South to South Dialogue: Lessons Learned, Shared Experiences and What's Ahead for the Air Quality Community of Practice

South to South Dialogue: Lessons Learned, Shared Experiences and What's Ahead for the Air Quality Community of Practice

>January 24, 2023 | 10 -  | Online

Time zones: 9:00 am Mexico City (GMT-6), 10:00 am Washington D.C. (GMT-5), 10:00 am Bogota (GMT-5), 6:00 pm Nairobi (GMT +3)

Participants from Mexico, Colombia and Africa will share their experiences, needs and lessons learned as active members of the Air Quality Community of Practice.

Further details of the next stage of this initiative will also be announced in order to continue creating community and sharing best practices and tools for air quality management and climate change mitigation.

Speakers to be announced

Cover image by: George Lamson/Flickr

Register here:

Stories to Watch 2023
World Resources Institute's Ani Dasgupta will share insights into the big stories in 2023, including what actions governments, businesses, institutions and people must take to get the world on the right path.

Stories to Watch 2023

The big moments, trends and people that will shape the world in 2023

 -  | Online | Register here 

2022 was a year of disruption. The ongoing effects of COVID, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation, climate impacts and more led to major upheaval in people’s lives.

Yet there were also major developments in policy and actions by governments, businesses and institutions that could help turn the tide. World leaders are prioritizing action on nature and climate and multilateral meetings led to new breakthroughs. These silver linings bring hope that out of the many crises, a new and better approach could emerge.

Will we see more progress toward more sustainable and equitable development in 2023? 

At this pivotal moment, Ani Dasgupta will share insights into the big stories in 2023, including what actions governments, businesses, institutions and people must take to get the world on the right path.

Cover photo credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

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An Innovative Jobs Program in Odisha, India Helped Informal Workers Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Since 2020, Urban Wage Employment Initiative (UWEI) has supported vulnerable populations and made Odisha’s slums more resistant to climate change while creating a permanent public employment program for the urban poor. Its story is an example of how governments can deliver relief in a moment of deep crisis while fostering long-term sustainable urban development.

An Innovative Jobs Program in Odisha, India Helped Informal Workers Through COVID-19 and Beyond

January 3, 2023 

By Salome Gongadze and Anne Maassen 

When India’s federal government announced a public health lockdown on March 24, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it generated desperate scenes. Economic activity ground to a halt. Millions of migrant workers traveled back to their home states.

In the eastern Indian state of Odisha, it quickly became clear to officials that they were facing not only a public health emergency, but a potentially catastrophic unemployment and poverty crisis.

The state’s large urban poor population could not survive the lockdown on state aid alone. Slum dwellers — which make up about 25% of Odisha’s population in cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela — as well as thousands of migrant workers returning from other states were particularly vulnerable. Many worked primarily in the informal sector, earning their livelihood from street hawking and petty trading of fruit, textiles and small household goods; day labor; shoe shining and other forms of low-skilled self-employment. Informal workers lacked the job security or social safety nets to support them through the shutdown. 

So Odisha’s Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) decided on an ambitious response. Within weeks of the shutdown, the department launched the Urban Wage Employment Initiative (UWEI), a large-scale jobs program to employ the urban poor and informal and migrant laborers in public works projects — mainly ones targeted at building resilience to climate change.

Since 2020, UWEI has supported vulnerable populations and made Odisha’s slums more resistant to climate change while creating a permanent public employment program for the urban poor. Its story is an example of how governments can deliver relief in a moment of deep crisis while fostering long-term sustainable urban development.

Engaging Informal Workers: A New Model for Public Works Projects

While public employment programs have existed in India for a long time, most focus on rural settings.  Executing a large-scale jobs program in cities was not something that had been done before.

