Mediterranean cruise destination cities are faced with two conflicting needs: boosting cruise-related profits and other positive externalities, while mitigating the negative impacts exerted on their natural environment and urban mobility, triggering sometimes significant multifold repercussions on cultural heritage and local communities. Locations Project aims at improving the quality of life of both passengers and residents by promoting a larger use of innovative sustainable transport solutions.

(Rome, 6 September 2019) “Arrivals of cruise ships containing hundreds and sometimes thousands of passengers, crossing the city or taking shuttle buses to visit nearby sites generate an important impact on mobility” explained Mr. Fabio Tomasi, supervisor of the international projects’ office at Area Science Park and coordinator of the LOCATIONS project, in an interview with UNIMED, partner of the GOSUMP horizontal project. “Mediterranean cruise destination cities are faced with two conflicting needs: boosting cruise-related profits and other positive externalities, while mitigating the negative impacts exerted on their natural environment and urban mobility, triggering sometimes significant multifold repercussions on cultural heritage and local communities” continued Mr. Tomasi. This impact explains the raison d’être of the project, part of the Urban Transports Community, to better manage such mobility on the one hand, and improve the quality of life of both passengers and residents on the other hand.

The LOCATIONS partnership

LOCATIONS is composed of seven port cities Trieste and Ravenna in Italy, Lisbon in Portugal, Málaga in Spain, Durrës in Albania, Rijeka and Zadar in Croatia. The list of partners is available here.

The activities of the LOCATIONS project

The methodology used by LOCATIONS is based on the SUMP principles: balanced mix of different transport modes, accessibility, sustainability, efficiency and improvement of the quality of life of citizens and tourists.

  • Low carbons transport plans and modular packages

“The Low carbon transport plans are not to be considered by themselves, they have to be included in the city’s SUMP, and if it is missing, in the sustainable energy and climate adaptation plan” explained Mr. Tomasi. Such low carbon transport plans have been developed in the 7 partner cities of the project and set the ground for 14 modular packages. Those packages describe the actions to be implemented related to the mobility of cruise ships tourists, the main element being the adaptation of standard actions adapted to specific needs.

  • LOCATIONS capitalization and replication activities

According to Mr. Tomasi, “what prevents other cities to capitalize the results is not just a lack of knowledge but it is also a lack of resources”. Taking this into consideration, a significant part of LOCATIONS’ budget is dedicated to replication.

Six replicating organizations were therefore selected to trigger the transferring of LOCATIONS’ approach and tested methodology in new MED cities, such as : Sete in France, Igoumenitsa and Thessaloniki in Greece, Koper in Slovenia, La Valletta in Malta and Limassol in Cyprus. “We trained these replicating organizations in order to transfer to them our practical experiences” described Mr Tomasi.

Moreover, in each of the project’s countries, another cruise destination is identified for replication. Such destinations are: Portimão in Portugal, Cadiz in Spain, Livorno in Italy, Dubrovnik in Croatia and Saranda in Albania. The main activity is to cooperate and share best practices for their SUMPs if they exist, or for their sustainable energy and climate adaptation plan, in case the city does not have a SUMP.

LOCATIONS achievements

There are three big achievements of the LOCATIONS project:

1 methodology that can be replicated

14 modular packages

7 low carbon plans

“Since usually the port authority is in charge of what is happening in the port area and the municipality in charge of what is happening in the city, close cooperation is needed, as one affects the other” explained Mr Tomasi. The added-value of LOCATIONS is therefore the strong cooperation between municipalities, city councils and ports authorities within the same project.

LOCATIONS solutions

Several solutions were identified by the LOCATIONS project, to quote some of them:

  • A management system to avoid traffic jam related to the buses transporting passengers from the port to the center
  • Bike-sharing systems for reaching the city center
  • Specific walking routes for cruise passengers, starting from the cruise terminal, designed according to the average time the passengers spend in the destination, combined with road signs guiding the tourists across the city.

“It is important to communicate to passengers that these possibilities to visit the city exist” insisted Mr. Tomasi, “passengers should be aware of all the sustainable options, but this should be done without generating a direct competition with the services offered by cruise companies.”.

“Our capitalization demonstrates that everything in the LOCATIONS project is replicable. All the results should be closely selected and adapted to the local reality by the replicating cities” concluded Mr. Tomasi.