The vehicle-to-population ratio growth in Russia has led to a number of downsides associated with the expanding use of personal vehicles: rising traffic congestion, emissions of pollutants, road traffic accidents and travel time losses. In many Russian cities, people in practice don’t use public transport because of its poor reliability, large headways and poor quality of services, uncomfortable routes orsimply, because it is not available! To address these challenges, we need an integrated approach to develop sustainable urban transportation systems and understand the ways to implement this approach by federal, regional and municipal executive authorities of the Russian Federation, business community and the public.
Russian Course for Sustainability
Russia has made a huge step towards sustainable urban mobility. Russia is actively involved in THE PEP – the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme of UNECE and adopted the Paris Declaration: “City in Motion – People First!” in April 2014. Through the declaration, European countries are creating a new vision of green and healthy mobility and transport to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all, linking the promotion of health and sustainability to socioeconomic justice.
At the same time in large cities there are several factors that determine the sustainability of transport development, its energy efficiency and environmental safety: high rates of motorization; unreasoned territorial zoning, planning and development of urban and suburban areas, which is conducted without taking into account the capacity of the street-road network; low competitiveness of public transport in comparison to personal vehicle.
To implement successfully sustainable urban mobility measures, Russian cities have been studying and adopting the best foreign practices, particularly from the Nordic countries:
- Nordic-Russia Green Growth Arena; (www.arena.leontief-centre.ru)
- City SAGA. Public Spaces in Transformation; (www.saga.leontief-centre.ru)
- Green Mobility: Towards Clean, Healthy and Accessible Environment (www.mobility.leontief-centre.ru)
Pskov City Administration jointly with ICSER Leontief Centre and Green Mobility initiative, has joined the project cities. multimodal with the following objectives: to estimate the traffic demand in the historical borders of the city of Pskov and develop solutions for better use of urban space, to reduce the number of personal vehicles, and plan a compact transport infrastructure for the citizens and city guests.
Pskov's Transformation into Livable City
Pskov's citizens are worried about the transport infrastructure in the city. Opinion polls show that people highly approve key green mobility concepts and want to see changes in their city - moving towards balanced development of all transport modes and shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transport modes. Traffic congestion in the central part of Pskov deprives citizens of a safe and high-quality urban environment (www.mobility.leontief-centre.ru/67).
A true City for People must be SMART, ATTRACTIVE, GREEN AND ACCESSIBLE
A city becomes healthy and sustainable when the citizens no longer only rely on their cars but on walking, bikes and eco-friendly public transport.
Traffic restriction, cycling development, expanding the network of open public spaces - all these urban areas’ changing scenarios lead to shifts in society and people's behavior. A city is not buildings and engineering services, but people and their social ties. Squares, pedestrian streets, boulevards create life in the city and form a society. That is why it is important to make an urban environment friendly, people-oriented and humane.
Within the framework of the project cities.multimodal Russian partners together with European partners, planned to develop Russia’s first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), based on the modern techniques for estimating traffic demand in the historical borders of the city of Pskov.
The SUMP will help to develop solutions for better use of urban space, to reduce the number of personal vehicles and plan a compact transport infrastructure, allocating as much space as possible in the historical center of Pskov for citizens and city guests.
Also, in June 2019, Pskov will host the 39th International Hanseatic Days. Officials point out that it is crucial for Pskov to focus on green solutions and provide sustainable development, supported by successful experience of holding the International Hanseatic Days in other cities.
Nevertheless, the Pskov’s efforts towards development and beautification of the embankment are a great step forward in overall urban development and creation of favorable conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Green Mobility project experts have high expectations for Pskov and believe that this city could be the first city in Russia to adopt foreign practices and establish sustainable transportation system. In 2017 City of Pskov was awarded by the International Green Mobility Award.
The award is annually given to the cities, which are implementing innovative projects and development strategies for sustainable transport, improving mobility for all citizens, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, improving road safety and creating an accessible environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
Text by Kristina Kobyz, Pskov City Administration and Olga Iakimenko, International Centre for Social and Economic Research “Leontief Centre"