16th International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment
5 - 7 May 2010
The 16th International Conference on Urban Transport 2010 has recently been held in Cyprus, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT), represented by its Director, Professor C. A. Brebbia, and with the collaboration of the University of Pisa, represented by Professor Antonio Pratelli.
The meeting has the support of the Ministry of Communications and Works of Cyprus and the Denco Ltd company of Athens, Greece. The conference was addressed by a message from Her Excellence the Minister of Communications and Works, Ms Erato Kozakou Markoulli.
Professor Carlos Brebbia started the conference by explaining the motivation of WIT to organise the meeting, which is part of the knowledge transfer activities of the Institute. WIT acts as a forum for information transfer between academia, industry and practitioners in general. The work of WIT, including industrial research, projects, PhD training, courses and conferences reflect this commitment. Furthermore the Institute also plays an active role as a publisher of advanced books on a wide variety of topics. This process which is now undertaken in digital form as well as paper format has resulted in numerous books and more recently a series of International Journals being published. Professor Brebbia concluded his address by inviting the participants to collaborate more closely with WIT and consider visiting the Institute when they are in the region.
Professor Brebbia then introduced Professor Antonio Pratelli, Co-editor of the conference book and Co-chairman of the conference. Professor Pratelli referred to the importance of the meeting and reminded the participants that the next conference (17th in the series) will be held at the University of Pisa, from 6 – 8 June 2011. He hoped that the attendees will participate in this.
Urban Transport Planning in Cyprus
Mr Michael Lambrinos, a senior Civil Servant, delivered a special address to the conference prepared by Her Excellence the Minister of Communications and Works, Ms Erato Kozakou Markoulli, who expected to attend the conference but had to travel to Brussels at short notice. The message discussed the importance of urban transport planning for Cyprus and in particular her support for the conference. Urban transport is one of the highest priorities in view of the rapid development of the road network and the number of cars on the island. It presents a major challenge as well as an opportunity for the country which attaches great importance to developing the right strategies for future growth.
The development policy for Cyprus is to increase the use of public transport, in particular within the framework of the Integrated Mobility Master Plan. The initiative will provide better links between different towns and other places such as university campuses. The connections between the three main cities Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol are being improved. Cyprus will have a transport system akin to those in other European Union countries. The minister concluded by wishing all participants a very successful conference.
Mr Lambrinos then proceeded to deliver a paper on the ‘Nicosia Integrated Mobility Master Plan – Concept and Control’, which was prepared with Professor John Frantzekakis, of Denco Ltd, Athens. Michael explained that the traffic situation in greater Nicosia urban areas as well as other urban areas of Cyprus, has aggravated during the last years due to the fast increase of car ownership (at present 600 cars/1,000 inhabitants) and the decrease in public transport use (at present 4%). The objective of the ‘Nicosia Integrated Mobility Plan’ is to face the dire situation by increasing the share of public transport to over 10% by the year 2020 as well as the quality and share of non-motorized transport (bicycles and pedestrians). Michael described the Public Transport, Road Network policy and the efforts needed to improve to the current scenario.
The next presentation discussed the Public Transport System for Nicosia and was delivered by Demos Demosthenes, Executive Engineer at the Ministry. Demos explained that the main objective of the Integrated Plan was to explore solutions multiplying the use of green transport, i.e. public transport, walking and cycling. The presentation discussed the efforts to increase the use of public transport from the present level to at least 10% in the target year 2020. Two basic alternative network configurations were analysed and evaluated. Proposals on bus fleet, bus terminals and bus lanes were made.
A pre-feasibility study for the introduction of tram lines is being undertaken, where two scenarios with and without trams are compared, showing that in economic terms, the evaluation criteria remains above the limits of eligibility for the project.
The next presentation was by Jose Salanova Grso from the Greek Institute of Transport of Thessaloniki, dealing with a combination of macro and micro-scale transport simulation models to support the Integrated Mobility Planning. Transportation planning and forecast methods were applied in the city of Nicosia within the framework of the Plan. Particular characteristics of the town, such as sparce coverage, low service quality and even lower market penetration of the public transport network, the inadequate parking policy and the car-centred mobility culture of the local citizens have motivated the research team to ‘redesign’ the classic four-step transport modelling method by combining tactical and dynamic macro and micro transportation models in order to support decision making and to achieve the envisioned project results.
