“Sustainability is key for all development and the regions have an important role to play in this” AER President, Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli, said in her opening speech. “Regions are diverse, as are the problems we face when working towards sustainability. That is why cooperation between regions all over Europe is important” she said an pointed out that Izmir sets an example for regions to drive sustainable mobility.
In his opening words, the host and Mayor of Izmir, Mr Aziz Kocaoglu underlined this and stated “Izmir’s objective is to get to a really sustainable world, and it starts with a sustainable region”
The conference on sustainable mobility took place on 8 November in the framework of the Autumn Committees Plenary in Izmir (TR). The speakers in the panel shared insight and good practices for regions to drive sustainable mobility.
Izmir sets the standards high for sustainable mobility
Dr. Buğra Gökçe, Secretary General of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality gave an extensive overview of the wide-range of actions set up in Izmir to improve the sustainability of mobility. There are almost 6 million journeys taken in one day in İzmir. Two thirds of these are taken in the center are by vehicle (motor vehicles such as private vehicle, bus, minibus, services, motorcycle).
Izmir has set up an impressive range of public transportation including rail (serving 192 kilometers), sea transportation (ferry boats), rubber-tired vehicle transportation, electric buses, bicycles (and the very useful “busses carrying bicycles” allowing passengers to better switch from one public transport to another).
These numerous vehicles are optimised by projects and studies that guarantee their proper implementation and usage. Izmir is also equipped with an advanced IT system allowing for the management, in real time, of the different transportation systems.
High return on investment for sustainable mobility
Mr. Kaan Yildizgoz, Training Director at the international organisation for public transport (UITP) presented the 5 pillars for increasing the investment in public transport with examples from cities around the world. (1) the economic impact with more jobs and productivity gain for businesses; (2) human capital with quality and high skilled jobs, (3) physical capital and the regeneration impact, (4) the global appeal with attractiveness for tourists and business travellers (5) improved quality of life including road safety and air quality.
Mr Yildizgoz also gave recommendations for mobility in low density areas as the city centre congestion problems are linked to the mobility issues in rural areas. Some of the solutions and trends include on demand transport, car-sharing and uber-like systems. “Our data shows that for every euro invested in public transportation, the return on investment is approximately 4 euros” explained Mr Yildizgoz, encouraging regions to continue their efforts towards sustainable mobility.
Experience from Istanbul
Mr Gökan Zeybek, Vice Mayor of Sariyer Municipality presented the situation in Istanbul and some of the particularities linked to the great population increase rate and large immigration rate have caused unique problems for the city. 30% of household budgets are spent on transportation compared to the 10% recommendation from Europe. Many investments have been made including suspended bridges and metro to cope with the needs of the population. Mr Zeybek identified the gap for development of railway in Turkey and the race now to catch up on that front.
The conference was followed by a study visit in Izmir where the participants could experience many of the public transportation systems including bicycles, ferry boat, bus and metro.