Master Class Series Sustainable Urban Mobility and Transport

Categorized as News from NA

Our webinar series, Sustainable Urban Mobility and Transport, brings together a cohort of IURC cities and metropolitan areas in a peer-to-peer learning environment to discuss and share challenges and best practices related to the main topic as they build long-term learning, networking, and working relationship amongst the participants. These webinars build upon topics of interest emerging from the cooperation among cities, questions that arose during study visits in 2023, and the IURC NA Thematic Networking Event on Sustainable Urban Mobility and Transport that took place in Zaragoza, Spain, on November 10-11th, 2022. The series started in February 2023 and will end in November 2023. You may find below the information regarding past sessions and register for the upcoming ones:

10th of February, 2023

Launching MaaS in your City- Opportunities and Challenges


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Hear about Pittsburgh’s experience planning and implementing Move PGH, the first MaaS system in the US, from our speaker, Kimberly Lucas. Through the creation of the Pittsburgh Mobility Collective (PMC), the city brought together a wide range of stakeholders that, instead of competing, are now working together to bring Pittsburgh a greater variety of transportation options. The change makes it easy for residents to locate mobility hubs, find transportation and mobility options and pay for services seamlessly through one app. As a result, there is a reduction in the use of private vehicles, an improvement in air quality, and residents gain access to services and opportunities that improve their economic stability.

These takeaways highlight the key components and outcomes of Pittsburgh’s Move PGH program, emphasizing its impact on mobility, equity, environmental sustainability, and the ongoing efforts to address challenges and adapt to evolving circumstances.

  1. Move PGH (Pittsburgh’s MaaS program):
    • The MaaS program in Pittsburgh is called Move PGH, aiming to integrate and simplify the city’s micro-mobility systems.
    • The Pittsburgh Mobility Collective (PMC) was formed as a unified solution through a procurement process, showcasing the adaptability of MaaS systems.
  2. Mobility Hubs and Seamless Transitions:
    • Mobility hubs serve as physical locations facilitating a smooth transition between various mobility options, including public transit, shared bicycles, and shared scooters.
    • These hubs play a crucial role in eliminating 300k vehicle miles, providing environmental benefits and promoting integrated mobility.
  3. Equity Focus:
    • The program prioritizes equity by deploying mobility hubs in areas with challenging access to public transport, offering discounts to users starting trips in underserved communities (access zones).
    • Financial incentives and discounted bike share rates for low-income residents ($10 per year for unlimited rides) aim to make mobility services accessible to vulnerable populations.
  4. Carbon Emission Reduction and Environmental Impact:
    • The integration of e-scooters and bike sharing has led to a reduction of 130 tons of carbon dioxide, showcasing the positive environmental impact of MaaS solutions.
    • The use of e-scooters and bike sharing is particularly popular among low-income individuals who are less likely to own private vehicles, aligning with the goal of increasing accessibility for vulnerable populations.
  5. Challenges and Adaptability:
    • Challenges include limitations in street light connections for mobility hubs, service providers exiting the market, legislative restrictions on e-scooters, and changes in the business model of the Transit app.
    • The program has showcased adaptability by addressing challenges, seeking alternatives for street light connections, and considering other options for app integration in response to changing business models.


Presentation Move PGH – Pittsburgh

Presentation MaaS in Madrid

26th of April, 2023- 10 am ET / 16h CET

Low-Emission Zones- Addressing Air Quality, Reducing Congestion & Increasing Economic and Racial Equity


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During our second Sustainable Urban Mobility and Transport session, we learned from Jacob Mason from ITDP what low-emission zones (LEZ) are and what can make them more successful. Heard directly from Jordi Jové from the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, Spain, how they were able to implement their expansive LEZ and bring the public and other stakeholders on board, and we gained insights from Lidia Henderson and Hamilton Steimer from WRI on how to address the challenges to implement a Zero Emission Delivery Zone in your city. The three speakers also explained how LEZ and ZEDZ, beyond improving air quality and reducing congestion, can be important economic and racial equity tools.

To learn more about LEZ, ZEDZ and the topics covered, check out:

ITDP’s recently published report The Opportunity of Low Emission Zones: A Taming Traffic Deep Dive Report.

WRI’s paper Zero-Emission Delivery Zones: Decarbonizing Urban Freight and Goods Delivery in U.S. Cities.