HUDD leadership quickly tapped into existing urban service programs like the Indian government’s JAGA Mission, a slum-upgrading program established in 2017. They also worked closely with local community organizations such as slum dwellers’ associations and women’s groups to plan public works projects. This was a departure from the traditional process, which would involve competitive bids from professional contractors. By designating community groups as the project’s “alternative service providers,” the initiative made sure all benefits stayed in the local community and that marginalized groups, including women, received job opportunities. (Learn more about this approach in WRI’s World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City.)

Community organizations also gathered feedback from citizens about local infrastructure needs, identified job seekers and supervised the execution of works projects.

Women in a public space in Odisha, India

Women gather at an open-air community center in Odisha, India. Community centers are one of many public works projects implemented through the Urban Wage Employment Initiative. Photo by WRI

Changing Odisha for the Better through Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

The public works projects included in UWEI’s initial stages relieved immediate joblessness and acute poverty while also creating new infrastructure and amenities for cities in Odisha. For example, UWEI commissioned the construction of rainwater-harvesting structures, undertook large-scale water drain desilting, and maintained flood-mitigation and monsoon preparedness infrastructure — critical infrastructure for communities prone to floods and typhoons.

Across all of Odisha’s 114 cities, UWEI workers built 800 new mini parks, 300 playgrounds, 1,200 open-air gyms, 350 kilometers of paved walkways, and 1,000 playgrounds and open-air community centers. And the number of community assets continues to grow.

Playground in Odisha, India

A boy plays on one of 300 playgrounds built as part of Odisha's Urban Wage Employment Initiative. Photo by WRI 

Pabitra Choudhury, the secretary of a regional women’s group, said that before the UWEI program, people used outdoor toilets, roads were muddy and dirty, and children would frequently get infections from playing in the dirt and dust. “Now, children are playing with swings and other things,” Choudhury said. “They are developing. After the community hall was built, children are coming to watch TV, listen to storytelling, learning dance. Our community is clean. For that we are feeling good.”

In February 2021, the State Government of Odisha converted UWEI into a permanent successor program, called MUKTA (translated as the “Chief Minister’s Wage Employment Scheme,”or Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan), which continues to be implemented by Odisha’s HUDD. MUKTA aims to continually provide work opportunities through community groups.

Not only has Odisha as a whole benefited from better physical infrastructure, many small business owners and self-employed workers also experienced improved economic prospects.

“By getting MUKTA and developing this area, shops opened like a manure shop, tiffin shop and a fast food shop,” said Sibani Nayak, president of the Maa Banadurga slum association. “We are getting more customers; we are having good income.”

Constructing a public works project in Odisha, India

Odisha, India's Urban Wage Employment Initiative employed more than 700,000 urban workers in building public works projects throughout the state. Photo by WRI

A Lasting Solution for Odisha's Informal Workers

UWEI was an effective short-term emergency response program to the economic tumult of the pandemic lockdown, ultimate employing 700,000 urban workers, with $12 million in wages paid out. The initial program showed that public employment could be delivered through a multi-level, community-based approach that benefited the state’s most vulnerable populations.

The experience of running UWEI and then institutionalizing it as MUKTA changed mindsets in the state and national government about how pro-poor urban development can be effectively delivered. It demonstrates how public employment schemes, previously implemented in mainly rural contexts in India, may be set up to benefit informal workers in cities.

While most cities around the world are no longer facing COVID-19-related lockdowns, with ongoing threats from climate change and other unforeseen challenges, the future of urban governance appears to be shifting into a mode where uncertainty is the norm rather than the exception. Odisha’s UWEI-MUKTA project shows how local governments can combine calculated risk-taking with creatively leveraged resources to respond to crises with solutions that benefit communities over both the short and long terms.

WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities

Odisha's Urban Wage Employment Initiative (UWEI) is a finalist for the 2021-2022 WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities. Learn more.

The 2021-2022 WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities celebrates projects and initiatives showing how to live and thrive in turbulent times. From five finalists, one grand prize winner will be announced February 1, 2023.

