Sustainable
Mobility

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„The city's challenge is to provide citizens with a transport network that is time-effective, pleasant, comfortable, and environmentally friendly. As things currently stand, private motor vehicles are often preferable to other modes of transport. As a result, it has only been possible to reduce the levels of pollutants in the air on a very small scale until now. For public transport, this means a stronger focus on modernisation and automation. Conversely, for the private sector it calls for creating favourable conditions for future owners of electric or other low-emission vehicles. Consistent coverage of Prague with publicly available charging stations is only the first step.“
FotoPetr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor for the Environment

Today, we think of car ownership as a necessity. Cars are a part of our lifestyle, a useful means of getting to an appointment or going shopping. This is understandable, but motor vehicle use is especially problematic in Prague’s specific conditions. The emissions that cars produce represent a negative phenomenon which we should strive to eliminate by choosing an appropriate mode of transport with the widest possible range of alternatives.

This is the basis for the Prague Strategic Plan and the Sustainable Mobility Plan for Prague and its Suburbs, the so-called P+ Plan. They formulate the main objectives that the city will strive to achieve. The first document names and defines the objectives, while the P+ Plan contains specific measures for their implementation. The Climate Plan serves as an extension in the field of sustainable mobility, as the previous documents are not able to meet the CO2 reduction targets of the Climate Commitment in the dozens of percent it requires.

The work undertaken on the Climate Plan has enabled sustainable mobility to be more broadly considered more an environmental protection perspective. Previously proposed measures were taken into account, sometimes radically reformulated, and new ones were added. However, the idea of encouraging the use of non-motorised and public transport and the shift to low- and zero-emission forms of transport remains. There is much room for improvement in this area. We see a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 (compared to 2010) as a realistic target which we can all work towards together.

The lifespan of a car is shortening radically. In the business sector, vehicles are being retired after just two years of use. However, their average lifetime is objectively longer - up to 14 years. We cannot expect an interest in switching to alternative fuels, such as electricity, without the sufficient infrastructure. This is one of the mistakes of the past, which the Climate Plan should help to correct.

Public and non-motorised transport is also a topic of focus. Prague's public transport network is perceived as one of the best in Europe. This is partly due to the fact that it does not have to avoid the city centre in complicated ways, but also because of its emphasis on different means of transport and their comprehensive continuity. While there is certainly room for improvement, we are working with a very good foundation. The same is true for non-motorised modes of transport, i.e. walking and cycling. Prague will certainly not become a "Little Netherlands", but we can enable more Prague residents to move more actively around the city by building better infrastructure.

What are the main goals we have set for ourselves in the field of sustainable mobility?

„Measures aimed at increasing the sustainability of transport in Prague are very sensitive and must be approached with care. Firstly, most of them will be very costly, which is unavoidable, and secondly, their success depends to a large extent on how residents will react to them. But their main purpose is still quite simple - transport around the metropolis that is fast, pleasant, and accessible.“
FotoTomáš Voříšek, Head of the Sustainable Mobility Working Group

The main objective is to complement the existing strategic documents, the Prague Strategic Plan and the Sustainable Mobility for Prague and its Suburbs, with additional stimulus that will lead to the improvement of transport in the metropolitan area and its adaptation to the new environmental standards in accordance with Prague's Climate Commitment for 2030. Transport is one of the main producers of various harmful substances. It is not just CO2, but also dust particles containing nitrogen oxides or aromatic hydrocarbons. The implementation of the proposed measures will enable a significant reduction, in the case of CO2 a 25% reduction when compared to 2010.

 

List of proposed measures

In context of the above, it is necessary to implement the following measures with the aim of reducing the city’s carbon footprint in the transport sector. Where possible, expected costs and resources are also listed. The potential for implementation of measures which fall outside the scope of the Sustainable Mobility for Prague Plan “P+” will be evaluated through a pre-set mechanism during the nearest formal update of the plan.

