Expert article
Edit 21 June 2021
by Philip Turner, UIA Expert

CitiCAP Journal 6

CitiCAP Journal 6
In his 6th and concluding journal of CitiCAP, UIA expert Philip Turner describes the final results and takeaways from the project, which includes the lessons learned from the Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) scheme, the finalisation of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and the cycle highway.

Executive Summary

The CitiCAP project (Citizens’ cap-and-trade co-created) received funding from the EU UIA 2nd Call, Urban Mobility theme (2018-2020). The project concentrates on enabling and promoting sustainable urban mobility in Lahti.

Among other measures, such as an open mobility data platform and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), the project has developed a model for personal carbon trading (PCT) scheme on mobility and an application for the citizens that enables real-time tracking and visualization of one’s mobility carbon footprint.

The mobility data platform opens up possibilities for new mobility service development. CitiCAP has also developed a model for designing the bicycle route network, by building a 2,5 km smart bicycle highway that includes the latest technical solutions to offer smooth and direct routes from the residential area to the city centre all year round.

This final journal provides a summary of the main deliverables achieved by the project and how their delivery evolved over their lifetime. Annex A covers this in more detail, in relation to the operational challenges associated with all UIA projects as reported in previous Journals (1 to 6).  It shows the evolution of the project at different implementation stages reported in each Journal and the interconnection of actions and decisions taken in order to achieve the final project outcomes. 

The final section of the report concludes with my four final takeaways and lessons learned from the project.

Lahti Direction - Approval of the SUMP

The Lahti Direction is an open participatory process which sets out the city framework and long-term strategy for the city to ensure a sustainable and healthy life for the citizens.  The Lahti Direction work is done in cycles of four years by the City Council terms. In 2017, Lahti started the process that integrates Master Plan and SUMP, the latter being drafted for the first time through CitiCAP[1].  By linking the long-term strategy for the future development of the urban area, alongside the future development of transport and mobility infrastructure and services, it can greatly influence lifestyle and mobility behaviour. This is because safer streets encourage walking and cycling and convenient access to public transport makes it easier to use. In broadest terms, they encourage dense, more connected cities which enhance sustainable mobility choices (as envisaged by CitiCAP) because the conditions support these modes of transport[2].  

The European Commission has long extolled the benefits of implementing SUMPs and has detailed guidance to support implementing such plans in cities across Europe and in other global regions.  The Commission’s guidance[3] was used as the template for Lahti’s plan towards more sustainable forms of mobility. The final plan - which was approved in January 2021 and follows council terms, in that it enables continuous monitoring of continuous development work and implementation of measures along this political cycle. The objective of the SUMP has been designed to go beyond sustainable mobility but has taken a broader tone, so that it contributes to the achievement of the Lahti Carbon Neutrality Target 2025 and the 2030 mobility mix objectives (more than 50% of all trips will be made using sustainable modes of transport). The main elements of the plan are presented below in figure 1.


Figure 1 - List of Lahti’s SUMP Measurers (Lahti SUMP, 2021[4])

The SUMP is centred around four key elements, each containing a number of different actions that will be implemented over the source of the SUMP’s lifespan. Annex B provides further details on the individual measures, period of implementation and desired end results.  It is not possible to report stakeholder feedback on the measures taken as they were only finalised and agreed at the start of the year.  Rather, the purpose of this Journal is to provide the reader with a breakdown of these approved actions, as it addresses the question that CitiCAP sought to solve: what is the future of mobility in Lahti for the years ahead?  Lahti’s new SUMP has the answer.

A Smart Bicycle Highway that has improved cycling conditions in Lahti

The main infrastructure development of the CitiCAP project was the 2.5-kilometer-long bicycle highway from the Lahti Travel Centre to Ajokatu (figure 2). The purpose of the bicycle highway is to enable smooth and safe year-round cycling, with its cycle path clearly separated from other transport modes that simultaneously improves walking conditions, notably by employing smart technologies. When reaching Ajokatu, the cycle path connects with another new bike path from Renkomäki to Uudenmaankatu Street and now forms part of a cycling network plan within the city’s master planning work, consisting of about 40 km of main routes and district routes.  In total, around €1.6 million euros was earmarked for this section of the UIA CitiCAP project with citizens heavily involved in the planning of the route through workshops.  The innovative element of the project lies in the fact that the bike path has experimented with various smart solutions.  The project has also used recycled and / or recyclable materials in the construction of the highway as much as possible, thereby helping to advance circular economy efforts of the city.

The bike path received a lot of local attention during its early consultation phase which also encouraged the city to test a range of smart solutions that citizens felt would add value to cyclists, such as information screens, smart bicycle racks and smart lightning, and the route has been diligently paved with social media columns, for example.  About 7% of the total bike path budget was spent on smart features.