Realising a LOW-CARB Future
As part of our interview series, the LOW-CARB Digest spoke to Ronald Juhrs, Managing Director of Technology and Operations at LVB, Leipzig’s public transport company, about the city’s new ‘2030 Strategy‘ and its forthcoming LOW-CARB action plan. Given that the company sits at the helm of the LOW-CARB project, we also asked him to share his views on the project at the midway stage.
The adoption of the city’s new mobility strategy is a natural complement to what we wish to accomplish through LOW-CARB. How are the city’s plans for a LOW-CARB action plan for the industrial area to the north of the city coming along?
The City Council’s decision (see related article) foresees significantly strengthening local transport while at the same time curbing fare increases. The city’s draft Public Transport Masterplan (or Nahverkehrsplan) reflects this decision in its planning up to 2024 is expected to be signed off at the beginning of 2019. These decisions will then be reflected in the LOW-CARB action plan to be drawn up for the northern Leipzig area and developed in the context of the LOW-CARB project with the participation of many actors. LOW-CARB will enable the necessary dialogue and we hope for a widely accepted result. The action plan is due to be finalised in March 2020.
What sort of measures can we expect to see realised in the northern area of Leipzig through and beyond LOW-CARB?
We are focused on multimodal mobility information systems and applications to ensure connections and provide for the user-friendly visualisation of traffic information. The LOW-CARB action plan encourages environmental alliances between public transport, cyclists and pedestrians in the pilot area, as well as the development of new forms of transport. For example, we are initiating further projects in this area, such as an autonomous bus shuttle that will connect the industrial park in the north via a round-the-clock service (i.e. beyond the regular and economically justifiable bus timetables and high demand rush hours). It also seeks to offer the comfortable and flexible use of public transport (Hop-on-Hop-off) as well as to nurture the development of future commuter groups (temporary workers without a driver's license or car, under eighteens, visitors and business partners of companies in the industrial area, night workers etc.). Upgrading the infrastructure is a prerequisite for automated driving (including signalling, traffic engineering, a traffic management centre, road safety features) and that work can only be completed following the inventory and analysis of current and future area use, which the action plan will include as part of its preparation.
These initiatives reflect LVB’s commitment - after signing the LOW-CARB Declaration - to introduce new low-carbon multimodal mobility services that contribute to realising seamless low-carbon mobility systems in functional urban areas. It also indicates that Leipzig takes very seriously a LOW-CARB future in line with the EC’s ‘Europe on the Move’ strategy. How do you view the project at the midway stage?
After the project was awarded, we needed some time to get the activities underway, mostly due to a lack of personnel. Broadly speaking it took us as many as 4-5 months to get all project partners started. We also have a partner change behind us - Krakow now being represented by the city plus the neighbouring municipality of Skawina. We are pleased to see that all partners work intensively on their individual measures and look forward to checking progress at our next partner meeting this December in Szeged before entering the pilot phase next year. All in all, I am very confident that all partners will successfully implement their vision for a LOW-CARB future, consistent with their signed Declarations.