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European Commission


Brussels, 17 September 2012

Ten CIVITAS success stories

Since 2002, the CIVITAS Initiative has supported 59 cities implementing over 730 innovative measures for sustainable urban mobility. These include measures for: clean fuels and vehicles; collective passenger transport; demand management strategies; mobility management; safety and security; less car dependent lifestyles; urban freight logistics; transport telematics. Including Commission support of 197m€, the CIVITAS Initiative will leverage a total investment by cities of 370m€ in four phases.

Some examples of successful measures recorded during CIVITAS projects are listed below, though it should be appreciated that CIVITAS actions are implemented as an integral part of the participating cities' overall sustainable urban mobility plans – consistent with the CIVITAS philosophy of stimulating collaboration between lead and learning cities which already have, mature, or semi-mature mobility plans,

Successes include:

1. Clean fuels and vehicles:

In Stockholm, the public transport buses and private fossil-fuelled vehicle fleet is being replaced with clean vehicles that run on biogas and ethanol. As a result of continuing efforts beyond the CIVITAS-TRENDSETTER project, 130 biogas buses and 500 ethanol buses had been put into operation by Stockholm Transport by 2010. By 2012, Stockholm is fully serviced by clean buses – 800 bioethanol and 270 biogas buses run on a daily schedule. Stockholm now has a comprehensive infrastructure for alternative fuels. Local biogas production facilities supply part of the produced alternative fuels. The local measures indicated that the introduction of biogas led to reduced emissions of fossil carbon dioxide by 86 % and emissions of nitrogen oxides, small particulates and carbon monoxide by 50 %, although hydrocarbon emissions were 20 times higher. Noise levels fell by 50 %. More than 90 % of drivers would recommend others to drive biogas heavy vehicles.

2. Collective Passenger Transport

A new dedicated bus lane was constructed in Nantes during their CIVITAS project VIVALDI, Completing the 3-line tram network, the new bus line aimed to offer the same level of service as a tram. BusWay incorporated all the elements that characterised the tram: dedicated lane, dedicated rolling stock, well-designed and equipped stations, priority at all intersections, high frequency. Moreover it serves within extended hours four park and ride facilities. The line is in total seven kilometres long and has 15 stations.

The EUR 50 million infrastructure costs and EUR 9.2 million for 20 natural gas articulated buses brought the costs at EUR 8 million per kilometre, which is about three times less than a tramway would have cost. Regularity went up to 95% with an average service speed up from 21 to 23 kilometres per hour. Ridership also increased significantly from 17,000 users per day when inaugurated up to 21,000 after four months, and 30,000 by 2012.

3. Demand Management Strategies

The Stockholm congestion charging scheme combined with its clean vehicle and fuel strategy was facilitated through work within CIVITAS-TRENDSETTER. Clean vehicles are exempted from paying the congestion charge; together with emergency vehicles, taxis and motorcycles they comprise about 18% of all vehicles. Following the scheme implementation, decreases in traffic by 22% and queuing times by 30-50% during rush hours as well as an increase of ~3% in public transport travel were observed. These improvements were maintained in the following years. The clean vehicle share increased to about 8%.

4. Mobility Management

In Stuttgart a high number of regional commuters (some 260,000 people into and out of the city) plus numerous large-scale public events result in additional challenges. The CIVITAS-CARAVEL project proved to be a valuable trigger to initiate and implement a number of integrated sustainable mobility measures in Stuttgart.

The Pendlernetz Stuttgart car-pooling system offers all commuters a chance to find an appropriate car pool, Innovative features of the system include communication on potential car pools via mobile phone text messages to users; geographically referenced route mapping; and automatic transfer to the public transport information system to help people find alternative options in the event that no suitable car pool match is found. As a result, demand for the carpooling system increased: the number of hits on the carpooling portal rose from around 200,000 in 2005 to more than 800,000 in 2008.

5. Safety and Security

Within the CIVITAS-CARAVEL project the city of Krakow implemented a package of measures, all geared towards making the roads of the Polish city safer for pedestrians, public transport users but also for car drivers. During the CIVITAS measure ‘Monitoring Centre for Road Safety and Accident Prevention’ members of the police were equipped with mobile computers to collect all relevant information in case of an accident in a standardised data format directly at the site. This information was automatically forwarded to a new central resource and information management centre where also the impact of the accident on the public transport system was analysed. Overall this measure helped to improve the entire information process, led to a better understanding of the causes of road accidents, and thereby contributed to more road safety and a much better management also of the public transport system.

