In this Edition
Budapest • Frankfurt-Rhein-Main • Leuven • London • Madrid • Manchester… and a focus on Micromobility
The inclusive city
Diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords across the mobility sector and pledges have come in thick and fast. Phrases including ‘citizen engagement’, ‘gender parity’ and ‘equal opportunity’ have become part and parcel of the sustainability lexicon. However, change on the ground has often been slower, says Karen Vancluysen
Karen Vancluysen Secretary General of Polis
We can no longer afford to drag our feet; those reliant on the most unsustainable means of transit are often the most underserved and vulnerable groups. At the same time, new solutions mean new, diverse ways of thinking. There will be no sustainable future without equity, and Green Deal goals will remain pipe dreams if these communities remain excluded. Yet, action is advancing, and we are witnessing a shift in the ways urban mobility is developed, by whom and for who. POLIS has been working closely with our membership and beyond to put equality at the centre of our transport systems. From electromobility to active travel, public transit to urban vehicle access regulations, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our work with our cities, regions, transport operators and research institutions. All of these stakeholders can – and must – play a part. Ensuring a just transition to a sustainable mobility future will need close cross-sector collaboration to address accessibility, affordability, and inclusivity.
This issue of Thinking Cities, “The Inclusive City”, is testament to this. Across this publication we showcase the fantastic efforts our members – and others – are conducting to ensure nobody is left behind in our pursuit of cleaner and greener cities.
We see how Frankfurt-Rhein-Mein’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is placing citizens first, the ways the Gustave Eiffel University is improving road safety for gig-workers, and Sustrans’ support for active travel amongst older generations – and the list continues. We explore the multiple ways inclusion is being pioneered on the ground. Projects including SURF, INDIMO and ReVeAL are piloting solutions in real-time, proving that genuine change is possible. We also hear from individuals leading the change, including Matthew Baldwin, Manager of the EU Mission to achieve 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030; David Dessers, Alderman for Mobility from the city of Leuven; Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation; Monica Garrison, Founder of the growing community of Black Girls Do Bike; and Karel Martens, author of Transport Justice, a landmark publication on designing fair transportation systems.
While these are disparate examples, they are united in their efforts to place citizens first- regardless of age, gender, economic situation, physical ability, sexuality, or race. This requires taking a long, hard look at our own organisations. Creating inclusive transport services demands diversity at the policy level too. Accelerating the shift to sustainable mobility is a major challenge and solutions require thinking and working outside the box, in some cases completely overturning long accepted practices. This means leveraging all our human resources. Yet, we all know our industry has a long way to go. With only 22% of women working in transport in the European Union, the transport sector is far from gender balanced. POLIS has made comprehensive commitments to ensuring gender parity at our conference, ensuring visibility, and offering a platform to women in transport to share their work. At the same time, new transport technologies, data management systems and partnership models are transforming the entire transport workforce, from managing shared transit services to Mobility as a Service, automation, and alternatives fuels. This is reshaping the skills and competencies required by our local authorities and their transport operators, and we must equip ourselves for what lies ahead. This is why POLIS is calling on policymakers to place inclusion, diversity and equality at the forefront with the launch of the POLIS Just Transition agenda, recognising the current imbalances and unfairness, understanding specific needs, and creating concrete action through mechanisms for public oversight and inclusive governance approaches. As we learn across this magazine and our annual conference, no man, woman, city or region is an island; for truly sustainable mobility, we must all be on board – in every sense.