Better connections, safer infraestructures, cultural shift and the use of big data to foster soft mobility in the Mediterranean area, what the experts say and how are cities addressing the problem. 


MedCities organised the 4th webinar within the framework of the Urban Transport Community mobility online sessions series, about soft mobility solutions in the Mediterranean. During the session, 35 participants representing local and regional governments, public and private entities with competence in urban mobility, got online to discover peer cities’ expertise in shaping better and safer cycling connections, working on accessibility to make it a solution for all, deploying clearer sign systems or setting cross-municipal dialogue to discuss the future bike lanes. Another 80 people followed or checked the MedCities Facebook live recording of the discussion. 

MedCities, Secretary-General, Mr. Josep Canals introduced the session by presenting MedCities’ work and mission. He introduced the topic of the webinar by referring to the importance of multi-modality in our cities and shared a message for policy makers “defending the rights of the pedestrian and bicycle users means building a more democratic city”, an idea that generated consensus among the speakers. 

Ms. Esther Anaya Boig, bicycle mobility researcher and soft mobility expert, presented the integrated cycling policy framework, which explores the interrelation of better and safer infrastructure for cycling with regulations, training and coaching, governance, communication, social and cultural movements, and planning instruments. The main idea is to: “Not only to create more effective cycling policies but to make them more equitable, focusing on providing access to cycling for all, rather than just promotion”. 

Participants were then introduced to 3 pioneering city cases from Italy, Spain and Albania. The Municipality of Durres, – MedCities city member- represented by Ms. Aurora Pilinçi, presented their Bike lane network extension by stressing the need: “To consult the real bike users in order for public and private institutions to understand the priorities and gaps at stake”. In fact, the Durres bicycle association was a key stakeholder during the whole process since the extension designing phase. 

Ms Mariona Conill, from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area Mobility Department unveiled the key features of the BICIVIA project, the Metropolitan bike lane network that aims at upgrading and completing the existing cycling network to make a safer, better adapted and effectively connected metropolitan sustainable mobility network. She highlighted that “the COVID19 has generated a new opportunity to push forward key measures, such as the prioritisation of 74,5 Km of new bike lanes in strategic unconnected areas”. 

Finally, Mr Marco Affronte and Alberto Rossini presented the Misano – Adriatico Bike lane upgrade whose aim is to connect the coastal area with the interior part of the city and region. He stressed as a lesson learnt the need to foresee adaptation measures to respond to unforeseen challenges. 

To sum up, the audience and the soft mobility expert reflected on the key drivers of cycling policy success and its impacts at city level: participatory processes for more democratic cities, transitioning from leisure cycling to mobility cycling like in Misano-Adriatico, involving key stakeholders for a wider impact like in Dürres, or focus on enhancing quality and safety-driven connectivity like in the AMB. The closing idea was that “cycling contributes to the resilience of our cities”.

The Urban Transports Community aims to mainstream good mobility practices developed in the frame of the Interreg MED Programme. This webinar is part of a series of thematic webinars : “Implementing Sustainable Mobility in the Mediterranean”, addressing the five thematic focus of the urban Transport Community on the Mediterranean area: shared mobility, soft mobility, Data & ICT for smart traffic management, mobility in tourist areas and new planning approaches to mobility. 

If you are interested in watching this complete 4th webinar, you can do it here.

For next week webinar the focus is on SHARED MOBILITY SOLUTIONS.

Check the whole programme and register for the upcoming sessions here

Should you want to know more about the call for replicators and the UTC’s mentoring opportunity we presented during the webinar, please check all the details and reach out to us for any further question,  

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