Cover Image by: WRI

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Digital twin helps Stuttgart to measure sustainability

The German city of Stuttgart has teamed up with digital solutions provider Hexagon and tech company Fujitsu to develop a digital twin platform aimed at boosting sustainability.

Digital twin helps Stuttgart to measure sustainability

06 December 2022

by Christopher Carey

Using software to visualise data from internet of things (IoT) sensors, the city’s Civil Engineering Office will monitor a diverse range of challenges including water quality, flood levels and parking space occupancy.

“The needs of our residents are very important to us,” said Jens Schumacher, Head of IT, Stuttgart Civil Engineering Office.

“Stuttgart’s Urban Digital Twin project will provide our office with a vast amount of mobility and environmental data, and the IoT analysis platform from Hexagon and Fujitsu will give us the ability to use that data to make smarter decisions for the good of our city.”

The platform is based on Hexagon’s M.App Enterprise, with Fujitsu providing the cloud infrastructure service for the project.

“Stuttgart is an exemplary model of how cities can solve today’s most pressing urban challenges, such as sustainability, safety and mobility, through the use of real-time data analysis,” said Maximillian Weber, Senior Vice President, EMEA, Hexagon’s safety, infrastructure and geospatial division.

“We’re proud to partner with Stuttgart and Fujitsu in putting data to work to ensure a better future for the city.”

Yoshinami Takahashi, EVP and Vice Head of the Global Solution Business Group at Fujitsu, added: “We are excited to grow our partnership with Hexagon to solve the challenges of cities. In collaboration with Hexagon, we will provide a service that enables real-time analysis of environmental data in Stuttgart and contributes to the improvement of services for residents.”

The future?

According to analyst predictions, over 500 urban digital twins are expected to be deployed by 2025 and the technology could save cities US$280 billion by 2030 through more efficient urban planning.

Some municipalities – including Tallinn, Seoul and Des Moines – have launched digital twins while many others are still weighing up the pros and cons and considering their options.

In July, innovation accelerator Connected Places Catapult announced a new board to advance digital twins across the UK, with Dr Alison Vincent chosen as chair of the Digital Twin Hub.

Speaking after her appointment, Dr Vincent said: “Digital twins are already helping to find the best solar panel locations in Singapore, manage people flow at train stations in London, and simulate the impact of natural disasters in Seoul.

“Ultimately, digital twins and connected digital twins will give us a clear advantage in fighting global, systemic challenges like pandemics, climate change and inequality.

“The Digital Twin Hub is a key player in the world of digitisation [and] a vehicle to help the UK digitise at speed.”

Image: prerna-bhardwaj-unsplash

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New York boosts EV fleet transition with $10 million grant

New York is using US$10.1 million in federal grants to replace 925 fossil fuel-powered fleet vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs) and install 315 EV chargers across the city.

New York boosts EV fleet transition with $10 million grant

10 January 2023

by Christopher Carey

The vehicles will include electric transit vans and pick-up trucks for city agencies, and electric refuse trucks and hybrid plug-in street sweepers for the city’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

Funding will be administered through the US Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

“Thanks to this investment from the Biden Administration, the city is poised to make huge progress on making our fleet more climate-friendly,” said New York’s Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.

“Our agencies rely on these vehicles to complete vital operations within the five boroughs, and this funding helps us decarbonise some of the hardest vehicles to decarbonise: heavy-duty trucks.

“From cleaning the streets to getting our air cleaner, the trucks move us in the right direction.”


The city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) will receive US$6.2 million in funding, with the remainder going to the DSNY.

As of September 2022, DCAS reached its 2025 goal of transitioning 4,000 vehicles in the city fleet to EVs – three years ahead of schedule.

Currently, the department’s electric fleet includes a wide range of vehicle types and categories, from over 200 Ford Mustang Mach Es – predominantly for law enforcement purposes – to nearly 850 GM Bolts.

