Sustainable mobility in Mediterranean tourism destinations: The MOBILITAS project

The Mediterranean Region has specific features like climate and biodiversity and all regions facing the Mediterranean Sea are concerned by intense vehicular traffic and by increasing tourism activity. Europe receives over half the world’s international tourist arrivals (UNWTO World Tourism Organization, Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition) and the MED area is the top world destination in terms of international and domestic tourism. MOBILITAS project aims at implementing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, policies, technologies, governance, innovative services and other actions or Sustainable Mobility Plans to reduce the negative impact of traffic.

(Rome, 16 September 2019) The history of the MOBILITAS project is the tale of ten partners, already cooperating for sustainable mobility and tourism issues, who, facing the same traffic problems, as tourists’ destinations, decided to tackle them together. MOBILITAS, as part of the Urban Transports Community, seeks to enhance possibilities for a more sustainable mobility in Mediterranean tourist areas. UNIMED, partner of the GOSUMP horizontal project, conducted an interview with Ms. Larisa Kunst, coordinator of the MOBILITAS project, who provided valuable insights into the project.

The MOBILITAS partnership

MOBILITAS gathers 10 partners from 7 different countries : LP - Regional Development Centre Koper in Slovenia; City of Dubrovnik in Croatia; Municipality of Misano Adriatico in Italy; Paragon Europe in Malta; Zadra Nova - Zadar County Development Agency in Croatia; IUAV Architecture, Planning, Design and Arts University of Venice in Italy; Pano Platres Community Council in Cyprus; ENERGIES 2050 in France; Municipality of Piraeus in Greece and Rimini Strategic Plan Agency in Italy.

The activities of the MOBILITAS project

  • Strategic pilot activities

The MOBILITAS project develops pilot activities, including mobility plans and strategies in the field of tourism. The idea is to reinforce Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) where existing. “Strategic documents and pilot actions developed and implemented during the MOBILITAS project are useful and can be disseminated to other Mediterranean areas” highlighted Ms. Kunst.

  • IT tools

IT tools are used as both instruments and results of the MOBILITAS project. They proved necessary to gather essential information on traffic, flows, environment and in turn guide the visitors towards more sustainable mobility paths and solutions.

Within the MOBILITAS project were developed:

6 databases regarding traffic and environmental indicators
5 applications offering traffic information as well as cultural indications of interesting surrounding sites
3 web solutions (web portals, maps, websites)

A few examples that can be mentioned are, first, the Ethicycle application done by ENERGIES 2050. It is based on a field analysis of existing bike paths or roads along the French riviera, assessing their dangerosity, and indicating nearby sites that could be visited. On the basis of such analysis, an application was developed compiling those information for making them available to users. They also provided recommendations for local activities and for future plannings, encouraging visitors to use bikes more frequently and visit the hinterland.

Ethicycle application

The Municipality of Piraeus also developed an APP providing traffic and tourist information.

Software and databases on mobility and environmental pollution have also been created in cooperation with other projects of the Urban Transports Community such as the SUMPORT project. The Municipality of Koper, in Slovenia, set up a traffic information center in which traffic data and environmental indicators are being gathered and made available to users of the MOK MOBI application.

The Pano Platres village in Cyprus mapped the new bikes and hiking routes in their territories connecting the coastal sites with hinterland. Such maps and bike installations, combined with the promotion of three new bus stations connected to Limassol Smart Stations network and guiding tourists upon their arrival, are filling the missing connection of public services between the coast and the hinterland.

Other tools were also implemented, for example, in the Municipality of Misano Adriatico, bike counting terminals were installed to gather data regarding the number of bikes of certain bike lanes.

  • Mobility scenarios

“Mobility scenarios are an important part of the MOBILITAS project” pointed out Ms Kunst. They not only allow to gather information and data but they also ensure a better understanding of the tourist areas and a more sustainable mobility in their future plannings.

Within the framework of the MOBILITAS project, mobility scenarios were developed for each of the partner areas by the IUAV University of Venice. Those scenarios were made on the basis of an analysis regarding tourism demographic facts and allowed for the creation of different mobility schemes and improvement of the management of future tourist flows.

Other examples could also be mentioned and similarly considered as good practices. This is the case for the big and open data analysis made in the area of the municipalities of Misano Adriatico and Rimini. Data were gathered last autumn during the “Misano MotoGP” of September 2018. Data came from mobile phone operators, on-site measurement realised by a system of data collection on the highway to Misano, mobile-camera system placed in strategic spots and the data of the black boxes of GPSs. The sample focused on data regarding the starting point of the route, the length of the journey, the rush hours for the arrivals and departures, the parking areas, the length of the stays and any other information connected to the use of services of the touristic sector. Such data will help the local authorities to reduce the traffic flows and jam at that period, as this is a regular event, taking place every September.

Moto GP Race 2018 – Misano Adriatico: Ingoing flows

A similar analysis was done in November 2018 in Rimini during the Ecomondo Fair. The local authorities, faced with a huge number of vehicles, decided to gather data in order to better manage traffic flows in the future.

Ecomondo Fair 2018 – Rimini: Speed analysis

Depending on the structure of the city, it has proved important for the MOBILITAS partners to adapt mobility solutions. Two examples of that are the city of Zadar and the city of Dubrovnik. On the one hand, in Zadar, the study focused on the infrastructure of the narrow-streeted city in order to manage adequate bike paths, that could in turn, diminish the traffic flow in the old city, flooded with summer visitors coming with their own cars. This study resulted in the upgrading of the zadarbikemagic application which provide information for bikers. On the other hand, in Dubrovnik, the partner focused on the arrival of cruise ships in the harbor. Access to the old town was limited and proposals were made and submitted to the local authorities on how to better reach the city center from the port.

Plan of cycling paths network in Zadar

Similar solutions were developed by Paragon Europe for the area of Valletta in Malta with a sustainable urban mobility document, an application and a web portal with traffic data easing the visitors moves around the area.

  • Handbook on sustainable mobility

“Transfer and replication would prove useful in a view of widening the mobility solutions adopted within the MOBILITAS project to wider areas” said Ms. Kunst.

The handbook on sustainable mobility, representing the culmination of the MOBILITAS project, could be regarded as an inspiration for such transfer and replication of sustainable mobility solutions developed in the framework of the project. It combines MOBILITAS’ results and best practices as well as those of the other modular projects of the Urban Transports Community. This handbook is a particularly useful tool as it gathers policies and actions covering the main aspects of sustainable mobility.

MOBILITAS throughout its lifespan therefore developed instruments and scenarios able to enhance possibilities for a more sustainable mobility in Mediterranean tourist areas.