Building local knowledge for urban transport development

Active Travel and Healthy Streets, Georgia, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

Last month EASST’s Gela Kvashilava from the Partnership for Road Safety Georgia presented at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) workshop on sustainable urban transport and mobility in Budva, Montenegro.

The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for countries across Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the Caucasus to share their experiences in addressing sustainable transport issues and to support cooperation between the relevant experts for transport and environment, as well as to discuss the challenges currently hindering the development of sustainable transport within the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Gela’s presentation focused on sharing good practices from Georgia in terms of urban transport development. He emphasised the need for countries to support low carbon mobility by encouraging a reduction in motorised travel and a shift towards environmentally friendly energy-efficient transport modes. Tbilisi is now achieving this by ensuring its streets are designed to be accessible and safe with non-motorised transport users (pedestrians and cyclists) as the priority. This is supported through a National Sustainable Transport Policy and the integration of land-use and transport planning within the SDG country targets.

The Partnership for Road Safety has been a key advocate in building local knowledge and capacity for this urban transport development in Tbilisi. Since 2016 they have been working in close collaboration with the Transport Department of Tbilisi City Hall to make cycling safer and easier in the city so that it can become a viable daily alternative to motorised transport.

Using the NACTO Global Street Design Guide a 2km area of road on Pekini Street in the city centre was evaluated for its suitability. The evaluation revealed several areas for improvement including the placement of traffic lights, bus stops and cycling lanes. This was presented to Tbilisi City Hall and a tender was subsequently announced for the construction of three new bike lanes in the city. The new lanes mean that within the last three years, Tbilisi has transformed from a city with zero cycling infrastructure to having a 12km cycling network with more than 70 new cycling parking spaces.

Partnership for Road Safety also play a central role in the government’s Transport Working Group, highlighting priority areas for future policy action. Their vision is for an optimised road infrastructure network where public transport and extended opportunities for non-motorised road users are prioritised, and they are achieving this.