Polis Newsletter
Winter | Feb 2015

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Welcome to the Polis public newsletter!

We are pleased to announce that this year's Annual Polis Conference will take place on 19-20 November in Brussels. We welcome our readers to discuss "Transport innovation for sustainable cities and regions" with about 300 fellow delegates. The call for abstracts will open on 30 March 2015.

Polis is the network of European cities and regions working together to deploy innovative technologies and policies for a more sustainable mobility. Read more.

Enjoy your read,
Karen Vancluysen
Executive Director

Polis Network News

Consultation with stakeholders on the WHO's Physical Activity Strategy

On January 30th, Polis attended the informal consultation with stakeholders on the development of the WHO's Physical Activity Strategy (2016-2025) for the European Region. We raised in the debate the important role that cities play in delivering safer walking and cycling to encourage physical activity in daily transport.

The one-day consultation meeting on physical activity for health was organised by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and Malta, the hosting country.

The WHO European Region is the first Region worldwide to develop a physical activity strategy, a development that was mandated in the Vienna Declaration on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases in the context of Health 2020. In the Vienna Declaration Member States called for a physical activity strategy, alongside the Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020, to encourage physical activity across all population groups with a view to promoting well-being using a whole-of-society approach, and tackling the burden of obesity and noncommunicable diseases.

In the wake of Polis position paper on health and transport released on 3 December 2014, Polis input to the draft of the Strategy underpinned the strong link between health and active travel, the need for good and inclusive urban design for safer walking and cycling in cities, the integration of the health dimension into sustainable urban mobility planning, and continued dialogue between the national and the local /regional levels for monitoring and data collection.

The strategy will ultimately be considered for adoption by Member States at the 65th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania, this September.

For more information, please contact Florinda Boschetti.

CONDUITS approach used to aid bus priority decision making in Tel Aviv

Polis member, Technion, has produced a fascinating case study documenting the decision support process undertaken to select a bus priority plan for a busy street in Tel Aviv.

The street in question is characterised by a mixture of land uses, hence the provision of public transport priority needed to be done carefully to minimise negative impacts on pedestrians and cyclists. Considering the many dimensions the impacts have on the efficiency of the transport system and the level of service provided to pedestrians and cyclists on that street, the decision as to the traffic light plans to be integrated in the routine schedule was undertaken with the assistance of the CONDUITS Decision Support Tool.

The city’s decisions makers were presented with three planning alternatives from which they had to choose the most balanced one, based on absolute public transport priority, moderate priority and minor priority. The impacts of these different priority regimes on the overall efficiency of the system (comprising all modes) as well pollution were then modelled using CONDUITS DST. The option to use weightings is an integral part of the tool. Hence, a city with a vigorous cycling policy may well to give cyclists a higher weighting than car drivers for instance. To know which signal plan (degree of bus priority) was ultimately selected by the city of Tel Aviv, please read the case study

The CONDUITS case study on bus priority in Tel Aviv can be downloaded here.

For further information about CONDUITS, visit the webpage or contact Suzanne Hoadley.

Save the date: 2015 Polis Conference 19-20 November in Brussels

This year's Annual Polis Conference on "Transport innovation for sustainable cities and regions" will take place on 19 and 20 November 2015 in Brussels. Side events and Polis' Annual General Assembly (AGA) are scheduled for 18 November.

The conference attracts about 300 delegates representing local and regional authorities, national and European stakeholder, research, industry and associations. The programme covers a range of topics following the structure or Polis' thematic pillars and working groups:

  • Environment & Health in Transport
  • Mobility and Traffic Efficiency
  • Transport Safety and Security
  • Social and Economic Aspects of Transport

How to get involved:

Registration open for 2015 ERTRAC annual conference

The European technology platform for road transport, ERTRAC, will hold its annual conference on 3 March in Brussels and present the sector's main innovation fields.

The conference is divided in three strategic sessions, where research and innovation roadmaps will be presented and debated by ERTRAC Working Group Leaders and invited high-level speakers from the industry and from the European Commission. Participants are also invited to join a welcome reception that will take place on 2 March evening.

Polis is the ERTRAC member who represents local authorities and is leading the ERTRAC Urban Mobility Working Group. As ERTRAC's vice-chairman, Nick Lester from London Councils represents Polis members in the Executive Group.

Polis members and other stakeholders working on road transport innovation are invited to the conference, including the automotive industry, universities and research providers, European associations, transport services providers, public authorities from local, regional and national levels.

The conference will take place on 3 March 2015, at the "Arsenal", 950 Chaussée de Wavre, 1040 Brussels. The evening prior to the conference a welcome reception will be held on 2 March, 19:00, Maison Grand Place, 19 Grand Place, 1000 Brussels.

An agenda overview is available on the ERTRAC website, a detailed agenda featuring all speakers will follow shortly. To attend the conference, please register here: http://www.ertrac.org/2015conference


Also see this related news item of 14 October 2014: 
Nick Lester from London Councils elected as new ERTRAC vice-chairman

GrowSmarter: European Smart Cities lighthouse project started

Mayors and delegates from a number of European cities, industry and networks including Polis gather in Stockholm from 10 to 12 February 2015 to mark the launch of a new 25 million euro project: GrowSmarter is designed to shorten the path towards a more sustainable, energy efficient and environmentally smarter Europe, and is expected to create up to 1,500 new jobs. GrowSmarter is one of the first European Smart Cities lighthouse projects funded by the H2020 Research & Innovation Programme of the European Commission.

