We improve policy making and initiate change, and therefore have long–term impact
Transnational projects develop new approaches, methodologies, and practices and demonstrate their feasibility. The demonstrated effects are often so convincing that policy-makers move on to create frameworks that facilitate the upscaling of the new solutions. This is one of the key reasons why our projects often deliver their full potential only years after a project has ended.
The challenge of maintaining affordable energy in plentiful supply is one of the greatest tests Europe has to face. When moving society towards the use of renewable energy sources, the regional level is crucial. The CEP-REC project developed Regional Energy Concepts specifically taking into account the context of regions in central Europe: RECs are tools that support the development of renewable energy at the regional level.
The project partners – including ministries, energy agencies and regional development agencies – also implemented pilot actions in nine regions, providing each with a regional energy concept that included an assessment of the current situation and a strategy for the future. Because the energy produced by renewable resources varies in the pilot regions, and local experiences also differ, it was essential to define some common standards for central Europe before. Toward this end, in each region an analysis of the present energy demand and supplies was performed, as well as potential analyses of energy savings and renewable energies.
With this basic knowledge, every region started a discussion of how to move towards a higher utilisation of renewable energy sources. The discussions included regional stakeholders and were supported by regional officials, and their goal was broad acceptance of renewable energies. Competitions were held in the pilot regions to give awards to the most innovative initiatives aimed at changing energy usage. All this work not only allowed stakeholders to exchange best practices, it also produced a wealth of information on renewable energy that the partners used to develop a joint, transnational strategy for increasing use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
Bicycle transport is underdeveloped in the central European area: Although we now have a great deal of information and experience with cycling, the status quo of the central European countries remains almost the same. Measures to promote cycling often encounter problems during planning. It can be difficult to ensure cooperation of all stakeholders in planning because experienced experts are needed and the communication process takes longer and is more difficult. The countries participating in the Central MeetBike project improved the situation through systematic training and an integrated approach to transport planning.
The project changed attitudes about transport planning and taught politicians, officials and experts how to integrate a wide range of concerns into the process. As a result, new Czech, Slovak and German national cycling strategies ushered in a better way to handle promotion of cycling — from the government level through the regional and local one. Learnings were then documented in a publication on “Three Principles” to develop a national cycling strategy. This information has been tested in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and applied in government-approved cycling strategies. The project’s experience thus serves today as an example for other European countries that lack such a strategy.
Trolleybuses face challenges, such as their image as old-fashioned vehicles, or the widespread dislike of the overhead wires that power them. Part of the TROLLEY project mission, therefore, was to contribute to improving the way the public and policy makers think about trolleybuses and to resolve common misconceptions that can provide political hurdles to their use. The project also made trolleybuses more appealing by presenting innovative technical solutions that have the potential to pave the way for cleaner, quieter and more efficient urban transport.
As a way to promote trolleybuses among passengers and citizens, the project reached out to about 75 000 inhabitants in its partner cities during the first three stagings of “European Trolleybus Day” – a public-oriented initiative dedicated to the trolleybus and established by the TROLLEY project. Today, European Trolleybus Day is a fixed annual event, taking place on the Saturday of European Mobility Week every September.
To win and show support among concerned stakeholders, the project developed the Declaration for Electric Trolleybus Mobility, which demonstrates awareness of the potential of trolleybus transport in European cities. The declaration, signed by 70 trolleybus advocates, highlights the intention of the transnational group of signatories to promote the vision of effective trolleybus transport and to support sustainable urban mobility. TROLLEY created the European Trolleybus Knowledge Centre to hold the documents that contain the project’s guidance manuals and results. This information will be of value to anyone else working toward clean electric public transport in their cities.READ MORE STORIES