As Malta joins the 21st-century’s quasi-global pledge to fight climate change, one sector’s green transformation will be felt by every stratum of society: transport.
In a country where the average commute is 5.5km, how can Malta move away from its car-heavy culture for better, cleaner and more beneficial ways of covering the islands?
This is where EIT Urban Mobility Hub Malta comes in.
The Hub in Malta is supported by EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. It has been set up as part of the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS), the EIT Community’s outreach scheme, introduced in 2014 to make information and expertise from its unique approach available to others. It allows EIT Urban Mobility to share good practice and experiences and to widen participation across Europe. Hub Malta is led by Project Aegle Foundation (PAF, a non-profit promoting sustainable mobility), the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and the Valletta Design Cluster (part of the Valletta Cultural Agency)) with the local mobility ecosystem in Malta, with the aim to nurture sustainable visions for better local urban mobility on the islands.
And to talk about the future of greener commuting, top experts will be talking about how Malta’s transport scene can be revolutionised on Lovin Daily next week.
So, what does 21st-century travel look like for Malta?
According to the EIT Urban Mobility Hub Malta, it’s incorporating multi-modal mobility.
Basically, the hub believes in a shift towards more sustainable ways of commuting, ditching the habit of using one mode of private transport (i.e. our beloved cars) for a mix of active mobility (walking, cycling, scooting); public transport (buses and ferries) and shared mobility (bikes, scooters, car-sharing and car-pooling).
Multi-modal mobility is a powerful alternative to relying on our own four wheels to get everywhere. It even comes with a string of green benefits. Moving away from cars helps reduce congestion on roads, cuts down on pollution and reduces carbon emissions, all of which align Malta with goals laid out in the European Union’s Green Deal.
How do we tangibly achieve this?
It’s all well and good to dream about a future where having an average of four cars per family in Malta is a thing of the past. But how do we actually make this dream a reality?
In order to make this ambitious shift to multi-modal mobility, we cannot simply rely on a change in transport services but must focus on an overhaul in mindset.
In other words, Malta needs to throw away its uni-modal approach (i.e. using cars to get from door to door, no matter the distance) to a multi-modal one, where people use different means of transport depending on the situation and in combination with others to get from A to B.
The urban transport landscape has already begun to change.
The foundations for a multi-modal mobility landscape have been planted. The islands have seen a modernised bus service, complete with new buses, card payments and new services like Tallinja Direct and on-demand.
A myriad of shared mobility services has also sprouted up, including bikes, scooters, car-sharing and car-pooling, all available via phone apps. This summer, Malta will see fast ferry services up and running.
Changing the collective car culture isn’t an easy feat, but it’s useful to consider the far-reaching benefits of alternative ways to get from one place to another.
Multi-modal mobility will not only impact the way road space is distributed, but also the use of public space.
Less car congestion will allow for more vibrant street life, more connection with our community and safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. It allows for children to play more outside, for youths to move more independently and for every person to experience Malta in a different way.
Besides being ideal for climate change, this transport approach will support a healthier population.
Active modes of transport mean more physical activity, improved mental health and better air quality.
So, on an island five times smaller than London, it’s high time we revolutionise the way in which we get around, in modes that are better for our environment, well-being and relations too. Can you go a day without touching your car?
Follow Lovin Daily next week to watch mobility experts speak about this transport revolution!
This Multi-Modal Mobility Campaign is co-organised and co-sponsored by the EIT Urban Mobility Hub Malta and Malta Public Transport (MPT), in collaboration with Lovin Malta.
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