From Energy Efficiency to Urban Mobility: Introducing a Participatory Approach to Development of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Polack

About of project:

Project Period: 01.03.2014 – 30.04.2017

Budget: € 334,000; EU contribution – € 299,500

Implementing Agency: Interakcia Local Foundation for Development of International Dialogue and Cooperation

Location: Polack (Viciebsk Region)


About 10-15 years ago, there were around 150 cars per 1,000 citizens of Polack; now their number is about 300 (per 1,000). The growing traffic flow jeopardizes the urban ecology and people’s safety. The problem can be solved through the introduction of a modern system of urban mobility.

Goals and Objectives: The creation of a convenient transport system facilitating the reduction of CO2 emission – by joint efforts of the citizens, mass media, business, non-governmental organizations and the city authorities.

Project Outcomes: 

The first 10 km bicycle trail was constructed in Polack. Design work for the first cycle path was done in 2016, and the path was officially opened during the European Mobility Week. Polack residents selected the route themselves: students of schools and other education institutions put forward their proposals as part of a contest, and city residents later chose the best entry from a shortlist of three drawn up by the Public Working Group. More than 750 people cast their votes. Plans for developing cycle paths and bus routes in Polack were also devised under the project. On Spring 2017, 12 parkings for bicycles were established. While choosing places to establish parkings, public-opinin poll was conducted.

European Mobility Week events were held in Polack in September 2015 and September 2016. the Public Working Group, local communities, businesspeople and volunteers took an active part in organising them. Thus, Polack became the first Belarusian city to officially join the European Mobility Week campaign, which involves about 1,000 cities every year. In international reports on the European Mobility Week, Belarus was twice named as a promising region — in 2015 and 2016. The festival united representatives of all social and age groups in the city. At exhibitions, master classes, seminars and film screenings, Polatsk residents were told about the environmental friendliness of cycling and about urban transport services and the use of bicycles of a means of transport in the European Union . In 2016, a free app called Moovit was launched for the public transport systems of Polack and Navapolack.  In September 2016, ZOOM--Kids on the Move campaign took place for the second time— more than 1,500 schoolchildren in Polack, Navapolack and Minsk learnt about climate change and environmentally friendly means of transport.

The project stakeholders – local authorities, experts, businesspeople, media outlets, and non-governmental organizations of the city – set up a Public Working Group to generate proposals for improving the transport situation in Polack and to evaluate the decisions of authorities and experts in this field. Their ideas and suggestions have been included in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. The comprehensive approach, which reflects the views of citizens and professionals, enabled participants to create the most efficient mobility plan.

The final version of the Mobility Plan was approved at the end of 2016 and included in the general development plan for the city. On May 26, 2017, Polotsk District Executive Comittee confirmed the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) that was developed during the project implementation.

Within the framework of the project, representatives of the BelNIIPgradostroitelstva (Belarusian Research and Design Institute of Urban Planning) and the Belarusian Association of Transport Experts and Surveyors studied traffic accident trends and the advantages of public transport and the most popular cycling routes. As a result, specific conditions in the city were taken into account while devising a transport system plan and tackling the problems of a lack of parking space and traffic jams.

Representatives of the Polack District Executive Committee, the city housing authority and the City Inspectorate of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection were able to borrow the best European practices during a study tour of Germany's Dresden in February 2015 (the city adopted its mobility plan in November 2014) and  during the CIVITAS FORUM Conference 2016 in Gdynia, Poland in October 2016.

The project ended with a large conference devoted to urban mobility. It was held in Mins on March 24, 2017. More than 20 speakers from Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden gathered together to share the experience and discuss plans and possibilities for sustainable development of regions of Belarus.

Recommendations on improvement mobility in Belarusian cities were presented during the conference. Experts in transport, safety of traffic, urban planning, development of bicycle traffic worked on the collection "Sustainable urban mobility planning".  Also, collection for project managers "How to attract citizens to participate in your project" was issued. 

Points of Contact:

Anton Radniankou, Project Manager, +375 17 237 48 40, +375 25 924 42 13