  • Implement the automation of metro line C as an innovative project of the city appropriately following the construction of metro line D; costs are expected to exceed 15 billion CZK, benefits in the form of higher metro performance at peak times, significantly reduced costs associated with operation (together with the completion of metro line D and other investments, the possibility of increasing the number of passengers transported by 100 million people per year).
  • Ensure the replacement of railway carriages in the suburban rail network with larger capacity options (and implement further measures which will allow for a continuous increase in the effectiveness of traffic); investment costs expended by the transport service provider (and reflected in the subsidy paid from the capital city’s budget). The aim is to maintain the increase of passengers transported on PID trains in Prague and reach up to 230,000 transported passengers daily by 2030.
  • Support the construction of all upcoming major railway infrastructure in the city, including the electrification of at least some of the remaining lines, with the aim of accelerating their initial phase for early implementation, preferably before 2030. Focus should be placed on modernisation of the railway line to Kladno (with the possibility of transforming the existing line into a new core bicycle route).
  • Extend paid parking zones to other parts of the city and in due course include a fee system (toll system). It is possible to set the fee charge amount depending on current demand.
  • Continue in implementing preferential measures for public transport which are key for reliability, travel speed, attractiveness, and energy efficiency, as well as renewal of current infrastructure.
  • Implement the construction of new tramway lines following the Strategy on the Development of Tramway Lines in Prague.
  • Build new and expand existing cycling paths with the aim of gradually separating them from other modes of transport; at the same time implement other measures to reduce barriers to the development of cycling and walking in the city.
  • Beginning at a set date (august 2021) purchase solely buses which are entirely zero emission or hybrid powered; similarly enforce the same standards for other city vehicles and companies which provide any type of transport services for the city.
  • Advocate for the construction of at least 10,000 publicly accessible charging stations in the city; primarily in publicly accessible garages, P+R car parks, parking near frequently visited buildings, on river embankments for possible use by boats, etc.
  • Develop innovative transport services such as carsharing, transport-on-demand, and mobility-as-a-service using zero-emission modes of transport and integrate them appropriately into the city-wide public transport system (through multimodal journey planning tools, unified registration and payment using the Lítačka card).
  • Organisation of a long-term information campaign on the advantages and benefits of sustainable (especially public) transport, aiming to raise awareness of its first-rate qualities in Prague and targeting an increase in its popularity. Transport can also be used to demonstrate other activities and areas of the Climate Plan.
 

Mobility measures are demanding and closely affect the daily lives of Prague's residents. It is the task of the City Hall to create the best possible conditions for the residents, so that they decide to make greater use of alternative modes of transport. The measures are guided by the desire to make transport more comfortable and smoother, and at the same time more financially and time efficient. This is a prerequisite for success and for reducing emissions stemming from motor vehicles using conventional fuels.

This is where the main efforts of the authors of the Prague Climate Plan of the capital city are directed. Towards a “renaissance” of public transport with an emphasis on its modernisation with new technologies and creating the most favourable conditions for walking and cycling. A significant topic is the strategy for electromobility, which represents a key tool from the perspective of climate protection. There are also other possibilities, and Prague more than welcomes private initiatives pursuing common goals with the City Hall. The immense potential of the sharing economy is confirmed by the recent boom in carsharing and transport-on-demand.

With all this in mind, we have set five priorities that we want to address over the next ten years:

  1. Increasing the attractiveness, capacity, and effectiveness of public transport.
  2. Increasing the attractiveness, capacity, and effectiveness of non-motorised transport.
  3. Reducing the intensity of motor vehicle transport (especially in the central areas of the city).
  4. Substitute vehicles using conventional fuels with low and zero emission alternatives.
  5. Support the development of sustainable air travel.

With what projects do we want to achieve the proposed goals?

The proposed measures for sustainable mobility follow a simple structure, where existing modes of transport are the core. These are important for Prague's transport network, but some are more suitable for the intended purposes. The differences will be blurred by the implementation of the measures to make them as substitutable as possible and progressively independent on fossil fuels. The transition to low- and zero-emission forms of transport is the unifying line for all projects within the comprehensive Prague Climate Plan.

Renaissance of public transport

„We want to motivate citizens to trust Prague's public transport system more. To show them that it is a reliable, modern, and pleasant way of getting around the metropolis. There is a variety of choice in the types of transport available - our metro is unique on a national scale. Its gradual automation will only further contribute to the growing popularity of this already well-used method of transport.“
FotoPetr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor for the Environment

Prague's public transport system rests on solid foundations and enjoys high public interest. It carries 3.5 million passengers every day. This corresponds to about 40% of the daily passenger transport in the capital. The P+ Plan envisages maintaining this situation until 2030. The Prague Climate Plan is looking for ways to increase it even further. However, a closer look reveals that while some modes of public transport enjoy high and stable popularity, this is far from being the case for others.