DCAS expects to operate over 5,000 EVs by June 2023. The agency has also ordered the first three electric buses for the New York City Department of Correction and is working on EV contracts for box trucks, garbage trucks for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and additional replacements of fossil fuel-powered cars with electric models.

“We are laying the groundwork for an all-electric fleet of the future that will support critical citywide operations while benefiting the environment,” said DCAS Commissioner Dawn Pinnock.

“Through this funding from the US Department of Transportation, we are poised to make a significant transition for our light- and medium-duty fleet.

“This is a critical next step for our agency as we lead the charge in government fleet operations.”

Charger expansion

On Monday, Brooklyn-based electric mobility and infrastructure firm Revel announced plans to expand the number of public fast chargers for EVs across New York City.

The company said it intends to develop and open five new EV fast-charging “superhubs” across multiple boroughs to add 136 public charging stalls.

The largest site, set to feature 60 stalls, will be in Queens, with smaller hubs in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Last year the company installed the city’s first vehicle-to-grid two-way charging system, receiving funding from a New York State clean transportation initiative.

Image: MTA

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Middle East Institute (MEI) Futures Forum 2022
The Middle East Institute (MEI), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its Regional Bureau of Arab States (RBAS), presents the second annual MEI Futures Forum. The Futures Forum will convene top thinkers and change leaders from around the world to push the envelope of innovation and inspiration on imagining future solutions to the most pressing problems of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and paths to realizing the region’s greatest potential opportunities. The Futures Forum is the signature annual event of MEI’s Strategic Foresight Initiative program.

Middle East Institute Futures Forum 2022

When: December 7, 2022 from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Where: Zoom Webinar

Register here:

Conference Agenda

Welcome Remarks

Dr. Khalida Bouzar
Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, United Nations Development Programme

Steven Kenney
Director, Strategic Foresight Initiative, MEI

8:30am - 9:00am EST | Session I: Megatrends and Their Implications for the Arab Region

In support of “Our Common Agenda,” the UN Secretary-General’s landmark 2021 report, and the planned “Summit of the Future” during the General Assembly’s high-level week in 2024, ESCWA is undertaking a series of strategic analyses of some of the most important megatrends impacting the MENA region. Mounir Tabet, ESCWA Deputy Executive Director, will discuss the Megatrends Project and some of the important implications of global megatrends for the futures of the Arab region with Dr. Paul Salem, President and CEO, MEI.

Mounir Tabet
Deputy Executive Director, UN Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia (ESCWA)

Paul Salem, moderator
President and CEO, MEI 

9:10am - 10:25am EST | Session II: Seeding Future Stability – Imagining Startup Ecosystems in MENA Region Peacebuilding

There is evidence of an important role that the emergence of entrepreneurial startups can play in the aftermath of conflicts, producing goods and services that mitigate the consequences on affected populations, and fostering renewal of constructive trustful relations among groups. This panel will consider futures in which public and private sector leaders are proactive in this area. Experience has shown that when governments and development organizations in the MENA region consider economic issues within humanitarian and development programs and foster entrepreneurial ecosystems as a deliberate element of stabilization and peacebuilding in conflict and  “pre-conflict” zones, the results can take root faster and be more effective. What if regional and global venture capital and venture philanthropy communities also made startups in conflict and pre-conflict zones a deliberate part of their investment strategies?

Omar Christidis
Founder and CEO, Arabnet 

Jaideep Dhanoa
Co-founder and CEO, Fenix 

Mona Itani
Founder, Riyada for Social Innovation and Shabab Lab

Auke Lootsma
UNDP Representative in Iraq (formerly RR in Yemen)

Saleha Mohsin, moderator
Senior Washington Correspondent, Bloomberg News 

10:35am - 11:50am EST | Session III: Next Urban Visions – Pathways Toward Sustainable Future MENA Cities

The cities of the future must be sustainable in a multiplicity of dimensions, from their energy usage to waste management, to the industries they build their economies on, their technological and infrastructural renovations, their approaches and commitments to social justice and equity, their health resilience, food systems and more. This panel will consider the transformational shifts needed for cities of the future to be sustainable, and the lifestyle changes, circular solutions, and planetary dimensions that need to be considered. What actions must local governments, urban stakeholders and leaders of all sectors in the MENA region take? What barriers must be  overcome to make cities sustainable and livable - not just in new-build developments like Neom and Egypt’s “New Administrative Capital” - but especially in the cities where millions already live.