6. Less car dependent lifestyles;

Odense is an atmospheric city in the heart of Denmark on the green island of Funen. With 185,000 inhabitants, Odense participated in the MOBILIS project. The project work of the Danish city included the integration and quality improvements of sustainable modes, the implementation of environmental zones and interactive traffic training for children. Each element included a combination of measures comprising campaigns, citizen involvement and physical improvements, while a particular focus was put on the promotion of cycling.

The city administration developed a website including an interactive route planner as well as a wide selection of maps of cycle paths. On this site it is also possible to report a defected cycle path. The cycle parking facilities for bicycles in the town centre, at bus stops and at the railway station have also been improved. A special focus was put on the design and protection against theft. As an extra service drinking water machines and six bicycle pumps have been installed along routes to and from the city centre and harbour area.

7. Urban Freight Logistics

La Rochelle set up a logistics platform and a systematic approach to urban goods transportation. The objective was to optimise goods distribution in the city’s historical centre with an environmentally friendly approach. The platform engages in two types of activities: delivery of parcels and auxiliary services with electric vehicles. This involved the identification of locations for restricted access to distribution vehicles and the set-up of specific urban delivery zones. Retailers go to these zones to collect their packages; within a system of optimised goods distribution. Specific electric vehicles are used for distribution.

8. Transport telematics

Toulouse started its innovative ticketing solutions with a magnetic stripe ticket in 1992 and is now using a smartcard solution called “Pastel” with more than 380,000 cards distributed since 2007. Thanks to its success, new offers have been developed e.g. the combination of the Pastel card for public transport with the bicycle card “VélôToulouse” or multiservice cards for schools and universities soon using the NFC technology. Smart ticketing is perceived to be reliable, convenient, fast and easy to use and giving more liberty to users to travel.

9. Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans

Gent in East Flanders is a CIVITAS city which committed itself early to the principles of SUMP and successfully transformed from a car and traffic dominated city to a people and quality of life focused city. It has a population of 243,000 and has been implementing mobility plans and sustainable transport measures since the late 1980s. In the 1980’s, the historic city centre of Gent was congested with private vehicles. In 1987, the city introduced its first attempt to reduce city centre congestion. Traffic that entered the city would enter the ring road but could not proceed to the heart of the city centre; only public transport and bikes were permitted to enter. The plan achieved its objective and there was a large reduction in private car use in the city centre, but the plan was hugely unpopular. ‘Stad Gent’ recognised that the plan was poorly conceived, as there were no accompanying measures, such as bicycle policy, parking policy, public transport, refurbished streets and squares, to help people access the city centre sustainably. As a result there was a drop in consumers visiting the shops and under heavy protest from local shopkeepers the plan was withdrawn. Another significant problem was the poor communication and promotion of the plan.

10. Policy advocacy and networking

CIVITAS is an ideal platform for the exchange of ideas and experience between politicians and technical experts. Currently more than 200 cities across 31 countries regularly exchange knowledge, solutions and results within the CIVITAS Forum Network. By signing a non-binding voluntary agreement known as the CIVITAS Declaration, any European city can join this community and benefit from the accumulated know-how and experience of other participants. Study tours and targeted training ensure the possibility for face-to-face exchange.

As part of the network, cities are eligible to participate in the competition for the prestigious CIVITAS Awards, held annually at the Forum Network Conference – where CIVITAS cities showcase their successes in clean urban transport. Hosted each year by a different city, the conference brings together key actors from Europe and outside for dialogue with European institutions and other cities.

Political representatives of CIVITAS Forum cities are nominated to serve on the CIVITAS Political Advisory Committee, a group of politicians that represent, in a personal capacity, the CIVITAS Forum Network. They actively engage with the European Union in a bid to inform future transport policy initiatives and research strategy.

CIVITAS also facilitates involvement at local level through the CIVINET national networks. Local authorities and other organisations interested in sustainable urban mobility can benefit from collaborating in their own language.

What are the main challenges European cities are facing today?

Urban areas are important centres of social, economic and cultural life: more than 75% of Europe's population live in cities and more than 80% of the EU's GDP is generated there. For urban areas to function properly and offer a high quality of life to their citizens, they have to provide effective transport systems which meet the needs of people and businesses. In many cities, however, it has become very difficult to meet the different mobility demands of the users. At the same time, cities are struggling to reduce the negative impacts of mobility and transport, such as poor air quality, congestion, and traffic accidents.

