These are just some of the ideas discussed over two days on 12 and 15 November during the meeting between Brasov (Romania), Dresden (Germany) and District 6 of Bucharest (Romania) as part of the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) twinning programme 2021-2022. The CoM twinning programme provides tailored learning opportunities to support local authorities in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In this Twinning, Dresden and Bucharest District 6 came together to learn from Brasov about sustainable mobility, energy efficiency and low carbon living more generally. So, what did Brasov share?
Brasov is piloting EcoTrack App, an app that allows citizens to track their carbon footprint generated by their daily activities such as commutes. By using gamification, the app encourages citizens to switch to a more sustainable behaviour, especially around sustainable mobility options, such as walking, cycling or public transport. The user receives points for social involvement in exchange for their CO2 savings, which he or she can use in the form of tickets to cultural events, etc.
In its first months since operation, the app has already gained 1000 users and provided insight into actions the city can take to support citizens in their low-carbon lifestyle. One such insight points to the need to invest more in Brasov’s cycling infrastructure, as the number of kilometres cycled lies far below those of walking and public transport used.
Brasov’s Metropolitan Transport Association has been implementing several projects to improve transport management in Brasov metropolitan area and reduce transport-related CO2 emissions. From intelligent lighting systems to an intelligent e-bus fleet, through the use of a data-driven approach, the city is fundamentally changing its approach to decision-making. This ongoing data-revolution has had an impact on the public administrations – for instance in moving away from experience/expertise to evidence-based decision making.
Brasov’s Transition Team was created in 2020 with the aim of redesigning public services around the needs of citizens and by involving them in the process. The Team brings together stakeholders including the local public transport company, the local electricity distribution company, the local natural gas company, the regional operator of public water and drainage services, the local waste company, the local environment protection agency, Transylvania University, and a local initiative group consisting of professionals in architecture, communication, technology, sociology and economics. Together, these actors are working to: (1) define the local Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan for 2030, (2) test tools and put in practice innovative methods to involve the civil society at all stages and (3) develop the roadmap to Climate Neutrality in 2050.
Moving forward, our cities will switch roles and partners to continue their learning: Brasov will be partnered with Kecskemet to learn together from Botoșani on district heating; Dresden will be a mentor to Prague to focus on extreme heat and flooding; Bucharest District 6 will work with District 2 to share their expertise of deep retrofitting of public and private buildings.
The Covenant of Mayors twinning programme has the goal of increasing local authorities’ capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change while creating long-term partnerships between European, local and other subnational authorities. For further information on the programme, click here .
*Owing to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, some of the site visits for the 2021-2022 twinning programme were transferred online.