Adam Giambrone
Mobility Director and Head of Road Division, Neom 

Melissa Inguruca Moreno
Researcher and designer in multispecies urbanism, 2022 Next Generation Foresight Practitioners Main Award Winner 

Steven Kenney, moderator
Director, Strategic Foresight Initiative, MEI

11:55am - 12:25am EST | Session IV: Fireside Chat: Cities Alive – Designing Cities That Work for Women

A recently completed analysis by UNDP in collaboration with the global design firm Arup and the University of Liverpool explored a future gender-responsive approach to urban planning, one that transcends the inequalities that restrict women’s social and economic opportunities, health and wellbeing, sense of safety and security, and access to justice and equity. Dr. Sara Candiracci, Associate Director at Arup, and co-author of the study, will talk with Tehmina Akhtar, Senior Strategic Advisor at UNDP, Regional Bureau for Arab States, about the study’s conclusions and frameworks and how the futures of cities in the MENA region could be reimagined and transformed by them.

Sara Candiracci 
Associate Director, Inclusive and Resilient Cities Lead, ARUP 

Tehmina Akhtar
Senior Strategic Advisor, Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP

In partnership with


Nature-based Solutions Finance for NDCs
This report offers reference material and inspiration for UNDP and interested stakeholders to further support the design and implementation of NBSs in NDCs by enabling countries and local stakeholders to access various financing streams. 

Nature-based Solutions Finance for NDCs

Published by UNDP on 4 November 2022

Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the biggest global challenges this century and arguably the greatest regional challenge in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical connection between human health and the health of nature. The pandemic continues to result in significant health, economic and social costs for small island developing states (SIDS), least developed countries (LDCs), and middle-income countries across urban and rural settings from the large megacities of Dhaka and Bangkok to the smallest island atolls in the Pacific.

Nature-based solutions (NbSs) are critical to climate action and one of the most requested areas of support to enhance nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Importantly, NbSs in NDCs can support climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as slow biodiversity loss, in a cost-effective manner. These intertwined crises require an integrated approach and unprecedented cooperation to achieve a nature-positive economic recovery and an equitable carbon-neutral and sustainable future. NbSs can play a critical role is this approach.

This report offers reference material and inspiration for UNDP and interested stakeholders to further support the design and implementation of NBSs in NDCs by enabling countries and local stakeholders to access various financing streams. It presents the importance of financing NBSs for NDCs through public, private and philanthropic foundations. The report also provides a non-exhaustive regional mapping of existing examples of financing NBSs at scale across climate change mitigation (e.g., REDD+), climate change adaptation (CCA), biodiversity, and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Asia-Pacific. UNDP’s work in the nature, climate and energy portfolio has employed several of these options. Five case studies illustrate lessons for Asia[1]Pacific in financing NbSs for NDCs - Public-Private Partnership Approach; Debt-for-Nature Swap; Sustainable Tourism in Protected Natural Areas; Sustainable Cities; Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use sector.

Access the full report here:

or download the attached PDF of the report

2022 Effective Development Cooperation Summit

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (the Global Partnership) is the primary multi-stakeholder vehicle for driving development effectiveness, to "maximize the effectiveness of all forms of co-operation for development for the shared benefits of people, planet, prosperity and peace." It brings together governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, the private sector and representatives from parliaments and trade unions among others, who are committed to strengthening the effectiveness of their partnerships for development.