Reversing these negative trends and implementing strategies for more sustainable urban mobility is primarily the responsibility of local and regional authorities. However, urban mobility is not only a local matter: it impacts security of energy supply, mitigation of climate change, public health. Urban mobility, through inter-urban and intermodal links, can also impact the efficient functioning of the trans-European transport network. Therefore concerted effort is needed at all levels: local, regional, national, and European to realise efficient, affordable and sustainable transport systems. This will require unprecedented levels of stakeholder co-operation in planning, developing and deploying innovative technologies and supportive policies.

The European Commission has supported a number of activities to inform and support cities in taking local actions. These, include the action plan on urban mobility, launched in 2009, with 20 concrete measures to be undertaken by 2012. Over the last ten years, the CIVITAS Initiative has provided 200 m€ support for research and demonstration of innovative urban mobility technologies and policies. Focused and practical support is also available for cities developing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans through the ELTIS PLUS project, funded under the IEE programme..

What is CIVITAS?

The CIVITAS initiative is a programme of the European Union, funded under the 7th Framework Programme for Research, which aims at demonstrating innovative solutions for sustainable urban mobility and informing on urban mobility policy. It is implemented mainly through shared-cost demonstration projects. The projects combine technical demonstrations (e.g. ITS, clean vehicles) with urban transport policy measures to stimulate uptake. A strong emphasis is placed on evaluation of costs and benefits of innovative measures and assessing the potential for up-scaling and replication in other cities. Dissemination is a key element of CIVITAS and knowledge captured and recommended best practice is accessible at the CIVITAS website.. CIVITAS also supports networking between cities, information exchange, and training placements.

What are the main achievements of CIVITAS?

Since its launch in 2002, the CIVITAS initiative has been an important catalyst for change in the participating cities. It has supported them in overcoming some of the barriers they face in providing citizens, businesses and industry with more attractive and sustainable urban mobility solutions:

  • CIVITAS projects are based on partnerships involving "lead" and "learning" cities which have already invested effort in urban mobility planning. The cities collaborate closely in implementing similar measures under different conditions. Transport planners and local politicians benefit from sharing experiences and mutual learning. Demonstrations are carried out under challenging real-life conditions which tests technologies and public acceptance. CIVITAS has repeatedly demonstrated how the success of measures is very dependent on securing political support and especially the full engagement of citizens – leading to a sense of shared ownership and civic pride.

  • CIVITAS helps European municipalities to develop the knowledge base needed for informed policy making. To this end, the initiative provides them with financial support for testing new technologies and concepts for urban mobility. The initiative offers cities a framework to evaluate the impact of measures as well as assess the procedures used for putting them in place - prior to full-scale implementation.

  • Providing European citizens with a seamless and efficient transport system requires close cooperation and coordination between authorities at EU level and in the Member States. CIVITAS fosters such close cooperation and provides a platform for exchange between regional and local authorities and European Institutions.

  • CIVITAS, by bringing like-minded cities together and offering them tangible EU support, helps cities to make and maintain a commitment to innovate and put urban transport on a more sustainable path.

What are the next steps?

The Commission will continue to support European cities in their efforts for better and more sustainable urban transport. Future actions will be informed by the CIVITAS initiative, the review of implementing the action plan on urban mobility, and the vision for the future development of the European transport system as outlined in the 2011 Transport White Paper. It is intended to continue research and demonstration of innovative urban mobility technologies and policies, in the frame of the Horizon 2020 Programme, the new framework programme for research and innovation. Following the experience of CIVITAS this will include demonstrations of integrated packages of innovative technical and policy measures in cities, and impact and process evaluation with a view to supporting cities in developing and managing transition strategies to sustainable urban mobility. Emphasis on planning, networking and professional exchanges is also envisaged.

Facts and figures

  • Launched in 2002

  • 13 demonstration projects, with 59 cities participating

  • Over 730 technical and policy-based urban transport measures implemented and evaluated

  • A network of over 200 cities participating or associated with the Initiative; some 70 million Europeans live in a "CIVITAS city"

  • EU financial contribution through the research framework programme: 200 M€, leveraging a total investment estimated at 370m€

The phases of CIVITAS:



No cities

No demonstration projects

Budget (M€)







2005-2009 (FP6)





2008-2013 (FP7)





2012-2017 (FP7)




1contracts currently under negotiation

More information:



Action Plan on Urban Mobility -

2011 Transport White Paper -

CIVITAS Initiative -

Information on measures supported:

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