Covenant of Mayors
  Covenant Coordinators & Supporters November 2013  
How the birthplace of the automotive industry became a champion in sustainable mobility
{{{Interview with Thomas S. Bopp, Chairman of the Stuttgart Region.}}} In a region that is traditionally known as the heart of the automotive industry, every effort is made to support sustainable development notably through an ambitious and integrated mobility strategy.

The City of Stuttgart and neighbouring towns from the region are benefitting from a 50% co-funding for action in this field, with the city itself having developed the biggest electric car-sharing fleet system in the world !

As Mr Bopp explains in this exclusive interview with the Covenant of Mayors Office, the overall development programme promoted by the region is based on the three wining cornerstones of job-creating innovation ; climate protection and inclusive, sustainable mobility.

How does the Stuttgart Region support municipalities in meeting their Covenant of Mayors commitments ?

Reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as achieving a significant shift in the modal split in support of eco-mobility can only happen regionally and by engaging local stakeholders. With its directly elected parliament, the Stuttgart Region has come up with answers and is regarded nationwide as a model of regional governance. Twice honoured by the European Commission with the awards of excellence for “Innovative Regions” and “Innovation Transfer”, we are working on a far-sighted and sustainable development blueprint for our the region. Our overall strategy focuses on the triangle of creating jobs and promoting innovation, protecting the climate and open spaces, and delivering an efficient mobility every population group can benefit from.

With its own planning and financing functions, we are also in a position to provide incentives to local authorities / public bodies through funding schemes. The Stuttgart Region sees itself as a partner of the municipalities and champions better utilisation of public infrastructures.

The Stuttgart Region has set up a regional programme from 2012 to 2016 totalling € 7.5 million and focusing on sustainable mobility which is quite unique. Municipalities, local authorities, associations and others can obtain co-funding of up to 50 per cent of their project costs when establishing innovative and connective actions in and between municipalities in the field of sustainable mobility. These projects cover car-sharing, pedelec or e-bike rental, electric vehicles and intermodal services. As a result, outstanding savings in CO2 emissions, significant changes in the modal split (shifting individual car trafic towards public transport), and job creation have helped in transforming the former automotive region into a highly appreciated mobility hub with modern services and cutting-edge approaches. The city of Stuttgart with its approximate 600,000 inhabitants currently has more than 400 e-smarts (car2go scheme run by Daimler), making it the biggest electric car-sharing fleet worldwide.

Could you provide some figures on employment opportunities and overall economic activity associated with the implementation of the regional programme you just mentioned ?

In the scope of the first three calls for proposals supported by our regional programme which started in autumn 2012, some 18 projects were initiated with a funding level of € 3.1 million. As the co-funding rate is 50 per cent maximum of the project costs, nearly the same amount is contributed by the applicants, including local authorities, associations, companies and other public bodies. Considering that some projects include funding for new infrastructures (e.g. rental stations for pedelecs), our regional programme has until now allowed us to directly generate some 20 full-time equivalent jobs, while another 20 are expected to be created. We anticipate that the same level of employment opportunities will be created on top of this in the area of services, e.g. architects, consultants, agencies and media.

What do you think are the key success factors of this unique programme ?

Due to its climatic conditions, geographical location in a valley and position as employment hub providing some 1,400, 000 jobs, individual traffic by car still prevails in the Stuttgart region, causing many problems. This explains why it is indispensable to promote public transport and sustainable mobility, not only for the city of Stuttgart, but also in the neighbouring towns. Although there is sometimes competition between those municipalities, they share a strong interest in solving the traffic problems jointly through modern technologies. The opportunity to get up to 50 per cent co-funding for their costs on regional level is unique, and our local authorities are eager to benefit from this development. They seek to become front-runners of sustainable, future-oriented mobility in order to attract young families, investors and money for infrastructure. At the same time, interactions between public bodies, the local industry, universities, chambers of commerce and the population are intensified. An excellent example of a win-win situation. This is why the Stuttgart Region decided to set up this programme.

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  The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the Covenant of Mayors Office. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The Covenant of Mayors was set up with financial support of the European Commission and consists of five associations of European local authorities: Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, CEMR, Fedarene, and ICLEI Europe.

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