To support European cities develop transportation networks that meet 21st century standards for safety, pollution and sustainability, the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport commissioned environmental consultancy Ricardo to develop an online toolset that makes it easy for cities to see the effects of policies on the ground. The tool has been launched and is freely available.
Improving urban transportation, in line with growing demands to make cities more sustainable, less polluted and more efficient in getting people from A to B, remains on the agenda for the EU as it seeks to meet ambitious climate goals as well as wider health and economic points. Urban centres now account for up to 70% of Europe’s energy related carbon dioxide emissions, and house 70% of its population – in many densely populated cities, noxious exhaust, sound, and other pollutants as a result of transportation are creating considerable headaches for policy planners of the hubs of European growth.
The European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG Move) released a Transport White Paper that set out a range of goals aimed at addressing the various environmental, social and economic challenges faced by cities by virtue of the current transportation model. The targets, in addition, put in place a number of requirement on local authorities to reduce the number of conventional cars on their roads. The research also found that market conditions will not drive cars off the road without policy intervention, thereby requiring policy action on the side of cities for their citizens.
In a bid to support city leaders develop the policies that, on-the-ground, lead to better outcomes for citizens and the environment, the DG Move developed a toolset that allows cities to better understand their current situation regarding transportation, as well as plot a pathway towards a more sustainable, less polluted, safer and more efficient future. The tool was designed with engineering and consultancy firm Ricardo Energy and Environment. The online tool leverages a model for planners to replicated a variety of conditions within their respective cities, as well as providing a means to assess a range of outcomes from possible transport policies on cities’ transport system, environment and economy.
According to the firm’s press release, “The tool covers all modes of transport used in urban areas and has been designed for use by different types of city – users can select from a set of default ‘city types’ built into the tool. This allows users to select default data covering a wide range of parameters that are representative of the situation in their own city, reducing the amount of information that users need to supply. If users have access to more detailed data about their city, they can customise the default city data. A key benefit of the tool is that users do not need any prior experience in transport modelling. The tool is user-friendly, and has a simple and intuitive graphical user interface.”