  1. Low Emission Zones (LEZs) Overview:
    • LEZs are areas designed to limit the use of polluting vehicles, with restrictions applied either through entry fees or outright vehicle bans.
    • LEZs can include car-free and car-restricted zones, taking various forms based on the unique context of each location.
    • The key goals of LEZs are to reduce emissions, promote electrification of vehicles, and align efforts to enhance walking, cycling, and public transport.
  2. Barcelona’s LEZ Success:
    • Barcelona Metropolitan Area implemented an LEZ to address high NO2 levels, with 70% of the population exposed to levels exceeding World Health Organization recommendations.
    • The LEZ operates on weekdays from 7 am to 8 pm, with special stickers indicating permitted vehicles.
    • Incentives like free public transport transfers and sustainable mobility promotion resulted in a 98% reduction in pollutant vehicles, a 51% drop in NO2 levels, and forced the modernization of vehicles.
  3. Challenges and Strategies in LEZ Implementation:
    • Implementing LEZs involves complex decisions with many stakeholders, political challenges, and considerations of access, equity, and exceptions.
    • Strategies for gaining public support include campaigns and targeted outreach to address challenges and concerns.
  4. Zero Emission Delivery Zones (ZEDZ) for Urban Freight:
    • ZEDZs are designated areas allowing access only to zero-emission delivery vehicles, aiming to reduce negative impacts from the delivery sector.
    • Cities may pursue ZEDZs as a precursor to larger zero or low-emission zones.
    • Lessons from early implementations emphasize the importance of coordinated schemes, awareness of costs to stakeholders, and careful planning of equity measures.
  5. WRI’s Research on ZEDZ and Future Recommendations:
    • The World Resources Institute (WRI) is actively researching and inviting city participation in understanding the effectiveness and impact of ZEDZs.
    • Recommendations for policymakers include early stakeholder engagement, a stepwise approach to implementation, supportive policies, state and federal reforms, and a focus on equity throughout the process.
    • Upcoming WRI research will cover a comprehensive review of planned and implemented ZEZ and ZEDZ, considerations for freight operators, and the impact of ZEZs on broader urbanization goals.


Presentation Low-Emission Zones – Jacob Mason – ITDP

Presentation Low-Emission Zones– Jordi Jové Palou- Barcelona Metropolitan Area

Presentation Low-Emission Zones– Lidia Henderson – WRI


28th of June, 2023 – 10 am ET / 16h CET

Tools for Increasing Bike Ridership- Infrastructure, Incentives, and Campaigns


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Our final Sustainable Urban Mobility and Transport online session featured an interactive exercise for participating cities to start thinking about the challenges and solutions to increasing bike ridership, such as infrastructure, incentives, and campaigns.  

Barriers to Bike Commuting:

  1. Safety and Infrastructure Issues:
    • Lack of dedicated bike lanes, unsafe conditions on existing lanes, and gaps in the network contribute to safety concerns.
    • Aggressive driving and narrow streets further hinder the perception of biking as a safe mode of transportation.
  2. Cultural and Comfort Barriers:
    • Cultural preferences for cars, trucks, and SUVs pose a significant obstacle to bike adoption.
    • Rider discomfort due to unfavorable weather conditions (wind, cold, heat) or physical conditions of streets adds to the reluctance to commute by bike.
  3. Logistical and Social Barriers:
    • Long distances, limited connections with public transport, and geographical challenges like steep hills or rivers create logistical obstacles.
    • Societal factors, such as cultural taboos associating biking with children’s toys, impact potential riders’ perceptions.

Implemented Solutions by Cities:

  1. Innovative Programs and Initiatives:
    • Online portals like offer resources and information to encourage biking.
    • Initiatives like Pin Bike provide financial incentives with mileage reimbursements, fostering a more bike-friendly culture.
    • Bike-sharing services (BiGi), new management models for bike stations (BiCity), and additional bike racks (BikeBox) enhance infrastructure.
  2. Educational and Community Programs:
    • Learn-to-Ride Clinics and Bike Bus programs promote safe biking practices, especially targeting women, gender-diverse individuals, and children.
    • Bike Club encourages outdoor activities with kids by bike, creating a sense of community around biking.
  3. Infrastructure and Accessibility Measures:
    • Cargo bike share programs and e-bike subsidies address specific needs, such as transporting goods or reducing barriers related to topography.
    • Campaigns reframing the conversation around biking, focusing on health and recreation, aim to change the societal perception of biking as a commuting option.

Challenges in Implementation:

  1. Community Resistance and Perception:
    • Changing behavior and mindset, opposition to bike lanes, and concerns about parking loss contribute to community opposition.
    • Public engagement challenges arise when community interests are not adequately reflected.
  2. Space Constraints and Jurisdictional Issues:
    • Scarce public spaces and constraints in the city grid limit the addition of bike lanes.
    • Jurisdictional challenges, including differing government interests and outdated legislation, hinder smooth implementation.
  3. Political and Funding Challenges:
    • The need for political consensus, commitment, and leading by example from City Hall is crucial.
    • Lack of funding for infrastructure and program implementation, along with reticence to pay for bike parking, poses significant obstacles.