Bike and car-sharing schemes are rapidly developing in European cities and they are now entering in a new phase: free-floating. In other words, shared vehicles don’t need to be picked up or left at a specific station, but the whole city area is eligible for parking. These innovations don’t come without challenges for our cities.
On 24-25 October, six EUROCITIES members met in Milan to learn more about how the Italian city is managing these new mobility solutions. The two-day workshop was organised under the framework of the Sharing Cities project, which aims to make smart cities a reality.
Milan currently boasts three bike-sharing systems, and six car-sharing operators are providing services in the city. The originality in their station based bike-system consists in the mix of traditional and electric bikes. Regardless of the type of bike that the user has taken, they can leave it at any station. Only when an electric bike is under 20% battery does the system stop people from taking it out.
In the latest months, two operators arrived from China with their free-floating or dockless bike-sharing systems. To avoid a city crowded with bikes, the local council has emitted a limited number of 12,000 licences. Furthermore, they have to pay the municipality €30 per bike each year.
Back in 2013, Milan launched its first public tender in order to spread free-floating car-sharing services in combination with the existing station-based service. Nowadays and after other calls, six operators provide a fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles, 25% of them fully electric.Milan is the first Italian city to launch a scooter-sharing system too. With so many new mobility solutions, on top of the traditional ones like public transport, the city is preparing its platform integrating several transport systems, known as Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
In addition, Area C, Milan’s congestion charge zone covering 8.2 km2 was presented and it attracted special attention from other cities. Thanks to the congestion charge, road traffic has decreased by 29.2% and road accidents by 26% compared to 2012. There’s also been an increase in public transport speed. Also, the funds for soft mobility infrastructure have raised 10%. Further positives figures include a decrease of 18% in PM10 emissions and 25% in Carbon Dioxide. Finally, Area C has resulted in an increase in productivity of 10% on freight deliveries in the city.
Bike and car-sharing solutions, as well as the congestion charge, attracted the interest of the Sharing Cities project’s fellow cities Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw. In addition, Bydgoszcz and The Hague were invited to attend the event based in their interest in and intention to replicate measures like these in the near future. They are all aware that changing people’s behaviour and reducing the use of private cars requires a combination of measures that will make our cities smarter.
With the aim of improving the quality of life and reducing air pollution, Bordeaux is preparing to implement its own Low-Emission Zone (LEZ). Burgas is tackling the issue by boosting electro mobility and transforming traditional bikes into electric bikes. Warsaw is renewing its fleet of buses to become electric.
During the workshops, other issues covered were behavioural change campaigns and activities, joint procurement and parking strategy.