Sustainable transport in Aberdeen will come to the fore as part of a major international research project aimed at promoting better modes of sustainable transport in port cities.
‘PORTIS’, a European ‘Horizon 2020’ innovation project led by the City of Antwerp, will see researchers and organisations from across Europe look to tackle the unique transport challenges facing five European port cities and prove the benefits that more efficient and sustainable mobility can bring.
This is also the first time that Aberdeen has been included as part of the CIVITAS (city, vitality and sustainability) initiative, which since 2002 has redefined measures and policies to create cleaner and better transport in cities.
As part of the consortium, researchers at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have secured a grant of almost €450,000 and will work alongside Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen Harbour Board, the University of Aberdeen and NESTRANS (North East of Scotland Transport Partnership) over the course of four years to assess and evaluate the impact of a range of measures being introduced to improve mobility in the area.
Through the four year project, it is hoped that the percentage of work commutes made by car in Aberdeen will decrease by 15% and walking and cycling in the city will increase by 20%. Aberdeen’s position as a European leader in hydrogen-fuelled transport also provides an important context to this shift.
The role of RGU locally is to act as the local evaluation partner, and with other evaluation partners and the evaluation leader, the University of Aberdeen, to study what is delivered, and the processes used to get there.
The introduction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), construction of a new port outside the city, the use of a hydrogen bus fleet in priority lanes and the removal of 10 bottlenecks within the city are all expected to contribute towards the targets, and towards a higher quality of life in Aberdeen and the Region.
Professor Richard Laing, who specialises in architectural visualisation and sustainable urban design and leads the RGU team alongside Professor David Gray and Dr Elizabeth Tait, said: “This funding is fantastic news and will help focus attention on how we can improve the experience of travelling in Aberdeen City and Shire.
“The work also represents an important step in helping Aberdeen to make a transition towards having a higher quality of urban living, and the city is well placed to lead the way in many respects.
“There have been a number of positive steps towards a more sustainable and efficient transportation model in the city and we look forward to helping and monitoring this process over the coming years.”
The specific objectives of the project are to strengthen co-operation between cities and ports for the planning and implementation of innovative mobility solutions and integrated land-use structures; create more sustainable and healthier city-port environments; shaping more integrated transport infrastructure and mobility systems, which in turn attract residents and diversified economic activities; and improve the efficiency of urban freight transport.
The other cities taking part in the project include Antwerp in Belgium, Trieste in Germany, Constanta in Romania, Klaipeda in Lithuania and Ningbo in China.
Posted by Anna Duthie
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