In Lviv, when talking about transport, two main problems are mostly mentioned: congestion and unsatisfactory public transport. However, these are only symptoms of more systematic problems. The key reason is the lack of a clear, systematic policy of the city for many years in the field of transport and mobility.
The working group of the Lviv Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan development, having collected the key problems of mobility in Lviv, identified 7 challenges (problems) facing the city.
Every resident strives to ensure that the comfort of staying, living and moving in the city is constantly increasing. A large part of the population moves around the city every day in different directions and for different purposes. But it is critical for everyone to get to their destination safely, on time (predicted), without stress, in a comfortable environment.
It would be great to create ideal conditions for everyone. But what does ideal conditions mean for everyone? Is this possible? And we are not talking about different residents, but about different ways of moving. The prerequisites for each type of movement are different:
- For pedestrian mobility, perfect conditions include the sufficient width of the sidewalk, shade and coziness from trees, clean air, no high noise levels, no barriers, possibility to move fast, with no need to slow down to cross the streets, with pedestrian crossings without much mandatory deviation, the arranged comfortable places to have a rest, and with all routes within the same horizontal plane.
- For passengers in public transport, perfect conditions would include the high technical condition of the rolling stock, clean and neat vehicles, fast movement without unnecessary delays, expected arrival time, clear schedule, comfortable number of passengers in the compartment, comfortable stops and access ways thereto.
- For a cyclist, perfect conditions include safe and barrier-free infrastructure for riding a bicycle that could provide for the fast uninterrupted transfer, possibility to safely store the bicycle throughout the day.
- A private motor vehicle driver would require the sufficient number of lanes for uninterrupted movement, no traffic lights and speed calming facilities, high quality and clear road surface marking and signs, as direct routes as possible for fast movement, no other road users, accessible parking slots.
- A freight vehicle or a delivery vehicle driver would want the possibility to stop for unloading/uploading the goods as close to the destination as possible (stores, cafés, etc.).
- A taxi passenger needs an uninterrupted movement between the points of interest, possibility for pick-up/drop-off in a convenient location.
Each mode of transportation requires different approaches to spatial organization and to infrastructural solutions.
The above listed needs for everyone clearly illustrate that it is unfeasible to satisfy everyone with perfect conditions within the urban fabric. Further directions to develop the city shall be prioritized. Each infrastructure shall be consistent and meet the stated principles and priorities.
Presently, Lviv is at the crossroads. On the one hand, the city extends the cycling infrastructure, and develops public spaces, upgrades public transport. On the other hand, other projects are designed to incentivize motor vehicle traffic and complicate it for other road users. It is unhealthy behavior, that is why, there is a need to define the kind of city we are developing and the objectives we wish to achieve.
Analysis of infrastructural solutions in European cities reveals that priority is given to the modes of transport with the highest passenger capacity such as a tram, a trolleybus, and a bus. At the same time, a high quality pedestrian infrastructure shall be provided to relieve the road network from extra short-distance car trips and to provide for convenient access to public transport stops. Experience of European cities shows that most car trips can be replaced with more environmentally-friendly, more efficient and healthy modes of transport, such as a bicycle and other small size individual vehicles (a standup scooter, a gyroscooter, a.o.). However, these modes of transport can actively develop only given there is available safe cycling infrastructure and barrier-free environment.
Practices from foreign cities show a significant decrease in using cars given the high quality alternatives, such as public transport, a bicycle, or walking for distances of up to 15–20 minutes ride or walk to the destination.
European cities pay more attention to issues of delivery / logistics. Delivery cannot be utterly restricted since it helps economic development. However, it shall be regulated not to interfere with the city life. Delivery shall be provided by more environmentally-friendly modes of transport.
Therefore, the following priorities have been identified for Lviv:
- Each of us can move around on foot. Walking is good for your health, it is free of charge, and environmentally most friendly. That is why walking on foot is No 1.
- A survey showed that over 50% of residents take public transport for daily transfers – making it a priority No 2.
- Priority No 3 would rather be the mode of transport with the high capacity such as cycling which is currently not popular enough due to lack of safe infrastructure.
- The following level in the priority pyramid includes vehicles delivering goods and materials. It has been left out of focus, thus generating issues for all other modes of transport.
- Private cars follow. It is the least efficient mode of transport in the city. It requires much space, bears lethal risks, and pollutes the air.
- The last but not least priority goes for individual motor vehicles standing by. One parked car takes up to 9 m2. It is the irrational use of street space. That is why many cities are trying to eliminate street parking, especially in the inner city.
In terms of mobility priorities, development capacity analysis of Lviv and the implemented projects, seven challenges have been identified that come in the way to sustainable mobility and high living standards in the city:
1. Traffic safety.
2. Decrease of attractiveness of urban space for walking
3. Insufficient public transport quality
4. Increase in vehicle-to-population ratio (congestion, traffic accidents, hazardous emissions)
5. Bicycle is a mode of transport, not only the means for active outdoor activities
6. Territory development not supported by transportation infrastructure
7. Low institutional capacity of the municipality
Safe, ecological, comfortable, fast mobility within the city for all
Sustainable urban mobility plan includes a description of each challenge, justification of objectives, decision-making principles and list of activities to achieve the set objectives.
A solution to address the situation is suggested for each challenge.