generates trips which are distributed among land use activities. Different land use combinations can therefore influence transport energy consumption and efficient land use patterns can create desirable conditions for mass transit.

A co-ordinated planning of space and traffic creates the opportunity for a low carbon and efficient action towards ecomobility. The shift from individual motor car traffic to sustainable mobility will require coordination between modes. Public transport, walking and cycling must be attractive as possible, the individual motor car traffic must be handled as compatible as possible and restricted in particularly sensitive areas.
There are possiblities both by improvements of ecomobility (pull measures) and restrictiing parking space management concepts, parking space reductions, porter systems for sensitive areas or approaches to road-pricing e.g. congestion (push measures).

The most relevant planning instruments for implementation of a sustainable and low carbon mobility on urban level are the traffic development plan and, especially in the area of public transport for the public transportation plan. It includes objectives and strategies for the development and expansion of the transport infrastructure and serves as a guide for policy makers, planners and citizens. Intentions behind this long-term planning are decreasing, moving and controlling the traffic of a city or town. The basis for the preparation of reliable data transport development planning of the population and mobility statistics. From these data, predictions can be created that show the development. The public transportation plan also can include environmental standards, which is especially of relevance for implementation of low carbon technologies f It is essential to integrate plans into overall planning as well as in those of neighbouring regions.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP)

A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan aims to create a sustainable urban transport system by:

  • Ensuring the accessibility of jobs and services to all;
  • Improving safety and security;
  • Reducing pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption;
  • Increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transportation of persons and goods;
  • Enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban environment.

Developing and implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan should be understood as a continuous process which comprises eleven essential steps. The graphical overview of this process presents these steps in a logical sequence. In practice these activities can run partially in parallel or include feedback loops.

Building on existing practices and regulatory frameworks the SUMP’s basic characteristics are:

  • A participatory approach - involving citizens and stakeholders from the outset and throughout the process of decision making, implementation and evaluation, building local capacities for handling complex planning issues, and ensuring gender equity;
  • A pledge for sustainability: balancing social equity, environmental quality and economic development;
  • An integrated approach of practices and policies between policy sectors, between authority levels, and between neighbouring authorities;
  • A focus on the achievement of measurable targets, derived from short term objectives, aligned with a vision for transport and embedded in an overall sustainable development strategy;
  • A review of transport costs and benefits, taking into account wider societal costs and benefits, also across policy sectors;
  • A method comprising: 1) status analysis and baseline scenario; 2) definition of a vision, objectives and targets; 3) selection of policies and measures; 4) assignment of responsibilities and resources; 5) monitoring and evaluation arrangements.
City of Short Distances

The city of short distances is an urban planning and urban design concept following the compact city approach. Preconditions for a short distance approach with an efficient public transport system, encouraging walking and cycling, low energy consumption and reduced pollution are relatively high residential density and mixed land uses. On the one hand inhabitants are less dependent on the car, feel safer and can better use public space. On the other hand public authorities need less investment for traffic infrastructure due to a high amount of cyclists and pedestrians.

Traffic calming - creation of low-traffic areas

Traffic calming aims to reduce traffic volume and traffic speed with the help of engineering, traffic steering and control and other measures. Traffic calming helps to improving the living conditions for residents living in the affected areas as well as to improve space conditions and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Urban planners and traffic engineers have many strategies for traffic calming, like speed humps, chicanes, curb extensions, and living street and shared space type schemes. The introduction of speed limits also aims to traffic calming.

Low-Emission Zones

Low-Emission Zones (LEZ) are geographically defined areas with a restricted access of polluting vehicles (according to European car emission standards) with the aim of improving the air quality. They only allow low emitting vehicles (e.g. low emitting combustion engine vehicles, regular or plug-in hybrids, zero-emission vehicles, all-electric vehicles) with the aim of improving the air quality.

Bicycle Traffic Concepts

Bicycle traffic concepts aim to increase value and degree of utilization of the bicycle on an equal level with the other traffic. One main object is to improve the infrastructure for all purposes of cycling traffic, embedded in an environmentally and socially acceptable urban transport system (according to the city wide transport development plan). Based on basis analysis to capture the existing bicycle traffic a bicycle network planning with desire line network is to be developed. This includes the allocation and prioritization of a bicycle friendly road and trail network. A catalogue of proposed measures is the implementation oriented part of the planning document targeting e.g. on bicycle lanes on road level, cycle racks and parking facilities or intermodal lings from bicycle to urban transportation facilities. The elaboration and realization of a bicycle traffic concept has to be accompanied by participation and intensive public relations.

Improvement of Pedestrian Traffic

Improving walkability is a measure with many health, environmental, and economic benefits. Factors influencing walkability are the presence and quality of footpaths, sidewalks or other pedestrian rights-of-way, traffic and road conditions, land use patterns, building accessibility and safety, among others.

Renewable Energies for Urban Transportation

A major issue of concern is urban transport energy dependence and energy supply security. Today urban transport mostly bases on fossil resources like petrol and diesel. New technology and the development and integration of renewable resources into transport energy systems may reduce the current transport energy dependence of urban areas. There are many well-known possibilities for renewable transport fuel such as biogas, bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. Electric trams and trolleys that make use of hydro, solar or wind power to replace fossil fuel buses are examples of renewable electrical sources replacing finite sources

Electromobility offers both from an economic and an environmental point of view and potential benefits like a reduction of the direct emissions of the vehicles (e.g. exhaust gases, noise), the reduction of CO2 emissions through the use of electricity from non-fossil and renewable energy sources, the security of energy supply through the use of various energy sources (energy mix), the possibility for change in mobility behaviour through new means of transport (electric scooter, pedelec). For large scale implementation of electromobility investments in infrastructure e.g. for charging vehicle batteries are necessary.

In a pilot phase is the “power to hydrogen” technology. Therefore surplus green electricity is used to break water down into oxygen and hydrogen in with the help of electrolyzers. The hydrogen could one day power fuel-cell vehicles. Because of lacking infrastructure a second process step is carried out directly: methanation. In this second step, the hydrogen is reacted with CO2 to produce synthetic methane. It is virtually identical to fossil natural gas and will be distributed via an existing infrastructure, the German natural gas network, to the CNG filling stations. The plant is scheduled to begin feeding Audi e-gas to the grid in the fall of this year. The technology in the moment is tested in Germany.

Transport brings enourmos benefits for the socieaty - trade, travel, globalisation. But it is dependent from fossil fuels and it is a mayor contributor for greenhouse emissions. The depenecy on fossil fules is negative for the European economy because of a high amount of imports (EU imports of oil are around 71%).  Shift to a fossil free mobility.


For example is the use of cars is economical not feasible because:

1. Mayor investment in the car

2. Value of the car decrease of 50% in 2 years

3. Energy efficiency 1200 kg car to transport 75 kg driver

4. Huge amount invest in the support system - infrastructure

5. Dominates the urbanity in many Cities

6. Substantial environmental and social costs

Related good Practice Examples:

Bike City Vienna

Car free living in Vienna

Energy Saving Tram in Vienna

E-mobility on demand in Vienna

SMILE- Smart Mobility Info and Ticketing System

Links, literature:

Related presentation at SPECIAL's Training Week - Berlin/Germany, September 2013

How to introduce sustainable mobility in settlements? - DI Claus Köllinger, Managing Director, Austrian Mobility Research

Related presentations at SPECIAL's Training Week - Sweden, May 2013