CIVITAS Forum 2019
The CIVITAS Forum 2019 was held in Graz, Austria from 2 to 4 October 2019. Being one of Europe’s leading sustainable urban mobility events, the forum gathers an international audience of the field. This year’s theme was entitled “Back to the future” – a reference to CIVITAS being back in Graz after the very first forum took place there in 2003 and to one of the forum’s main questions in 2019: How will the future of mobility look like?
Shaping the future of mobility is a core feature of the SaMBA project: the Interreg Alpine Space project is interested in long-term behaviour change. By tackling the roots of sustainable mobility, the project consortium aims at increasing the use of low-carbon transport options. To this end, rewards and pricing principles are tested and their impact on behaviour change estimated. In nine pilots, different reward schemes and incentives are put to use to inspire mobility change. Some first results regarding the effectiveness and impact of rewards were obtained in 2019 by the project partners. In order to disseminate the results and to discuss their usefulness with others, the SaMBA consortium took part in CIVITAS 2019.
In session 9, entitled “How new technologies and strategies can change peoples’ behaviour”, Stefania Mauro of the LINKS Foundation, presented on behalf of the consortium. The session, moderated by Ingrid Briesner from Austrian Mobility Research, went through some successful implementation strategies that cities have put in practice to encourage the modal shift towards sustainable modes of transport. Experiences on marketing and commercial initiatives in public transport to rebalance modal share (Horários do Funchal, Portugal), gamification as a mean to push behaviour change (ARDITI, Portugal), effective relationship between senior citizens and new technologies (City of Munich, Germany) and on a new smart route planner which take into account the characteristics and needs of users (City of Antwerp, Belgium) have been presented. In this interactive session with changing presentation styles and lively discussions, participants got a deeper insight into the development of new strategies and tools on how to nudge/encourage people to change behaviour. Stefania Mauro presented the SaMBA Project and its 9 pilot cases across 5 countries of the Alpine Space Area, which are playing a central role in the project for the development and implementation of reward and pricing policies aimed at significantly modifying the users’ behaviour.
Furthermore, SaMBA shared an exhibition booth together with ASTUS, another Interreg Alpine Space project. The booth allowed for intense networking during the breaks and in between sessions. Interesting connections were made with other Interreg projects, dealing with all sorts of daily mobility routines. Even though territories were different, approaches to influence behaviour were similar. Further connections were established to networks of public authorities organized around the topic of transport and mobility. These new stakeholders will become especially interesting when organizing the next transnational SaMBA workshop, for which some of these representatives could serve as external experts or participants.
In addition to the active participation in the session and the booth, SaMBA project partners also benefitted of the program highlights to gain new insights into the on-going European mobility debate. Climate Alliance’s, partner in SaMBA, cycling campaign which is also carried out in a pilot in SaMBA was presented in a session and attracted several interested municipalities – an opportunity to exchange over first observations made in the pilot. Other presentations of projects with high impact on behaviour and gamification approaches, such as PING by Bike Citizens, were received by the consortium with a high level of interest.
In conclusion, the CIVITAS Forum 2019 was a high-level conference with a variety of hot mobility topics present and a welcome opportunity to spread SaMBA’s approach and first results. As for next year, SaMBA will develop a tool to measure impact of mobility policies and measures. The CIVITAS Forum 2020 could potentially be interesting for its reveal to the larger public.