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GP: On the way to sustainable transport, Ljubljana (Slovenia) PDF Print E-mail

On the way to sustainable transport, Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Timescales: 2007 onwards

In 2014, the Slovenian capital Ljubljana won the European Green Capital award for 2016. The award was the result of actions in many environmental fields, not least in transport. From a city that was becomingly increasing dominated by the car, the city implemented many complementary policies to deliver a transport system that gives more priority to the pedestrian, cyclists and public transport.

Ljubljana began its journey with an Environmental Protection Programme in 2007 to 2013, which included the strategic objective of establishing a sustainable transport system. This was followed by an award-winning Urban Master Plan in 2010 and a Sustainable Mobility Plan in 2012. Specific actions have focused on taking road space and parking spaces away from motorised private vehicles, and increasing the space dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as many other measures to facilitate cycling and to make walking more attractive.

An ecological zone – closed to all motor vehicles – was established in the city centre in 2007. This was implemented with the approval of residents. The city centre now has over 90,000 m2 of roads that are closed to motorised vehicles, while a further 30,000 m2 are designated as pedestrian areas with limited access for local traffic. Deliveries are allowed before 10am, while three free ‘Kavalier’ electric vehicles are provided to enable people to move within the zone. For those who want to access the city centre from farther away, park and ride sites have been established in the region, while outside of the zone traffic calming measures have slowed traffic in many streets, including near schools.

Cycling is being encouraged with the addition of new cycle paths – in 2013, there were 190km of cycle paths in the city – and with the introduction of over 800 additional cycle stands. A self-service bikesharing system Bicike(LJ) has also been established, which has 33 stations and over 300 bicycles. An ‘Urbana city card’ allows cash-free payment for public transport, Bicike(LJ) bicycles and park and ride spaces.

Between 2007 and 2013 the length of public transport routes was increased by 50% to 450km. Ninety per cent of bus services in Ljubljana and the surrounding areas are operated by a public company Ljubljanski potniški promet (Ljubljana Public Transport, LPP), whose route length is expanded each year. This has been accompanied by an increased integration of public transport routes, which have contributed to steadily increasing numbers of passengers, e.g. a rise of 4.6% in 2011 and 14.8% in 2012. Bus stops and buses also benefit from modern technology, including real-time information and bus priority systems at intersections. The city’s bus fleet, as well as its other vehicle fleets, are being renovated with a preference to purchasing new, cleaner electric and CNG vehicles.

As a result of these measures, in 2010 public transport use started to increase – after a number of years of decline. For inhabitants of Ljubljana city centre, in 2013 the car was used for only 19% of journeys, compared to 47% in 2003, whereas the proportion undertaken by foot has increased by 20% to 53% over the same period. The ultimate aim is for public transport, non-motorised transport and private vehicles to account for equal one third shares of transport by 2020.

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