Cities from across Turkey gather for sustainable mobility workshop
EMBARQ Turkey is helping to lead the movement for sustainable transport as a partner of SOLUTIONS (Sharing Opportunities for Low-carbon Urban TransportaION), a global effort to facilitate dialogue and exchange between cities and support the implementation of sustainable mobility efforts. As a partner of this initiative, EMBARQ Turkey recently participated in a workshop for cities throughout Turkey to improve sustainable urban mobility. EMBARQ Turkey has also been selected as a mentor for the city of Kocaeli, a pilot city for the SOLUTIONS initiative.
EMBARQ Turkey partners to create a new global initiative
SOLUTIONS is a research project launched in 2013 that aims to support the adoption of innovative sustainable urban mobility solutions in cities around the world. EMBARQ Turkey is one of 25 national and international institutes participating in the effort, which is coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute. The project is funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Program (FP7). In the Mediterranean region, SOLUTIONS is focusing on facilitating dialogue and spreading solutions around four thematic clusters:
- Public transport: High quality, modern and energy efficient public transport can be integrated with other transport modes to make cities more attractive and environmentally friendly, while offering fast and suitable alternatives to private car use.
- Transport infrastructure: Public transport infrastructure includes dedicated bus lanes, rail infrastructure, and passenger waiting areas, in addition to active transport infrastructure such as bike lanes and public spaces for pedestrians.
- City logistics: Using city logistics can improve the efficiency and sustainability of transport while decreasing traffic congestion, energy consumption, and environmental externalities from private transport.
- Integrated planning/sustainable urban mobility plans: Government planning must shift to focus on people, not cars. Sustainable urban mobility plans consider the needs of a wide variety of stakeholders and engage citizens in the planning process to improve quality of life.
Helping to implement sustainable transport solutions in Kocaeli
SOLUTIONS has chosen six pilot cities from the Latin American, Asian, and Mediterranean regions, pairing organizations with city governments to support the implementation of sustainable transport solutions. EMBARQ Turkey has been chosen as the mentor for Kocaeli, Turkey – a city of about 1.7 million people – and the only pilot city chosen in the Mediterranean region. The municipality is working to provide high quality, environmentally friendly, and reliable public transport to reduce private car usage. EMBARQ Turkey will provide technical assistance to the city over the next two years as Kocaeli forms and implements sustainable transport plans. After the SOLUTIONS launch meeting in April 2014, Budapest was also chosen as a guide for Kocaeli based on its experience renovating bus systems and improving the performance of other public transport systems. The two cities will exchange information during the two-year piloting phase.
Spreading sustainable mobility best practices across Turkey
EMBARQ Turkey and Kocaeli recently participated in a workshop, hosted in Kocaeli, to provide a forum for city officials across Turkey to discuss the framework and priorities of innovative mobility solutions. The workshop featured experts from international institutes such as Advancing Public Transport (UITP), the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR), Rupprecht Consulting, the Hellenic Institute of Transport (CERTH-HIT) and Transport and Travel Research Ltd (TTR-Ltd). The experts convened a number of lessons for how to successfully implement mobility solutions and better understand the costs and benefits of various transport projects. The workshop had 48 participants including members of the East Marmara Development Agency, the Intelligent Transport Services Company Kentkart, and eleven Turkish municipalities.
Venn Chesterton from TTR-Ltd discussed the changing culture around public transport, describing that in 1980, public transport use was not looked upon favorably. Now, however, he said that “public transportation is no longer a secondary solution; actually it's a quite cool thing to do.” One of the ways to cultivate a culture of public transport use is through a sustainable urban mobility plan. Dr. Susanne Böhler-Baedeker from Rupprecht Consulting described the keys to creating a successful plan, including involving key stakeholders in the planning process to develop a common vision for urban mobility.
Salih Kumbar, Director of Public Transport in Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, described the financial challenge of improving transport infrastructure in an established city. "The major problem in improving the infrastructure is that the budget is insufficient and it is difficult to work in areas which are already established with unplanned urbanization.” Lefteris Sdoukopoulos, a research associate at CERTH/HIT, provided insight into funding sources for transport projects in Turkey to help municipalities address this challenge, including the Horizon 2020 Program and the Union for the Mediterranean.
EMBARQ Turkey will remain engaged with municipalities around the country to continue to spread best practices. EMBARQ Turkey will also help refine SOLUTIONS’ policy recommendations and research priorities in the Mediterranean region using input from municipalities across Turkey. Finally, it will assess the applicability of sustainable urban mobility solutions to improve quality of life within Kocaeli.