Citizen, Teaching, Industry, Cities for Future Mobility
Activity "Public Realm: Raise awareness on urban mobility issues"
Public Realm activity in 4I4U: "Actions to raise awareness on urban mobility issues"
Participants: 90 participants of the Hackathon “Solving city problems regarding urban mobility”, around 3000 UPC students and around 100 anonymous citizens
Data: 1st November 2022 to 28th February 2022
Location: Plaça Telecos, Campus Nord, UPC
The project 4I4U aims to engage young citizens on the mobility of the future, empowering them to become actors for change who participate in the transformation of their cities. We want to encourage them to contribute to improving urban mobility to make cities more livable. We designed four actions carried out in various buildings and prominent spaces on the Campus Nord (UPC) where UPC students, employees, visitors and professors usually spend their time or pass by.
The first two actions consist on small-scale and temporary changes of the physical environment of the Plaça Telecos in the Campus Nord at the UPC. The low-cost intervention, though, pretends to be a first step to raise long-term awareness regarding urban mobility issues and encourage use of nearby sustainable transportation options around the Campus.
The two last actions consist on two online forms that helped us to achieve a twofold objective: on the one hand we give informative pills about main issues related to urban mobility; and on the other hand we collect the opinion of the participants about their mobility habits and their personal experience about the problems observed in urban mobility.
Action 1: 400 adhesives arranged along the Campus Nord (UPC)
Taking advantage of the celebration of our Hackathon “Solving city problems regarding urban mobility” on November 16th, and the coincidence with the UN Conference on climate change (COP27, from November 6th to 18th), and knowing that the UPC is very involved, we have completed this action in collaboration with UPC Sostenibilitat, and the UPC kindly allowed us to carry out this action at the UPC facilities.
This way, we count on the 90 participants of the Hackathon, and during 5 minutes they helped us to paste the adhesives following a map, so that each student should quickly paste 1 or 2 adhesives in a given location.
This is the result of the activity, it was a lot of fun, and many people who passed by asked us about the action and the project. In addition, it was also a kind of very useful icebreaker action at the beginning of the Hackathon.
We invite you to watch the group shout of the slogan 4I4U, as starting point of the Hackathon.
Additionally, we placed 200 stickers on the walls of about 50 toilets in buildings A1 to A6 that house the Campus Nord classrooms.
These adhesives include informative pills about urban mobility problems (focusing on pollution and derived serious problems) and we also invite people to participate with the 4I4U project by filling in a Form to help improving urban mobility in Barcelona.
Action 2: Roll-Up "Project 4I4U-EIT Urban Mobility"
We prepared 3 roll-up to show them during the Hackathon. Afterwards, we placed them in three very representative places on the Campus Nord, where students pass through: the library, the cafeteria and the classroom corridor. The UPC kindly authorized us to have them there till the end of February 2023. In the roll-up we show all the logos of the participant entities in the 4I4U project and the QR code to invite people to fill in our anonymous form "Helping to improve Urban Mobility in Barcelona".
Action 3: Form "UPC Sustainable Mobility - 4I4U Project"
Additionally, we prepared two forms to gather information about mobility habits in Barcelona. The 1st form was sent to the UPC students of the Master in Urban Mobility of the Urban Mobility Master School-EIT Urban Mobility, and to the participants of our Activity "UPC Sustainable Mobility". We have 23 answers, being 70% from 18 to 25 years old and 30% from 26 to 35 years old; 61% are male and 39% are female.
Most of them (around 80%) either use public transport (mainly metro and bus) or walk, and just a few (around 9%) use car, motorbike, e-scooter or e-bicycle. Quite of them (around 25%) use e-bicycle, tram or run.
Action 4: Form "Helping to improve Urban Mobility in Barcelona"
So far (23rd Dec 2022), we have received 121 answers in online Form "Helping to improve Urban Mobility in Barcelona" about urban mobility issues, which gathers very interesting comments, suggestions and reports done by the participants about urban mobility issues and personal experience about urban mobility in Barcelona. We have disseminated the Form using several means: roll-up, adhesives in the walls of the Campus Nord, email and Tweeter. The age range of the participants is mostly 16-25 (40%) and 15-16 (29%), being 60,8% male and 37,5% female.
Question 1. How could we decrease the number of vehicles in Barcelona?
- 31% chose "Car pool or ride sharing instead of driving alone".
- 57% chose "Improve public transport, for instance Rodalies in the Barcelona metropolitan area or the FGC train network".
- 45% chose "Consider teleworking or staggering your work hours to avoid jams, wasting gas and pollution during peak rush hours".
- 65% chose "Walk, ride a bike or use micromobility (e-scooter...) instead of your private car/motorbike".