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Prague's public transport network possesses a unique type of transport that is unparalleled in the Czech Republic - the metro. With more than 440 million passengers per year, it is the most used means of public transport in the metropolis. The Prague Climate Plan sets out further ways to make metro travel even more efficient, pleasant, and safe. Some projects are already underway - a new metro line D will connect the central part of Prague with other areas on its outskirts, and an extension of line B to the Zličín depot has been launched. Both constructions can be completed by 2030. This will significantly improve transport accessibility for other Prague housing estates and non-residential developments.

The core project is the automation of metro line C. It is a costly project of up to 15 billion CZK, yet it is the most appropriate way to make metro transport faster, more pleasant, and safer for as many Prague residents as possible. It is undoubtedly the most cost-effective solution, precisely because of its popularity. This will be ensured by the Metro with unmanned (driverless) lines, using modern signalling and traffic control technologies.

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Improved safety measures will be realised through associated platform modifications and protective glass will be fitted along their entire length. This will reduce the cost of running the metro compared to the current non-automated operation. According to our calculations, this new transport method will serve over 100 million additional passengers per year. Automation will have another important effect - it will significantly reduce the waiting time between two connections at peak times. This could therefore result in an increase in performance by 20 to 25%.

The situation is similar for the tramway. Some 370 million passengers use this method of transport every year. The extension of the tram network by up to 10 kilometres planned for 2030 will again have an impact on meeting the objectives of the Climate Plan. The number of passengers transported could increase by tens of million annually and surpass the 400 million mark. The needs of commuters from the nearest towns and villages of the Central Bohemian Region will be met by extending tram lines, for example, on the section between Kobylisy and Zdiby. Autonomous tram transport also has significant potential, automation will make it even more accessible and pleasant.

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Buses transport about 400 million people in Prague every year. From August 2021, the effective directive for the purchase of vehicles by public procurement will largely transform the fleet of the Prague Public Transit Company (Dopravní podnik hl. m. Prahy). Prague's public transport services will change significantly. By replacing 1,200 buses with new vehicles utilising hybrid engines, it is aiming for cleaner operations. The introduction of trolleybuses on some routes is also being considered, and a pilot project to use hydrogen buses is underway which, together with the fleet's turn to bio CNG, could become one of the pillars of future public transport in Prague.

The suburban rail network also represents an untapped potential. It services about 120,000 connections per day from villages and towns in the Central Bohemian Region to Prague and back on the S-series lines. This environmentally friendly method of transport could grow twice in size by 2030. The renewal of carriages, new construction and electrification of lines are all prerequisites of this growth. A key project is the railway line to Kladno with a possible branch line to the Václav Havel Airport. This may be followed by modernisation and electrification of the lines to Beroun, Všetaty, Dobříš (“Posázaví Pacific”) or Hostivice (“Prague’s Semmering”). A more pleasant environment for passengers will be ensured by the related necessary reconstruction of Prague railway stations and the provision of more services. This could increase the number of passengers carried by up to 25 million.

Popularisation of non-motorised transport

„It would be naive to think that Prague residents will start cycling en masse to the extent that they do in Copenhagen or Amsterdam, for example. On the other hand, it must be said that even if they wanted to, they do not currently have the conditions to do so. This should change - the key is to build a unified and interconnected network of cycling paths. Cycling should be a viable alternative to walking.“
FotoTomáš Voříšek, Head of the Sustainable Mobility Working Group

Compared to other European metropolises, Prague residents incorporate cycling significantly less into their daily lives. They account for only 1% of non-motorised transport (27% of total transport). All the rest is on foot. Cycling is highly desirable for the city's Climate Change targets due to its zero CO2 emissions. The ideal is to increase the percentage of Prague residents on bicycles to at least 3% by 2030, while the potential is estimated at up to 7% in the summer months and 5% in the off-season.

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A prerequisite for this is building new bicycle lane infrastructure, which is crucial for increasing the motivation of residents to cycle. This should start with the modification of the existing A1 and A2 core bicycle routes, separating them from roads and motorways to make them safer. Surfaces and connections to these core routes should also be improved. A new route A3 should be created according to the Prague Cycle Route Master Plan, connecting Hostivař and Smíchov, A4 connecting Pankrác and Jižní Město, A5 connecting Dolní Počernice and Nádraží Vršovice, A6 connecting the planned Bubny-Zátory district and the town of Kladno in the Central Bohemia Region, and A9 connecting Libeň and Horní Počernice.

Core cycling routes should be built following generalised rules - by separating them from other modes of transport, limiting speed to 30 km/h, and by adjusting road markings to ensure that the two-way cycle routes are permeable to the road network. The aim is to link the cycle paths into a single network of interconnected cycle routes.

