At the on-line event on Mobility in Central Macedonia co-organised by ERTICO and the Region of Central Macedonia on Friday 30 October, more than 27 cities and municipalities joined a discussion on Innovation Priorities and Impact.

The event took place under the auspices of the Ministers of Environment and Energy, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis and Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis. Both Ministries are actively involved in enhancing and supporting innovation in mobility in Greece and together with the Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, Mr. Apostolos Tzitzikostas, serving his first term as President of the European Committee of the Regions, they opened this very interesting discussion declaring their full support for the sustainable mobility solutions that the country is focussing on for the future.

The Region of Central Macedonia and ERTICO partner, the city of Thessaloniki closely cooperated with ERTICO in preparing the event by consulting with Mayors in the region via a survey on sustainable mobility solutions, assessing prospects for electro mobility infrastructure and enquiring about the immediate mobility priorities for  cities. The feedback collected will form the basis of a report that ERTICO and the Regional authorities of Central Macedonia will be publishing towards the end of the year.

ERTICO partners holding the role of innovation stakeholders in the Region, such as ICCS, CERTH and the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki had the opportunity to discuss with the General Secretariat on Spatial Planning and Urban Environment from the Ministry, some of the preliminary results of this survey. ERTICO Chairman, Dr. Angelos Amditis, who moderated this panel discussion, stated:

‘Important actions, so as to promote electromobility, were discussed by the Ministry representatives, with several stakeholders and local mayors of the region, offering the chance for a good exchange of opinions and ideas, and for identifying priorities. This was an important step towards innovation, as cities need to better understand the opportunities and benefits innovation in mobility brings to the quality of citizens’ life as a whole, before embracing European and National funded innovation programmes.’

Micro-mobility and bicycle routes have also been identified as part of the set of actions to be supported by the Ministry of Environment and Energy for smart cities in the Region, aligning with the measures currently active in most European cities. The popularity of promoting micro-mobility and bicycles use in Europe, may have come as a result of urban measures to mitigate crowding in the use of mass transport at the threat of the recent pandemic, but have already been on the rise as a measure taken by urban centres in an attempt to mitigate traffic and its negative effects on the environment.

ERTICO partner, the municipality of Trikala, closing the panel discussion, identified the important message that all municipalities should take away at the end of this half-day event: ‘preparing your city for innovation means that one should be open to new ideas, open to risk taking and ready to cooperate. Opening cities to innovation requires raising awareness with citizens and users about  projects that  aim for innovation goals that initially seem unattainable. If you do not try, you will not succeed and partnering with international networks, such as the ERTICO partnership can help make this process more secure for taking these risks,’ stated the CEO of e-Trikala, Odysseas Raptis.

ERTICO has committed to provide support to the cities and Municipalities of Central Macedonia in both further informing them and supporting innovative ideas and projects on smart mobility.