The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) held the National Urban Mobility Conference for the first time on 24 October. The aim of the conference was to bring together experts from Ukrainian and other European cities to discuss the design of urban transportation systems.
In a riveting talk, Allison Dutoit, from Gehl Architects in Copenhagen, illustrated how transport planning has changed worldwide in the last few decades. She underlined how urban and mobility planning that focuses on people instead of cars makes a crucial contribution to enhancing the appeal of cities as places to live and work. Voldymyr Motyl then presented a study of the current state of urban transportation planning in Ukraine. He pointed out that transportation planning at the moment tends to take a general approach, with little attention being paid to pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users, or to the application of up-to-date expertise. Transport models for monitoring the effectiveness of measures in the transport network are rarely used and thus there is a recurring risk of investments being misdirected and costly.
The second forum focused on whether bus rapid transit (BRT) systems could also be an option in Ukrainian cities. According to Oliver Schaal of Daimler, ‘All over the world, bus rapid transit systems are being used successfully to address pressing mobility problems.’ BRT systems often have distinct advantages over metro systems, as the latter are usually extremely expensive and are difficult to incorporate into existing city structures. Con Kehely spoke about Dublin’s user-friendly bus system.
The third panel addressed integrated public transport systems. In many European regions, public transportation users benefit from integrated ticket systems, standardised information and high quality standards. In the past few years, it has become a matter of course that the transfer from tram to bus to metro and train is simple and barrier-free. Transport associations organise regional public transport systems that extend beyond city borders into the regions. How these function and what is required was described by representatives from the regional transport network of Freiburg and from the Rhine-Main network, one of the largest in the world. Ukrainian cities, too, are working to improve public transport while also ensuring that it is economically viable. Representatives from the city of Vinnytsa were among those reporting on their efforts to reorganise and modernise local regional networks. They described how extensive involvement of the local population in planning the new network not only ensured that the reform was widely accepted but also helped in swiftly overcoming teething problems.
The subjects of the fourth panel were cycling in Ukraine and Europe and the Freiburg ‘Green City’ concept. Presentations were made on the notable progress achieved in recent years and on current planning in the cities of Lviv, Kyiv and Donetsk. For the conference participants, the discussion illustrated clearly that urban mobility in Ukrainian cities is now inconceivable without the bicycle.
The concluding panel discussed the options for financing urban transportation and potential entry points for international cooperation. According to Mathias Merforth (GIZ), road users in Ukraine have so far contributed virtually nothing towards the financing of transport infrastructure. In comparison with other European countries, car duties, tariffs and taxes in Ukraine are extremely low. Merforth believes that strengthening the principle of ‘transport finances transport’, with investment in public transport, cycling and pedestrians being a clear priority, is urgently required to overcome the challenges of transportation in Ukrainian cities.
Approximately 120 representatives from 15 Ukrainian cities, regional administrations and ministries attended the event. In addition to experts from planning institutions, municipalities, science and research institutions, the participants included committed NGO representatives.
‘An expert exchange on innovative solutions in public transport is imperative if we are to make well-informed decisions. Together with the Ministry, we would like to share the innovative approaches that are applied in Ukraine along with the solutions that other European cities have discovered. Overloaded public transit systems, traffic congestion in the cities and a paucity of public funds compel us to use the available resources as intelligently as possible,’ said Mathias Brandt, Director of the GIZ project on Advisory Service and Capacity Building for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship.
The conference will be held again next year.
The presentations are available under the link: http://www.slideshare.net/velotransport
For further information please contact:
Director, Advisory Service and Capacity Building for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)