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That is why we are seeking consensus among citizens, city districts, and city organisations, investors, and developers. Good practice in the approach to cycling development should be uniform and beneficial to all. It also requires changes to some legislation and strengthening the powers of the City Hall to provide it with a freer hand in choosing appropriate rules. Following the example of other European cities, a special financial plan should be created with 5 to 6 billion CZK used only to finance the development of the urban cycling network.

The availability of bicycle racks is also necessary. The so-called B+R parking at stations and public transport stops needs to be expanded with new racks, bike boxes, as well as storage sheds in appropriate places. It will be more beneficial for the transport sector if residents do not have to spend valuable time searching for a place to safely store their bicycle, and we hope this will also have a motivational effect.

Economic tools to motivate drivers

„The aim of the debates on the introduction of tolls is not to restrict the lives of Prague’s residents. It is primarily a tool to improve the air quality and the quality of life in the city centre. Everyone will be allowed to enter, but vehicles will be charged according to the level of pollution. Revenue neutrality will ensure that all revenues will be spent on the further development of sustainable mobility, and dynamic pricing will relieve the congested transport network, especially during peak periods.“
FotoPetr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor for the Environment

If we strive for a cleaner and healthier metropolis with high standards for the quality of life, higher costs are unavoidable. Unfortunately, this is even more true in the field of sustainable mobility. The volume of traffic in Prague has increased steadily over the last two decades, and although this trend is slowing down, it has not been enough to meet the City's Climate Commitment.

Paid parking zones (ZPS) as a tool to economically motivate drivers have proven their worth. The aim is to reduce the number of short car journeys across one parking zone. Currently, the ZPS cover basically the whole territory of the extended city centre, and the territory of some peripheral city districts. The extent of these will be adapted as appropriate to the area.

ZPS are primarily intended to reduce the negative trends of the so-called visitor traffic and static traffic. The fee varies depending on the length of time the person is issued, whether they are a senior citizen, a medical restriction card holder, a resident, or a visitor. We want to encourage everyone to use alternative, primarily low- and zero-emission forms of transportation. Drivers of electric and hybrid cars are already at an advantage.

We want to continue developing this system. In addition to the extension of the ZPS to other districts, we are planning to reduce the already established ZPS so that people do not use cars for short trips within their boundaries and make use of bicycles or walking paths instead. An incentive may also be the dependency of the fee amount on factors such as the EURO emission class and monitoring of emissions per kilometre travelled, which would place long-term permit holders at an advantage. Companies can be led by issuing parking permits according to the purchase of Lítačka cards and coupons for public transport. However, parking in the city will become more expensive, so as to ensure that at least 10% of free parking spaces are always available, including more rigorous enforcement of fines for parking violations.

Based on the results of a feasibility study, the Prague Toll System (PMS) is another effective tool for improving air quality and preventing pollutants from exceeding emission limits. Everyone will be allowed to enter the centre of the city under the PMS system, but vehicles will be charged according to the level of pollution they produce. At the same time, it is a smart solution that will reduce transit through the city and contribute to lowering the intensity and increasing the flow of traffic. Its introduction is conditional on the adoption of the corresponding accompanying legislation at the national level.

The future toll system will be revenue neutral. All revenues from toll collection will lead to the further development of sustainable mobility (e.g. building charging stations for electric mobility, development and modernisation of public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, etc.) and are not intended to incur additional revenue for the city. On the contrary, the toll system should improve the air quality in the most exposed central part of the city, reduce pollutant emissions from transport, and improve the quality of life.

The most suitable model so far seems to be the Zonal System with elements of dynamic pricing, which would allow the toll fees to reactively change over time and economically motivate drivers to drive outside of peak traffic hours. This will have a positive effect on faster, more efficient, and more attractive public transport, which will become a more important part of the lifestyle of Prague’s residents and visitors.

Electromobility and other sustainable forms of passenger transport

„The growing demand for electric and other alternative fuel vehicles is a current trend that no well-meaning local government should ignore. But at the same time, it must bear in mind both the city's own vehicle fleet and the incentive function it can play in relation to the residents. Charging facilities in Prague are inadequate - now is the right time to start doing something about it.“
FotoTomáš Voříšek, Head of the Sustainable Mobility Working Group

By 2030, up to 30% of Prague's total traffic should be covered by low- and zero-emission fuels, which will lead to a reduction in emissions. Europe is moving towards e-mobility, car manufacturers are expanding their range of models. Such thinking is in line with the Green Deal for Europe, as the European Union is also coming up with regulations that require the use of so-called clean vehicles. This applies especially to public procurers, and Prague is no exception.