2022 Effective Development Cooperation Summit

2022 Effective Development Cooperation Summit

12-14 December 2022 in Geneva

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (the Global Partnership) is the primary multi-stakeholder vehicle for driving development effectiveness, to "maximize the effectiveness of all forms of co-operation for development for the shared benefits of people, planet, prosperity and peace." It brings together governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, the private sector and representatives from parliaments and trade unions among others, who are committed to strengthening the effectiveness of their partnerships for development.

The Global Partnership is a hub for advancing the effectiveness of development efforts by all actors, to deliver results that are long-lasting and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Some of the points to be discussed and shared include this year on December:

- Taking place at the midpoint of Agenda 2030, the Summit will put a spotlight on how better co-operation strengthens trust and
transforms the way we work together.
- In a new era of global challenges – the pandemic, a deepening climate emergency, and many economic shocks – we must charter
sustainable pathways for a just recovery across sectors and geographies.
- Effective partnering is a compass and catalyst for using local, national and global resources in the best possible way for the fastest and most
sustainable impact as we look to achieve the SDGs.
- All co-operation partners need to balance ongoing short-term pressures with delivering on the vision for long-term well-being for the people
and planet

More information: 

122 cities make the climate action ‘A list’

A total of 122 cities across the globe have been named as leaders in environmental action and transparency by CDP – a non-profit which runs an environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions.

122 cities make the climate action ‘A list’

Published by Cities Today on 21 November 2022 | Author: Sarah Wray

The fifth annual A List recognises cities that have received the highest score for their transparency and action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It comes following recent CDP data which showed that 80 percent of cities face ‘significant climate hazards’.

This year, for the first time, over 1,000 cities were scored by CDP, with just over one in ten cities scoring an A. These include London, Paris, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Seoul and Melbourne.

Higher targets

To score an A, a city must disclose publicly through CDP-ICLEI Track, have a city-wide emissions inventory and have published a climate action plan. The scoring criteria for emissions reduction targets were strengthened to include a long-term target of becoming net zero by 2050 or a mid-term target that is aligned with a fair share of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C.

An A List city must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have a climate adaptation plan in place.

For the first time, India has a city (Mumbai) on the A List and cities from other Global South nations have also made it onto the A List for the first time, including Lima, Peru; Quito, Ecuador; and Yaoundé IVth Commune, Cameroon. The Middle East also sees its debut A List cities – Amman, Jordan and Kadıköy, Turkey.

North America accounts for the largest share of cities (49) on the 2022 leaders list, followed by Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Africa.

The USA has the most A List cities of any one country and the UK nearly doubled the number of cities on the A List compared to 2021.

Growing momentum

According to CDP, A List cities report taking more than three times as many mitigation and adaptation measures as non-A List cities.

Maia Kutner, CDP Global Director of Cities, States and Regions, said: “The world, and its cities, need to go much further and faster in stepping up that action. Reporting environmental data is the first, crucial step to acting, as what gets measured, gets managed.

“This year’s A List shows the growing momentum in cities reporting their data and we hope that many more will join them in protecting our planet for future generations.”

CDP has four scoring bands for cities’ climate action: Disclosure (D/D-), Awareness (C/C-), Management (B/B-) and Leadership (A/A-). The organisation says that cities tend to improve their score over time but need more resources – especially those in developing countries.

Photo: Ben Goode |

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Creating safer and sustainable roads as part of urban mobility plans

More than 70 percent of the 8 billion human inhabitants on our planet live in urban areas. To make these cities easier to live in, and deal with pollution and congestion, there is an increasing trend to move to e-mobility and reduce vehicle access to city centres. To create the urban spaces of the future, cities need to encourage active mobility, such as cycling or walking, and improve public transport.

