Representatives of public institutions, academics, experts and interest groups held a discussion on Sunday on the future of urban mobility in Tirana and the policies that should guide the first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). The mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj stated that one of the challenges is to make decisions regarding alternative transport with the goal to reduce pollution. According to Veliaj, in Tirana today there are 800 thousand segments that are crossed by vehicles every day, but half of them are less than 1 km, which can be easily done by urban transport, walking or cycling.
To increase mobility by alternative means and reduce car use, the Municipality of Tirana is paying close attention to bike lanes. Veliaj said that despite what skeptics think, using bicycles and building lanes is also a cultural issue. “Until we come to a sustainable final plan for mobility, we will need to include communication as well, ” said Veliaj, Taking the Netherlands’s example, which years ago fought the same problem until heavily promoting biking. One of the decisions taken by the Municipality in the field of transport is the transition to electric taxis. Veliaj said that after the success with taxis, Tirana is now waiting for electric buses as well. The mayor stressed that the time has come for the democratization of budgets and a new policy.
“A third challenge I would like to address is the democratization of urban planning. Which means: even though we have 200,000 cars in Tirana, they are only 20% of the population. The taxes that the municipality uses on investments apply equally to everyone, those who walk, take the bus or drive a car. Then we will have to include in this discussion the coefficients on how we will democratize our budgets”, said Veliaj
“Vision for Tirana 2030” will be a qualitative description of a desired urban future. This vision will serve as a milestone for the further SUMP planning process and provides the basis for subsequent steps, such as: defining strategic objectives, goals and measures./Tiranapost.al.