Other interesting open suggestions where:
- Reducing the number of vehicles in the interior of Barcelona requires the creation of vehicle parking areas on the city limits, so that those who come from outside can park and access the interior by public transport.
- Make car itineraries more difficult, while improving public transport, bikes and PLEVs (Personal Light Electric Vehicles).
- Change traffic rules to enforce speed and acceleration limits and street design to shorten distances for walking and cycling. This will allow to change traffic signals to be low speed vehicles friendly and discourage the use of private vehicle based on exceeding speed/acceleration limits.
- More “Superilles” and other traffic limitations during certain days of the week.
- Improve infrastructure (safe and wide bike lanes). Incentives to use public transport, which should be efficient and fast, with a good frequency; governments must invest more in maintenance.
- Vehicle usage is determined by the maximum capacity of the roads. The only real way to limit it, is reducing road capacity.
- Discouraging car use by reducing lanes and restricting some areas only for resident. Urban toll is an option as well.
- Tax use of car inside the city for non essential vehicules (as London example).
- Make the electric chargers free of charge to estimulate these cars in front of gasoline cars.
Question 2. How could we encourage people to use public transport more?
- 63% chose "Increasing the offer and frequency of public transport services".
- 50% chose "Make public transport more cost-effective".
- 14% chose "Increasing fuel prices to disincentivize driving".
- 33% chose "Discourage driving by closing streets to cars, and increasing parking prices".
- 32% chose "Provide discounted bike-share or car-share memberships".
- 65% chose "Make transport cheaper for employees/students".
- 56% chose "Promote active transport (biking, walking, jogging...) with available infrastructure at the workplace/University (showers, lockers, bike rooms...)".
Other interesting open suggestions where:
- Make big parking lots in the outskirts of the city to leave the car and reach the downtown in public transportation.
- Make public transportation free. Improve public transportation infrastructure outside of main metropolitan areas. Enforce safe bike parking zones, get rid of cars in cities. Improve infrastructure for cyclists. Re-instruct pedestrians to learn how to live around bikes.
- Promote multimobility (e.g., e-scooter + metro).
- Increasing parking prices and fuel prices will not be efficient because it will allow people with more money to use car, but we need to be all sensitive to the issues of mobility, that is why increasing the offer of public transports and micro mobility is great.
- Free public transport for students, so that they do not use motorbikes. Also, companies should promote colective transport.
- Companies should publish an employee's mobility balance, pay employees for 0 emissions commuting, and be taxed by employees emissions.
- The whole neighboring cities (metropolitan area) should implement bike lanes to allow connectivity between them.
- Use collected data to check the increase of passengers during the current half discounts of tickets and set a new price when the offer is finished, based on n° tickets sold per price (between current and previous).
Question 3. Did you know you are exposed to dangerous pollutants while moving around Barcelona? Check the box if you knew it. (PM=Particulate Matter). You can read more in aqicn.org and www.iqair.com.
- PM10 (diameter < 10 micron) float in the air and easily penetrate the human body.
- PM2.5 (diameter < 2.5 micron) penetrate our respiratory system and the smallest particles can enter our blood vessels, lungs and heart.
- PM1 (diameter < 1 micron) can contribute to the development of deadly diseases such as heart attacks, lung cancer, and other serious diseases that lead to premature death.
- NO2 causes respiratory problems and respiratory infections after longer exposure.
- CO2 cause headache, nausea, dizziness and repeated long-term exposure can lead to heart disease.
The responses show that only about half of the participants were aware of the health effects of these dangerous pollutants:
- Only 44% knew that 20.8% of PM10 and PM2.5 comes from traffic.
- 58% knew that PM10 produce eye & throat irritation, coughing and asthma.
- 59% knew that PM2.5 produce aggravated asthma andchronic respiratory diseases.
- Only 39% knew that the concentration of PM2.5 in Barcelona (9 microgram/m3) is currently 1.8 times higher than the annual WHO air quality guideline value (5 microgram/m3).
Question 4. Do you have any smart idea how the mobility and pollution issues in cities could be improved?
There are passionate active citizens that participate in ongoing projects like Lasai-Lasai (a model concept which aims to reduce last-mile-freight vehicles up to an 80%, as much as the associated pollution) and Orlegi (an APP to encourage citizen participation to make cities green and habitable). Both projects have recently been awarded by the EIT Urban Mobility in held Citythons.
The participants of this form really have wonderful ideas and suggestions to improve urban mobility in our cities. Let us see some of them:
Suggestions to decrease the number of cars in the streets of the city:
- Build park-and-rides around the city, well connected with public transportation. Enabling people arrive by car to the city outskirts parks and then take the public transport system to move inside should be a priority and never has been addressed.