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The larger idea is linked to a transition towards sustainable fuels and the desire to focus on the most used modes of transport. Of course, city organisations with many vehicles in their fleet - especially the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP), Prague Services (PSAS) and Prague Water Supply and Sewerage Company (PVK). All of them will be affected by the new requirements of the European Directive, as a result of which they will replace a certain percentage of their vehicles with low- and zero-emission types. For M1, M2 and N1 vehicles this is to be 29.7% by 2030, and 11% for N2 and N3 lorries.

Bus transport will undergo the most significant change, with up to 60% of the DPP fleet to be replaced by 2030. The average age of buses is kept below 10 years, which means that the entire fleet of 1,200 buses will be renewed. A purchase of 600 "clean" buses, powered by an electric or a hybrid engine combining electric drive with a conventional combustion engine is currently planned. The rest of the fleet should be at least "partially clean", utilising biofuels, hydrogen, natural gas, or LPG. The specific steps are outlined in the Strategy for Support of Alternative Fuels of the Prague Public Transit Company. It envisages setting similar rules for suburban transport operators after they are implemented within the DPP.

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The PSAS fleet is already partially emission-free. There are 130 vehicles, about 15% powered by compressed biogas. The new PSAS internal regulations may set a date for the purchase of only low or zero emission vehicles. A great potential is embedded in the use of biomethane, produced from food and biological waste, partially stemming from the biogas plant project. By 2030, most of the remaining 400 PSAS cars could be replaced, and the city management foresees similar requirements for cleaning service providers. The use of "clean" vehicles should become part of tender documentation issued by the City Hall, its subordinate organisations, and city districts.

This is not the end of Prague's journey towards sustainability. We cannot achieve the desired results without the involvement of the public. Participation will rise as the coverage of the city with charging stations for electric vehicles increases. With over 100,000 vehicles registered in Prague every year, this would mean over 1.2 million vehicles between 2021 and 2030. The current trend, given the innovations in the automotive industry, points to a 40-50% share of cars with hybrid or purely electric engines, which will be welcome for travel within the metropolis in 2030.

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Public charging capacities are insufficient and electric car owners depend on their "home" stations. The city administration is therefore planning a project for a unified network of charging stations. Today, publicly accessible garages and P+R car parks have a capacity of 10-15,000 spaces, while car parks in housing estates, shopping centres, and municipal or state institutions increase this capacity several times over. The city can also regulate the price of electricity to meet its climate targets. Citizens can save money through free charging or a lower electricity price that the city can offer. The goal is to have between 5-10,000 charging stations in the capital by 2025, and the number may increase further by 2030.

A special chapter is the electrification of passenger transport on the Vltava River, which should be serviced by dozens of charging stations on Prague's embankments.

There are also other options - the city plans to create regulations that will motivate entrepreneurs and companies to renew their vehicle fleets. It is exploring the possibility of building "charging hubs" - places with 5, 10, or 15 charging stations. Hydrogen mobility also has a future potential. The first hydrogen station in Prague should be operational this year, with several other pilot projects to follow. Development is expected especially in the area of freight and rail transport. The city management also wants to demonstrate the benefits of emission-free vehicles by cooperating with shared transport service providers, developing car sharing, motorcycles, electric bikes or scooters, "on demand" public transport systems, and "mobility-as-a-service".

Sustainable air transport

„Very few transport segments have been as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as air transport. But the unfortunate situation has given us an opportunity for reflection, and the aviation industry seems to be moving towards more sustainable operations. The Prague City Hall appreciates these efforts and would like to support them in cooperation with the Václav Havel Airport. Sustainable air transport should not be at a fundamental disadvantage compared to fossil fuel dependent air transport.“
FotoPetr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor for the Environment

The city does not have many options when it comes to air travel. It accounts for around 2% of emissions, but it can still contribute to fulfilling the climate commitment - the COVID-19 pandemic has created conditions calling for a new approach.

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The city can contribute to the sustainability of air transport primarily through promoting new technologies based on these principles. The City Hall, in cooperation with the Václav Havel Airport, is offering discounted airport fees for airlines using such technologies and offering incentives to passengers travelling with them. In the quest for a carbon-neutral metropolis, no percentage is insignificant.

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