The presentation on Network Development was made by Aristotle Savvas, Executive Engineer at the Ministry. He explained that one of the basic objectives of the plan is to propose a rail network to serve the foreseen development of the city. Various alternative scenarios were analysed and evaluated using static and dynamic models. A proper hierarchy and configuration of the road system segregating through and local traffic, creating human communities where pedestrians, bicycles and low speed public transport and cars are safely moving surrounded by high speed arteries properly connected to the communities by collector roads.
The last presentation from the Cyprus team was read by Willem Bowrer, consultant to the Ministry, employed by Arup Transport of the UK. He explained that although Nicosia does have regulated parking, it does not work very well. This is due to the lack of proper alternatives to the private car and the high parking demand in central areas resulting from this. The speaker referred to the parking policy pilot plan which could be implemented immediately by the municipality of Nicosia. The pilot shows how to formulate short term parking instead of long-term, how to offer more users a parking space, how to both guarantee the availability of free spaces and at the same time collect resources for the municipality.
The presentations created a good deal of interest and there were many questions afterwards. They were also an ideal introduction for the afternoon visit to Nicosia arranged by the Ministry.
The rest of the conference sessions were enhanced by a series of invited presentations;
‘A transport strategy for Portugal’ by N M Gomes Rocha, University of Porto, Portugal
‘A model to estimate road transport emissions from the entire life cycle’ by J Lumbreras, University Politecnica of Madrid, Spain
‘Emissions tests in city buses under real road conditions’ by J Merkisz, Poznan University of Technology, Poland
‘Ant Colony Optimisation approaches for the transportation assignment problem’ by L D’Acierno, University of Naples ‘Federico II’, Italy
‘Pedestrians’ needs in the urban environment: the case of the city of Trikala, Greece’ by S Babbas, Thessaloniki University of Technology, Greece
‘Roundabout perception: review of standards and guidelines for advanced warning’ by A Pratelli, University of Pisa, Italy
Address by Mr Michael Constantinides - Transport Solutions in Cyprus
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr Michael Constantinides addressed the conference by first expressing his appreciation to WIT for holding the meeting in Cyprus.
The topic of the conference is right at the top of the agenda in his Ministry. Mr Constantinides said the contributions of the conference will add value to the experience in Cyprus.
The main transport problem is serious in Cyprus, aggravated by the high ownership of cars. The government needs to encourage public sector service transport as there is a danger to the environment and the quality of life, with congested and polluted cities.
So far the government has;
- Completed the Integrated Mobility Master Plan for Nicosia, which was the subject of the special session. They are working on completing policies to incorporate a Master Plan for development.
- The second important initiative is the reorganisation of the public transport system. The operators in the city were licensed to provide public transport in six districts. They were encouraged to form consortia to enter these tenders.
- The third initiative is the identification of ‘early winners’, implementing pilot initiatives, such as pedestrianisation of some streets, provision of parking etc. It is important to find the best ways to sell initiatives to different parties.
An Integrated Master Plan requires at least 10 years to be completed and is important to demonstrate that the project will work through ‘early winners’ implementations.
Special tour of Nicosia
The authorities on Cyprus arranged a special tour of Nicosia to the give the participants an opportunity to know more about the Master Plan for Transport in the island and see some sites of historical interest.
The delegates were welcomed in Nicosia by the city authorities and given a presentation regarding the problems that Nicosia has as a divided city. Although connections between the two communities are improving all the time, the city is still divided into Turkish and Greek parts, which make any planned development difficult to implement. The tour showed some of these problems and the areas where further development is envisaged.
The idea is to attract investment in the city, capitalising on its cultural heritage. New prospects for the regeneration of the city are also envisaged including a bus terminal designed by Zaha Hadid whose winning design will act as a bridge between the modern and old parts of the city in an original and elegant manner.
The day ended with a dinner offered by WIT at a taverna, where the delegates had occasion to taste a series of local dishes. The evening had a friendly atmosphere which contributed to cementing the links between the participants.
The conference dinner took place in a fish restaurant in Limassol, where the delegates had occasion to taste the excellent local catch. The restaurant was located in front of the historical castle associated with the period of the Crusaders. The setting contributed to creating a friendly environment in which the delegates were able to interact better with each other.
The next meeting will take place in Pisa from the 6 – 8 June 2011, with the co-chairmanship of Professors Antonio Pratelli and Carlos A Brebbia.
Publication of Papers
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online in the WIT eLibrary as Volume 111 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com