Opening the launch, Karin Wanngård, the Mayor of Stockholm, said: “It´s a great honour for Stockholm to be part of GrowSmarter and we are proud to be a Lighthouse City within the project. GrowSmarter holds a huge potential to create and spread new ideas enabling cities to develop in a social, environmental and economic sustainable way, in addition to creating new jobs."

"GrowSmarter is a role model when it comes to organising future cities – working together to reduce environmental impact, strengthen local growth and improving city life. We expect that by 2050, more than 6 billion people will live in urban areas. This trend requires some rethinking in cities – we need to think smart. We are hugely excited to be a GrowSmarter city!"

Stockholm, Cologne and Polis member Barcelona will act as ‘lighthouse cities’ within the project, implementing 12 smart city solutions: from advanced information and communication technology and better connected urban mobility, to energy efficiency. The solutions will be rolled out in a number of city areas, including downtown districts, suburban and industrial areas, ensuring a sample base representative of European cities.

Five ‘follower cities’, including Polis member Cork will work in close partnership with the ‘lighthouse cities’ to learn from their experiences, and provide a market for solutions suitable for their specific local context.

Dr Manel Sanromà, Chief Information Officer of Polis member Barcelona, said at the launch: “With GrowSmarter we are building a league of cities to the benefit of our citizens. We are breaking down silos between energy, mobility and ICT, as well as between cities. We are all different as cities, but also share the same anatomy. Therefore, we should work towards similar solutions for similar problems.”

Spearheaded by a team of local authorities, environmental technology partners, and European partners, including Polis, the project is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme and will run for five years.

More information:

In October 2014 the consortium of partners (as above) application to the Horizon 2020 Programme was approved by the European Commission. 25 million euro was awarded to deliver a five year project entitled ‘GrowSmarter’ which began in January 2015. This project aims to stimulate city uptake of ‘smart solutions’ by using the three Lighthouse cities as a way to showcase 12 Smart City solutions:

  • Low Energy Districts:
    1. Efficient and smart climate shell refurbishment
    2. Smart building logistics and alternative fuelled vehicles
    3. Smart energy tenants though information
    4. Smart local production of electricity and integration with buildings and grid
  • Integrated Infrastructures:
    5. Smart lighting, lampposts as hubs for communication
    6. Waste heat integration by new business models
    7. Smart waste collecting, turning waste to electricity, heat and biogas for vehicles
    8. Big data protocol for saving energy and improving the quality of life
  • Sustainable Urban Mobility
    9. Sustainable delivery
    10. Smart traffic management
    11. Alternative fuel driven vehicles for decarbonising and better air quality
    12. Smart mobility solutions

The project enables public bodies to work in partnership with private organisations to facilitate market growth at a local level, reduce the environmental impact and improve quality of life for European citizens.

The combination of Smart Solutions, to be rolled out in this urban context, is intended to meet the needs of three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic. The project has the potential to create the equivalent of 1,500 jobs across Europe, and aims to reduce energy usage by 60 percent, and cut EU transport emissions at project level by 60 percent. The GrowSmarter project consortium is comprised of 37 partners both from the public and private sector.

The project website is currently under development and will use the following URL: www.grow-smarter.eu

Delivering improved interoperability of urban ITS

National/regional approaches to delivering urban ITS interoperability are more likely to succeed than a single European approach, owing to different institutional and market cultures. However, Europe has a key role to play in promoting the creation of these national/regional frameworks. These are some of the findings of the POSSE project which came to an end in December 2014.

POSSE is a 3-year project co-funded by the Interreg IVC programme which promotes knowledge sharing on open specifications and standards (OSS) for urban ITS. Coordinated by Reading Borough Council, the project involved numerous city authorites and other road authorities around Europe. Polis played the role of dissemination coordinator.

There benefits of open specifications and standards include:

  • Improved integration of ITS which enables more efficient traffic operations
  • Cost reductions, particularly for traffic controllers
  • Better innovation in product terms and in the emergence of new sectors
  • Simplification of tendering procedures, due to the impartial technical specifications and transferability of tendering documents

A summary of the main project conclusions can be found here.

To download the main POSSE reports, such as the guide to developing and implementing OSS or the exploitation plan, please visit the website.


Member in the spotlight: The Year of Living Sustainably

In 2015, Polis member Bristol is Europe's official Green Capital. George Ferguson, the Mayor of Bristol, gave Polis' Dagmar Köhler an insight into the role transport plays in a sustainable city region, attitudes towards changes in the transport system and why international cooperation has been a major pillar of Bristol's path to success.

What role does a city's transport system play in it becoming a sustainable city, and ultimately to be awarded the Green Capital of Europe?

Ferguson: It is a vital one that makes a major contribution to the bigger picture of a healthy and sustainable city. Bristol is a complex, historic city making transport connections especially challenging. There is no simple solution to an unacceptably high level of congestion. We must pursue a flexible but high performing public transport network, encouragement of active transport in the form of walking and cycling, and a 'carrot and stick' approach to entice people out of their cars, and to share them, if we are to have streets that are no longer clogged with traffic, and air that is safe to breathe.

Many cities face opposition against measures perceived to be threatening drivers. Do you have the support of citizens to make Bristol's transport system more sustainable?

I think I do in general, although the noise from some drivers might indicate otherwise! New transport measures will always be controversial and there has been some opposition to the introduction of...[CONTINUE READING]

The full interview has been published in the 'Thinking Cities' magazine, a joint publication of Polis and H3B Media. Issue 3, November/2014, page 16. Access it here.


Click here to view a list of all recent events.

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