Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and has 617 000 inhabitants. The city is situated in the picturesque natural environment and is famed for its cultural heritage around the world. Its future is linked to ongoing urban development processes, open market developments and evolution creating a multitude of situations and possible solutions. Before the economic peak pre-dating the 2008 global economic crisis, Vilnius experienced rapid and uncoordinated residential construction. No comprehensive territorial planning was required at that time, new development took place very spontaneously and rather chaotically producing what is today called the peripheral zone, where urban sprawl dominates. The central city has been steadily losing its young population to the suburbs. This pattern of urban development carries a significant number of disadvantages such as severe traffic congestion, limited social life and expensive infrastructure. Thus a key question for the city administration today is to identify, test and implement initiatives which can attract more people to use sustainable transport modes for travelling to central zone and thus to drive local economic development and urban sustainability.
Vilnius is an ambitious city interested in innovations. Participation in cities.multimodal is an opportunity to introduce multimodality to Vilnius’ residents and visitors. The main goal is to reduce transit in the Antakalnis district (pilot area). This goal corresponds with vision for the area - improved road safety, better local economy, reduced noise and air pollution, reduced traffic congestion. Transport systems that are adaptable for kids, families, older and disabled people, a greener city with a smaller proportion of public space devoted to parked and vehicles, improved personal security, reduced proportion of household budget spent on transport, reduced oil-based energy consumption – these are all goals that are important for the whole city as well as for Antakalnis.
The activities in the project started with a preparatory analysis which consisted of three phases and resulted in a SWOT self-assessment. During this stage potential lot for the mobility point (with big P&R facilities) was considered. The preferred option with initial design proposals were discussed publicly. Through these activities strong stakeholders’ and community involvement was achieved.
Pilot area: Antakalnis district
In the preparation stage of the Antakalnis’ SUMP some main problems of the area were identified; missing priority for public transport in traffic management and the cycling infrastructure. The implementation of the pilot area SUMP should start from raising awareness of the sustainable mobility concept and communicating the benefits it provides to the local environment, economic and residents’ health. The next step is to install the mobility points. At the same time the missing links between pedestrian and cycling infrastructures along with prioritized public transport network lanes will be developed. With all these measures Antakalnis will be more than ready for the effective introduction of multimodal services.
Analysis of the current situation in the Antakalnis district showed that the motorization level in the area is lower than average number in whole Vilnius city. Despite of that, the share of trips made by car in Antakalnis is higher than in the rest of the city (64,3 % vs. 48,3 %). This indicates high rate of transit through this particular district and an opportunity to reduce it with help of the cities.multimodal project.
The specific area for the mobility points is very suitable because of big passenger flows, workplaces, academic and medical facilities. The area is on the edge of the city and has good public transport services, which is very important in order for car users to change to public transport.