Medium_rr3 (R)evolution to resilient mobility?

15 Dec 15:39

Robert Rijavec

TURAS – resilient alternative for active public participation in the planning of sustainable mobility

The Ljubljana Urban Region is the central and the most densely populated region in Slovenia with 25 % of all Slovenia’s population. Ljubljana as the capital city is the centre of employment and services to surrounding areas and as an important actor in the overall territorial development. Mobility is essential for further regional development searching for an alternative solution in the use of private transport mode. Due to the spatial expansion and urban sprawl the transport demands have increased in LUR. There are series of problems, such as inadequate land use and transport planning that impairs sustainability and transport mobility in urban region. For this reason it is important to develop instruments for better mobility and more sustainable transport system at the same time. Sustainable urban development (through spatial and land use management) is one of the main challenges for sustainable mobility. The second challenge is the transport policy, which represents the balance between transport demand and supply. It prevents the increase of passenger car volume with the promotion of public transport systems. This promotion is strongly related to mobility behaviour patterns and demands public communication with citizens. One of the objectives of transport policy is to promote an environmentally and socially sustainable traffic with internalisation of the transport external costs. Users should be aware to bear the full costs of their respective mobility choice, including environmental impacts. Spatial development also shows a potential to manage travel (or mobility) behaviour. Traditional traffic policy instruments alone are not the most effective measure to change mobility behaviour into an environmentally and socially sustainable mobility planning. Traditional instruments should be accompanied by information, education and motivation measures, including public participation (PP). We could say that the city of Ljubljana is on the right way towards sustainable mobility after implementing CIVITAS Elan project. Above all, Ljubljana was awarded the prestigious European Mobility Week Award for 2013 and the European Green Capital Award 2016 when the jury highlighted the city’s achievements towards sustainable mobility as a strong factor of the decision.

Figure 1: “R-Evolution”: renovation of Slovenska st. in Ljubljana (Photos: BoBo/RTVSLO, 2012; Lombar /Delo, City of Ljubljana archive, 2014; Dekleva Gregorič Arhitekti, 2K Arhitektonski ured, Sadar + Vuga, Scapelab, 2014)

But the city of Ljubljana and especially LUR should not sleep on victories. Mobility planning is the continuously process and there is a need for communication among policy makers, interested public and spatial planners (see Figure 2). Traditionally the dialogue is set in the form of the open public exhibition, conference or workshop, usually at the final stage of the planning or urban design process. New technologies, e.g. Web 2.0, have not yet been introduced into “real (planning) practice”. There are some other European projects which would like to introduce Participation 2.0 in the field of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) process, such as CIVITAS DYN@MO. The basic hypothesis, that the technology can improve the quality of the spatial planning process, has been proven by many authors (i.e. Bizjak, 2014). The same hypothesis could be related to SUMPs or the transport planning process and traffic management.

Figure 2: Challenges of sustainable mobility

Stakeholders could have different views, needs and requirements. To establish efficient and sustainable transport system in LUR, different opinions need to be discussed in a “proposal dialogue” and the consensus should be achieved.


SUMP is a way of tackling transport related problems in wider urban areas more efficiently. All steps and activities, including planning cycle, good practice examples, tools and references to support users in the development and implementation of SUMP are described in Guidelines on the development and implementation of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. Each phase in the process has the availability to use different tools.

Transport arises as a consequence of the spatial division between economic and social activities. Traffic models, macro and micro simulations, are usually used as tools for analysing the results of (potential) land-use and spatial planning, urban transport planning, public transport service planning, feasibility studies, designs and traffic management plans. Results are usually synthesised in Traffic impact assessment study and usually traffic flows are presented (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Results of traffic modelling, examples of annual average daily traffic values in the city of Ljubljana (Source: UL, FGG-PTI, 2011)

One of the most effective ways to improve model accuracy is to have a good basis of recent data to use it for the model calibration. In this process stakeholders should have the opportunity to shape the future of how people and freight will move across the city, region or the area concerned. In the near future all the models are supposed to be based on a real-time (on-line) data.

Public should be entitled to take part in the process of land use and mobility planning and may submit comments at any place and the authorities should be obliged to reply to all comments. There are good examples of finding effective communication channels such as blogs, mailing lists or web portal used by some municipalities of LUR, but they are not integrated in a common way and usually they do not integrate different projects and themes of public debate.


Many measures are known and indicated to improve public transport in the City of Ljubljana. But, are the measures presented and opened to comment to the interested public all over the LUR for all transport modes? Are there any other ideas (especially low cost) to improve measures of introduced Ljubljana’s SUMP independently of road and railway transport sector?

Encouraging and enabling citizens to join dialogue via a range of tools is also the challenge for mobility planning process. The spatial, mobility and traffic management plans, as well as policy or decision makers or authorities usually inform the public about their results and proposals. They allow public to participate, but mostly during the public hearing after preparing the draft documents. On the other hand different public initiative groups require being active during the overall planning process. Usually different activities and workshops are introduced for variety of stakeholders in the planning process: active laid-planning, mapping, e-mapping, modelling and simulation, photo analysis, risk assessment, and compliance questionnaires, interactive whiteboard or digital panel, gaming and ranging by priorities, etc.

In our case study we explore micro-communication with stakeholders for more dialogues via LUR Public Transport Initiative web Portal (LURPP). This means, that a user GIS interface is introduced for e-participation, which enables public to be active in improving public transport and transport infrastructure (mobility). The application is integrated with the open-sourced GIS components and it is related to the geo-spatial database which allows users in the structured way to pose questions, to comment, suggest and response by individual content sorted in different groups or themes. LURPP is interactive GIS platform with 4-step process of public participation (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Four step process of LUR Public Transport Initiative web Portal

Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (TURAS partner) is proposed as the main operator (moderator) for initiative management in LUR, for all stakeholders in the field of transport including public transport operator, infrastructure managers and municipalities. Users participate anonymously or they could be identified by themselves.

During the research and development phase at the UL FGG, we have found that the method for data collection and monitoring from various sources is applicable also for other purposes in traffic engineering, for example traffic management plans and real-time traffic and travel information, including information on incidents related to transport (e.g. road works, accidents, blocked road, floods). The process and tools for the communication with the public could also be used for energy, environment and waste management.

WebGIS for initiatives in the field of mobility could be a part of smart mobile applications or other GIS portals for public participation with appropriate coordinate system and projection. Future webGIS platform could have the possibility for liking and/or ranking past initiatives while setting priorities of measures in transport sector based on estimates of the general public. There could be the possibility of choosing from the available variants of potential measures based on estimates of the general public and selection of measures. Future webGIS platform can be used as a crowdsourcing tool for different purposes as sensors for calibration and validation of different spatial (traffic) models, as a communication tool for evaluation of different implemented measures in the field of mobility, energy, environment and waste management.