180 Degrees aerial panorama of the capital city of Romania, Bucharest. Blue sky above the center of the city.

NetZeroCities: Twelve of EIT Urban Mobility’s Partner cities to pioneer in climate neutrality initiative

The NetZeroCities project has announced an additional 26 Pilot Cities to test new rapid decarbonisation approaches over a two-year programme. A total of 79 Pilot Cities, including 12 partner cities affiliated with EIT Urban Mobility, are leading the way in implementing innovative approaches to address their unique climate challenges. The initiative embraces a diverse and tailored strategy, acknowledging local specificities in its systemic transformation activities. By the end of the pilot, a comprehensive set of climate-mitigation solutions, ready for implementation, scaling, or replication, will be identified.

NetZeroCities Project: Empowering Cities for Climate Neutrality

Despite cities taking up only 4 % of the EU’s land area, they house 75 % of EU citizens, making them pivotal in achieving Europe’s ambitious emission reduction goals. The six-year NetZeroCities project supports the EU’s Mission of “100 Climate-Netural and Smart Cities by 2030”, empowering cities to lead the way in decarbonisation efforts. The project develops and promotes tools, resources, and knowledge exchange that target and mitigate CO2-emitting urban systems. Dedicated services and pilot programmes facilitate learning about climate neutrality at the local level, with a Twinning programme promoting peer-learning among cities. 

NetZeroCities Second Pilot Cities Cohort Announced

The NeZeroCities project has just announced the second Pilot Cities Cohort, consisting of 2 cities working individually or collaboratively to test innovative approaches to rapid decarbonisation. With a dedicated fund of 15 million Euros, this cohort aims to transform cities through initiatives spanning electrification of construction, citizen participation in climate action, and innovative governance systems. EIT Urban Mobility’s leading cities like Riga, Dublin, and Bucharest are actively participating in this endeavour, testing new approaches through 22 Pilot activities.

 

Pilot Cities Cohort 3 Call Open

In a continued effort to build on the project’s climate impact, NetZeroCities has opened the call for the third Pilot Cities Cohort until 18 March 2024. Cities not yet part of the Pilot Cities Programme are encouraged to become part of this pioneering effort, testing and implementing innovative approaches across various urban systems, contributing to climate neutrality.

EIT Urban Mobility’s efforts in NetZeroCities reflect our mission to create positive change for people and planet, creating greener and more resilient European cities.

Nudging for sustainable mobility: The REACTIVITY project

In a world grappling with growing challenges such as air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, and increasing chronic illnesses due to unhealthy lifestyles, the need for intermodal active mobility and technological tools for its implementation has never been more pressing. Recognizing this urgency, the REACITIVY project, implemented in cities like Lecce (Italy) and Braga (Portugal), emerged as a beacon of change.

The REACTIVITY project: A catalyst for change

In 2023, the REACTIVITY project nudged and promoted intermodality and active mobility by rewarding citizens with economic incentives to spend in local shops in Lecce (IT) and Braga (PT). At the same time, the project collected and monitored travel data to inform data-driven measures, policies, and investments.

With the project’s gamification and rewards mechanism, users accumulated points and achieved goals by opting for more sustainable modes of transport (i.e. walking, micromobility, public transport, carpooling), and won vouchers to spend in local shops joining the REACTIVITY network. By rewarding intermodality and active mobility, the project discouraged private car dependence for urban travel and supported the reduction of CO2 emissions. 

REACTIVITY press event in Braga.  

An innovative nudging solution

At the heart of the REACTIVITY project lies a technical solution designed to collect, gamify, engage, and define measures supporting intermodal active mobility, as well as an active mobility knowledge package to plugin into a multisource dashboard.    

The technical solution is twofold. Firstly, it enhanced the existing Pin Bike solution, enabling the rewarding of intermodal mobility behaviour. Secondly, it seamlessly integrated the collected data into the TIM Urban Genius Platform by TIM (Telecom Italia) to support multi-source monitoring in urban settings. 

The Pin Bike system certifies user travel by all forms of sustainable transport (i.e. walking, micromobility, public transport, carpooling) in urban areas. Data collected through the Pin Bike app is aggregated with information from other sources, such as sensors on urban buses. Furthermore, the tool supports the planning and co-creation of urban spaces, traffic control, and infrastructure development in a more efficient and ecologically sustainable way. 

Beyond supporting city authorities and encouraging local commerce, this tool also assists companies who, under the new European Corporate Sustainability Directive regulations in force from January 2024, will be required to track and report greenhouse gas emissions from employee commutes. The optimisation of home-work travel has now become mandatory for companies across Europe. 

Local businesses participating in the REACTIVITY network reward scheme. 

The results 

The REACTIVITY solution was implemented, tested, and validated in Braga and Lecce from July to November 2023, involving almost 700 citizens and 60 shops. The ouctomes were remarkable, showcasing a significant increase in active mobility (6,7% and 15,2% respectively), a reduction in car use (4,6% and 8,1% respectively), a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions (almost 30 tons collectively), and an impressive +80% user retention rate. 

In Braga, 475 users logged nearly 13,000 sessions, covering a distance of 103,891 kilometres and saving 18,728 kg of CO2 emissions. A little over €6,000 in incentives in the form of vouchers were reimbursed to the 35 local businesses engaged.  

Similarly, in Lecce, 162 active users completed over 6,400 sessions, covering 36,656 kilometres and saving 9,874 kgs of CO2. The pilot engaged 16 commercial businesses, and the users of the solution received vouchers earned through the use of public, sustainable, and active travel methods. Thanks to its participation in the REACTIVITY project, the Municipality of Lecce was awarded twice in 2023 for good administrative practice: at the City Vision of Padua event and the Urban Award as part of the Anci National Assembly.  

To delve deeper into the transformative Reactivity project and Pin Bike, visit their dedicated websites.