Four years after its launch, the European program CIVITAS selected cities 17 new projects to fight against urban traffic congestion and air pollution. Among them, six are borne by the cities of new member countries of Europe.
CIVITAS combining all the cities involved in the fight against congestion and pollution from urban traffic. This traffic is responsible for more than 10% of all emissions CO2 EU 98% of which are generated by private and commercial vehicles. Stressing a need "radical change based on an integrated approach" (see box), CIVITAS wants to promote "attractive alternatives to the private car in cities", and "substitute other fuels 20% of diesel and gasoline used in the road transport sector by 2020. "Clearly, fewer cars in cities, public transport over and above more clean fuels!
Six cities face increasing car
Nearly four years after the launch of CIVITAS and the first selection 19 2001 cities (including Lille and Nantes), 17 city projects have just been selected in 2004, including six from new member countries: Estonia, Hungary, Romania , Poland and Slovenia. A new which welcomed Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for energy and transport, to the announcement of the selection: "In these countries, municipalities face the rapidly increasing fleet and a decline in the use of public transport. I want to support local authorities in their efforts to develop and test new transition policies to maintain a high share of public transport, walking and cycling ".
If we do not yet know the nature of the 17 new cities projects (La Rochelle and Toulouse in France) which will benefit from a budget of 50 million (35% of the total funding provided by cities and partners), those selected in 2001 cities are promising and concrete, like what is put in placeà Lille Métropole.
The encouraging example of Lille
Lille, entered the CIVITAS program 2001, wanted to continue his research to produce and use its own fuel ... own: fuel methane gas resulting from the digestion of sewage sludge. This biogas, renewable and with a satisfactory environmental assessment, is considered as a clean energy source that can replace fossil fuels. To continue its pilot experience (several bus and a production plant) conducted since 1997 on this biogas, Lille was held in the TrendSetter program (in partnership with Graz, Munich, Stockholm and Pecs), one of four CIVITAS program .It helped conduct feasibility studies to produce fuel gas from a new source, organic waste from the sorting of household waste. A new plant should be built in September 2004. Operational in 2006, she will participate in the supply of methane 160 bus that should have the fleet by the end of Lille metropolis 2005 which represents more than a third of the fleet. The town should also equip the utility 120 own vehicles (gas and electric) instead of petrol or diesel vehicles. Finally, eventually, the city hopes by 2010 produce enough fuel for all buses. Sabine Branch, responsible for the overall monitoring of the project Trendsetter Lille Métropole, "Civitas program allows cities that do research together to be innovative compared to what exists and the law, and be complementary while delivering a common message: the cities have a driving power, can federate the actors of change, the public sector, private businesses, citizens and politicians ".
The CIVITAS program has implemented an evaluation program and dissemination of experiences, METEOR and created in October 2002, the CIVITAS Forum. This platform for exchange of best practices between experts and elected meets once a year in cities participating in the program. This represents 72 European cities that act for a more sustainable urban mobility.