SPACE – Strategy for pedestrianisation of city centers in small and medium-sized cities and promotion of walking as a sustainable mode of transport

The SPACE project will promote walking as an environmentally friendly and sustainable mode of transport and develop innovative tools, concepts and solutions for use in urban planning and decision making for improving the conditions of walking in small and medium-sized cities.

The focus is on small and medium-sized cities in order to achieve substantial progress towards more sustainable urban development not only because they are home to at least 50% of the population of the EU, but also because they offer great potential for sustainable transformation. Generally, their size allows for flexibility in terms of urban expansion, adoption of “green” transport modes, and environmental protection. At the same time, small and medium-sized cities often have access to fewer resources for implementing new transport measures, and may be more vulnerable to fluctuations in the world economy.

Around a quarter of CO2 emissions in EU originates from transportation. In the last two decades, the number of private car users has evidently increased, compared to the number of users of environmentally-friendly modes of transportation. Present-day cities have changed into motor vehicle areas, pushing pedestrians out due to the dangers, noise and combustion gases, emitted by the lines of vehicles constantly stopping and starting again. Parked vehicles also obstruct both view and movement of pedestrians.

More than 30% of car trips in Europe cover distances shorter than 3 km, and 50% cover distances shorter than 5 km. These distances can be covered by brisk walking within 30-50 min., providing the recommended account of daily physical activity.