Creating safer and sustainable roads as part of urban mobility plans

Published by Cities Today on 28 November 2022

3M road safety

Rik Nuyttens, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager in the 3M Traffic Safety Division (EMEA), explores creative ways to keep vulnerable road users safe in urban environments.

How can cities reduce the stress on infrastructure?

Rik Nuyttens, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, 3M Traffic Safety Division

Historically, urban infrastructure has been upgraded based around vehicles transporting goods and people. Congestion, as well as difficulty finding inner city parking spaces, is forcing more drivers to look for alternative, active modes of transport and this has been accelerated by the pandemic.

The renting of e-scooters and bicycles has attracted new business models, which has added to the complexity and highlighted safety concerns.

Accidents involving vulnerable road users (VRUs) are on the rise, so redesigning urban space to separate them from traditional vehicle-based traffic has to be the answer.

What changes can we expect from the EU Urban Mobility Framework?

The Urban Mobility Framework sets out European guidance on how cities can cut emissions and improve mobility, usually initiated via Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). The main focus is on public transport, walking and cycling. The proposal also prioritises zero-emission solutions for urban fleets and the construction and modernisation of multimodal hubs, as well as new digital solutions and services.

However, SUMPs are not always welcomed by local residents and retailers. If cities want to try out a re-design of the urban space, some interventions may be costly and irreversible. Products such as 3M’s temporary road marking stripes are quick to install and can be easily removed, so they are ideal for trialing design changes. These road markings can also be used for temporary changes to road infrastructure due to a large event.

What tools could help?

To build and maintain this physical infrastructure, cities need Green Public Procurement (GPP) tools. The EU Green Deal implies a revision of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) where the relevant standards to build road infrastructure meet MEAT-based (Most Economically Advantaged Tenders) specifications. This sets out procurement standards to enable local authorities to compare solutions based on performance and environmental impact, so the full lifecycle cost (LCC) can be determined.

In the absence of clear standards or guidelines, we advise looking beyond the initial cost of acquisition to evaluate the medium to long-term advantages of using durable products or solutions. Don’t forget to specify how this will be financed and monitored over time. Reducing maintenance and product replacement also results in less road works, congestion, pollution and inconvenience to residents and retailers. Performance-based contracts (P4P or PPP) may offer a better way of tendering.

How can safety be improved in urban areas?

A good and self-explaining physical infrastructure lays the foundation of a safe system approach.

For urban school zones, the focus should be on allowing children to safely walk or cycle to and from school. The street in front of the school needs the design to clearly separate all road users with highly visible and conspicuous traffic signs, road markings and symbols.

A similar approach should be taken to encourage safe bicycle travel throughout the city.

What materials can make street signs safer?

The quickest way to improve safety for all road users is reshaping urban spaces by using temporary or permanent road markings to separate vulnerable road users from traditional vehicle-based traffic. This provides safer school zones, bike lanes and pedestrian crossings and makes them more visible to all road users.

Reflective and fluorescent materials for traffic signs and markings will increase visibility and also attract attention day and night, especially in adverse weather conditions and where there are high levels of light pollution. These products also need to be easy to apply and removed when temporary to create safe traffic schemes, stay compliant with EU regulations and  disruption to traffic.

3M road safety materials also allow for reliable detection by the new generation of intelligent vehicles that are equipped with cameras and Lidar sensors (ADAS).

How can cities implement sustainable solutions?

Using the best performing and most durable materials leads to the best solutions with the lowest carbon footprint. In the absence of  green procurement processes, defining good tender specifications depends on the availability of scientific data allowing the specifier or purchaser to easily compare solutions.

At 3M, we reduce the environmental impact of our products due to the careful selection of our raw materials, the high durability of our products, fast application times and the reduced need for maintenance. We work directly with road agencies and municipalities, but in most cases the synergy relies on partnerships with convertors, sign makers and road marking applicators.

To start a 3M pilot in your city, contact our road safety experts.

For more information on 3M urban safety solutions visit our website.

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