- Improve park-and-ride. Most of traffic in cities is from commuters from outside. If there are easy to do transitions at the edge of the city from car to public transport, the usage of cars can be reduced in the city itself.
- Reduce space designated for cars in the city.
- Ban cars in downtown, only EVs allowed. Build big parking areas at the entrances of the city. Increase the public transport offer and make it free.
- Cut any direct or indirect public subsidy, free parking and ego based advertisements of car/bikes manufacturers. Speed limit (10 20 30 50 80) enforcement by technology to car/bikes/cycles.
- Tolls to enter the city with car.
- Hindering motorised traffic without first implementing alternative means, as is now being done, we can only create more congestion and aggravate the problem of pollution.
- Support the City council to get rid of cars in Barcelona.
Incentives to improve urban mobility:
- Incentive public and gas-less transportation. Reduce its price to be competitor compared to using a car/motorbike.
- Promote the purchase of electric vehicles (electric vehicles, e-scooter, e-bike) with strong discounts and promotions.
- Completely free public transportation. Money for maintenance and improvement received by the government through taxes.
- Besides promoting public transportation and active mobility, promoting and giving incentives to change to electric vehicles and shared mobility
- I wonder why traveling by train between 2 cities is more expensive than traveling by car (I suffer from this every time I want to go back to my home-city in the Basque country, 7 hours of train for 65€ vs 4,5h by car and 30€ of gas)
- Incentive on electric car-sharing, e.g., owned by energy communities.
- Give incentives (discounts, free bicing) to use micromobility (bicycle, e-scooter).
- I believe the best options are to incentivise public transport and sustainable mobility by making it better, with more infrastructure for bicycles and discounts for public transport. I am very against increasing the prices of private transport, because I think the reaction is not encouraging people, but making it harder for people whose only option is this. It makes no sense to increase taxes for cars without improving public transport before.
- Having a real plan to transform the existing car fleet to electric, reducing the costs of the latter or incentivising its adoption by co-financing the car charging or making them free of charge, as many other green cities have adopted. Barcelona has one of the most expensive fares in Europa for car and moto electric public chargers, which is a big contradiction for a City council government that claims to be green oriented. Moreover, the central government is even doing worse co-financing the gasoline.
Promoting walk and micromobility as effective and healthier alternatives to the use of cars:
- Design wide paths exclusive for bikes and pedestrians.
- Promote the use of micromobility, encourage young people to use it, making discount for buying e-bikes and e-scooters.
- I miss modal traffic filters in Barcelona that allows the passage of some modes of transport but not others.
- More micromobility and better public transport to combine both modals in our trips.
Suggestions to improve public transport:
- More frequency, it is awful to wait 25-30 minutes for a bus, this discourages using public transport and forces to take the car.
- Improve connections and frequencies between metropolitan areas
- Free public transport. Also, increase the frequency and coverage. There are some areas in Barcelona (e.g., near the mountain) with low frequency, that would need a higher offer of the microbus service so that people would use them more for their trips.
- Significant improvement of public transport in all aspects: efficiency, speed and investment in maintenance.
Suggestions to have more livable and less polluted cities:
- More green spaces wherever possible, roofs of buildings where residents/workers can meet and perhaps work (urban gardens).
- A great amount of pollution is also caused by cruise ships and Barcelona is in Europe's top of most cruise ships.
- Take inspiration from countries like the Netherlands and Denmark. Efficient cycling infrastructures for instance as implemented in the Netherlands. This can be cost demanding but has a long term benefit in reducing active pollutants emissions.
- Less roads, more green paths.
Raise awareness in the citizens:
- Create awareness about the urban mobility issues is key.
- Measure pollution in the city in real time, alert the areas that emanate the most CO2 and raise awareness among citizens.
- The vehicle fleets of municipal services are managed by local entities. Citizens are asked a lot and then there are public fleets that do not meet the pollution targets.
Question 5. Have you observed any difficulty in moving around Barcelona?
The participants have explained the main problems related to urban mobility that they face during their daily trips. They have reported issues regarding the fact that there are too many cars in the city, and point out one of the main reasons which the journeys by car from the AMB (Metropolitan Area of Barcelona) to get to work in the city:
- If there are no parking infrastructures on the outskirts of the city so that people can then move to Barcelona by public transport, little can be resolved. Now parking areas have been banned in streets where people coming from outside used to park their car to take the metro or bus to get to work, which means that they are now driving to their workplace and making them pay for parking. In addition, this has increased traffic, which was already worse due to works and reduction of lanes. All the mobility management carried out in Barcelona is contributing to an effect contrary to the planned, since it is based on the criteria of thinking that people should and can stop using the car. BCN is the nerve centre of the AMB where every day the number of trips to work forces them to use cars to access their jobs, since there is no good public transport alternative.
