A new culture of urban mobility could soon become a reality in the capital with the first phase of the tram network in the greater Nicosia region on the cards, depending on the findings of a feasibility study, Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at a conference on sustainable mobility that dealt with current and projected public transport systems in urban areas, focusing on, urban management, urban rail networks and intelligent transport systems.
"The ministry has expanded its activity as concerns mobility, with the development of public transport, design of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists and the examination of the possibility and sustainability of creation of urban rail transport between towns but also of a tram network within cities," said Mitsopoulos.
He added that what is needed is a holistic approach through the promotion of development and implementation of Urban Mobility Sustainable Plans for every town and the upgrading and modernising of design standards. This can be done through the introduction of a more anthropocentric approach that will aim at also fundamentally improving road safety for vulnerable users.
Mitsopoulos said Cyprus needed to cultivate a new culture of urban mobility by reducing car use and reallocating road space by giving priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
In view of the challenging financial crisis the minister said sustainable mobility is the most suited for the times, as the actions for its implementation require fewer resources, serve the needs of more people, help restart the economy and greatly improve quality of life.
"The Communications Ministry contributes to the government's efforts for development through the preparation of a set of actions that target sustainable mobility which have been submitted for co-funding by the EU Cohesion Funds for the period 2014-2020."
These actions include the implementation of the Integrated Mobility Action plan for Nicosia and the development of similar plans for other towns.
The possible introduction of a tram network for Nicosia is also being considered, depending on the findings of the feasibility study with the agreement to be signed soon.
Another important area being developed in the last few years in Cyprus is Intelligent Transport Systems.
The minister mentioned that the Public Works Department recognises the importance of use of technology in transport systems and conducted the EU-funded strategic plan for development of these systems in 2009.
Since then, it has moved on the creation of a control centre of these systems while the department also participates in two actions of the Cross-border Cooperation Programme "Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013", under the acts of "Diavlos" and "Prodromos".
The conference was co-funded by the Diavlos Act.