Well-developed Public Transport Makes Cities Liveable
How does public transport raise the quality of life? How is it becoming a source of economic growth and allowing for new jobs to be created in cities? These questions and more were discussed during an HSE lecture by the Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), Alain Flausch, who was awarded the title of HSE Honorary Professor.
Before being elected UITP Secretary General in 2011, Mr Flausch served more than 10 years as the head of STIB, the main transport company of Brussels which was not only modernised under his leadership, but also significantly expanded its number of clients. The number of people who use public transport in the Brussels region more than doubled. Flausch, who might be called an inspired propagandist of public transport, was able to achieve such stunning results at UITP as well. The Director of HSE’s Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy Studies, Mikhail Blinkin, comments: ‘In these four years, dozens of cities around the world saw the proportion of public transport in overall carriage increase, while the automobilisation of society has fallen.’
Professor Flausch’s thesis might be formulated as such: a properly planned and convenient public transport system makes a city liveable. Several cities, including Vienna, were able to understand this 40 years ago when they made public transport a priority and became some of the most attractive cities in the world to live in. ‘Getting around Moscow is a constant source of irritation. If something isn’t done about this, then the city will become uninhabitable,’ he says.
The Moscow metro has launched a big educational project ‘Hello, Moscow!’ (Priviet, Moskva!). This will turn the Moscow transport system into a ‘guide’, telling the passengers about the city in various contexts, and making the everyday commute a more useful and interesting journey. The project creators include HSE staff and alumna.
More traffic jams and better public transport may force Moscow's motorists to leave their cars at home, suggest the findings of a recent study 'Dealing with Traffic Jams in Moscow: Factors Influencing the Choice of Private vs. Public Transport'.