- There are too many cars and too traffic jams. Private motor vehicles are not just polluting the city, but are also a danger due to high speeds and lack of respect for other types of mobility (walking, cycling). The streets are full of cars, taxis and vans making constant small deliveries and blocking streets.
- Barcelona city like most cities was designed to allow high speed >30km/h vehicles. Now we should redesign streets and crossings for walking and low speed vehicles. To deal with traffic jams and traffic lights many vehicles use fast acceleration and braking, becoming much more pollution emissions and energy consumers than expected by authorities. This could be alleviated with public buses and taxis, with less private vehicle. This public transport should smooth rides and improve average speed in Barcelona.
- During rush hour public transport and main roads are saturated. In the morning, parents that take their kids to school with their private vehicle occupy the public transport lane increasing the travel time of the bus.
Participants complain about some problems notices in the public transport:
- The frequency of public transport is not sufficient at peak times, and this discourages the use of citizens, especially since the pandemic (to avoid crowds).
- I move using public transport and in this case, the only problem is the low frequency. In addition, the difficulty to find in Google maps alternatives to combine public transport and walk.
- Delay time by buses especially (night buses) is a pain. The metro does not work at night.
- Yes, especially at night it's easier and faster to take a taxi than to take the public transport.
- I observe difficulties to move directly between the cities of the Barcelona metropolitan area with public transport, since many times the only option available is to go through Barcelona, increasing travel time and congestion in Barcelona itself.
- Taxis shall to be able to only stop in certain places. Reduce the amount of taxis allowed in the city should also be a priority, sometimes the streets are full of free taxis just increasing the jams.
Participants complain about issues related to micromobility, such as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) and bikes:
- Dark zones in some areas while going on my e-scooter.
- Some zones still lack good, safe and connected infrastructure for bikes while others are starting to overcrowd. Building/increasing capacity of bike lanes will improve sustainable mobility in the city.
- The e-bicing are often not available because of charging (they have so much power, that the battery drains fast and they have to charge often).
- Bike lanes do not impede cars from entering them. It is common for cars to stop at bike lanes.
- Bicycles and scooters do not have their natural space nor is their circulation regulated (or not respected) and they invade the space of pedestrians.
- There are bike lanes in very fast streets such as Carrer Aragó which is an absolute disparate and a clear hazard for cars, motorbikes, bike riders or even pedestrians
Other report their experiences and problems about walking through the city:
- I found out that discovering the city while walking is more attractive and healthy for me than using the public transport as I used to do.
- It’s difficult to move as a pedestrian. Traffic lights give priority to cars over walkers. Bikes and mainly scooters do not respect pedestrians.
- Too noisy and polluted to walk around. Narrow sidewalks in some parts.
Some participants reported several kind of problems they face while moving through Barcelona:
- Yes, it is increasingly difficult and uncomfortable to move around Barcelona by any means (walking, car, bikes, motorbikes, ...)
- People with reduced mobility have it really bad. Punctual parking for goods transport, a drama, parked vans in the road to deliver gods, and always parked on the sidewalks!
- The vans doing deliveries or loading/unloading need to be more controlled by the local police with fines when they are more than 2 minute blocking the street.
Question 6. Do you have proposals of a kind of service offered to get home safely at night? This is a worrying problem especially for women. More info: Women in Urban Mobility - EIT Urban Mobility and YourWayHome
- Going to the roots of the problem: increase people values and education. Education campaigns at Schools, show how bad and dangerous these acts (scare and harass women) are.
- More buses at night, maybe smaller (e.g., electric). On demand bus from places with night activity to the rest of the city. Night buses with stop on demand (in front of home) specially for vulnerable people (women, LGBTI, autistic...).
- Free taxi or taxi discounts for women at night.
- APP for calling service that connects people safely and can help them walk or use micro-mobility together.
- APP for service to bring safe women to their home at night.
- Lightning improvement in the streets and parks, more cameras, more surveillance, make it easier to report these kind of acts.
- More severe sentences and punishments for the offenders of this type of acts.
- More police and security in the streets and in the metro stations at nigth.
Question 7. Do you think that actions like this to create awareness in the Society should be done more frequently? 95% said Yes.
Action 5: Suggestion of installing a bicicling service in the campus. Additionally, we have proposed to the Bicing company the installation of a bicing stop inside the Campus. In any case, there are already four very close bicing stops (4 to 6 min walk) around the Campus, although a bicing stop on the Campus would further encourage UPC students to use them. Also, we have suggested UPC Sostenible that they also request the new bicing stop from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) itself.
Carrer de Jordi Girona, 1-3, 08034 Barcelona
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