This year's CIVITAS Forum will utilise a hybrid format, combining online and onsite activities. Over the course of its two days, it will continue the tradition of offering interactive workshops, intriguing sessions, and interesting site visits, whilst introducing exciting new programme elements.
These will provide the ideal opportunity to hear from the cities, people and projects driving innovation in smart, inclusive and sustainable mobility, as well as to exchange and connect with city representatives, policymakers, practitioners, planners, NGOs and academics.
The 18th edition of the CIVITAS Initiative's flagship conference focuses on "Smart routes towards climate-neutral cities". This builds on the European Commission's mission to create 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030.
What is the role of mobility and transport in meeting this goal? How do smart mobility and climate-neutral mobility relate to each other? And what do local authorities need - from the private sector, the European Comission, and each other to create the smart and climate-neutral cities we need?
A city of 250,000 people, Aachen is home to four universities and several instititutes, technology companies and start-ups. Since starting in CIVITAS in 2001, it has drawn on this scientific and entrepreneurial knowledge in projects and sat on the CIVITAS Political Advisory Committee. This culminated in its runner-up prize dor the CIVITAS Legacy Award 2020.
Since her election in November 2020, Sibylle Keupen, Aachen's first female Lord Mayor, has focused on clean mobility, as shown by the decision to remove parking for more public space, walking and cycling infrastructure, and trees. In 2019, the city also committed to implement the eight-year cycle infrastructure improvement programme set out of the "Radentscheid Aachen citizen's petition".
Its long engagement in the CIVITAS community, involvement in other EU-funded programmes, and political commitment to sustainable mobility make Aachen an ideal host.
In this medieval city of 'short distances', most locations are walkable. To get people walking, Aachen has developed the EU-funded #AachenMooVe project on inner-city mobility. Its measures form the #AachenMooVe programme. Alongside pedestrianisation, multimodal mobility stations, mobility management for companies, and clean urban freight are on the agenda. A series of priority cycle lanes have also been created.
Aachen's location at the Dutch and Belgian borders gives the city a European character, but also creates challenges on cross-border public transport. Based on cooperation between the Dutch and German national train operators, the project 'euregiobahn' has been a regional success story and enhanced crossbroder connectivity since its inception in 2001. A series of site visits - be they held virtually or in person - will enable participants to discover these and Aachen's other mobility innovations.
The CIVITAS Forum Conference 2021 will be hosted in a hybrid format, which participants can attend either online or on-site, in Aachen, Germany. Given the uncertain situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site attendees must be confident that all health and safety measures will be stringent.
An appropriate hygiene plan is being designed, and regularly updated, in cooperation with the venue provider. The maximum capacity inside the venue will be controlled and will follow up-to-date local pandemic restrictions. All people present onsite at the conference will have to be tested (regardless whether they are fully vaccinated and/or recovered). A testing centre is available at the venue.