Transport Advisory Project Brings Quick, Lasting Wins for Sustainable Mobility in Tbilisi
December 11, 2020
CDIA held a virtual workshop on November 26, 2020 to mark the culmination of its advisory project that supported Tbilisi’s shift to sustainable mobility.
“The results [of CDIA’s support] have really been a unique and helpful experience,” said Tbilisi Deputy Mayor Andria Basilaia during the workshop. “The team was not only able to implement policy issues and make some really fundamental changes in how the City of Tbilisi approach mobility, transport and urban development, but it has gone beyond that to [include] practical things.”
Under its Consultancy Services for the Tbilisi City Hall Transport Department Advisory Project, which ran from January to November 2020 in Georgia’s capital, CDIA provided a range of advisory support to the Tbilisi Transport Agency (TA) on transport policy development issues and built the capacity of the agency on transport planning and design.
“Capacity development is a key driver of this project,” said CDIA’s Urban Development Specialist Fabienne Perucca, who managed the initiative. “Through technical advices, webinars and day to day on-the-job training, we worked to build the capacity of the TA staff so they can manage the process of developing the bus priority measures and operationalize the city’s new bus strategic network.”
At the final workshop, CDIA’s Team Leader and Urban Transport Advisor Mark Sellin presented his team’s work to upgrade Tbilisi’s bus network and improve the city’s transport-related operational planning, knowledge development and collaboration with development partners.
The CDIA team worked with the TA staff to plan, design and implement schemes for bus priority, cycle lanes and parking. They trained them to plan the work, use different techniques, test proposals in CAD, and use vehicle tracking and detailed topographical maps.
“The most essential street designs are now mostly done by our local team, and Mark and his team had left adequate knowledge so we can be self-reliant,” said Deputy Mayor Basilaia. “I think it is very important that this project left our team with the capacity to continue doing modern street design.”
CDIA helped design almost half of the bus lanes under Tbilisi’s new strategic network, and those along Pushkin, Baratishvili and Melikishvili Streets, as well as in Vake Park and 26 May Square have been implemented. The new bus lanes now give commuters faster, safer and more reliable transport options.
The city recently purchased a new fleet of buses that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), and CDIA advised the city on the operational planning of the bus routes, and helped identify the most suitable depot for the new fleet.
CDIA also delivered training activities for the TA staff to further enhance their knowledge on transport planning; and policy, contracts and funding.
Recognizing the need to break silos within City Hall’s distinct yet interrelated departments, CDIA further organized webinars on 1) marketing and passenger information, 2) transport and tourism, and 3) transport, greening and infrastructure. These webinars were designed to present best practices and provide the venue for the various departments to exchange on these topics and explore opportunities for joint work.
Tbilisi is now undertaking institutional reforms and based on CDIA’s previous recommendation, the city government converted its Transport Department into a new Transport and Urban Development Agency to create a unified unit responsible for transport and land use planning. The CDIA team advised the city on the roles and structure of the newly created agency.
Furthermore, CDIA has developed 20 technical notes to document the discussions on key operational, infrastructure and technical issues that the team focused on during the course of the project. The team will soon prepare a knowledge product on these notes, so that Tbilisi and other partner cities will be able to use it as a reference material for their transport projects.
Finally, CDIA worked with the team in charge of the preparation of the city’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, as supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). They likewise coordinated with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to ensure that the team who will manage their Urban Mobility Project is ‘brought up to speed.’
The partners have recognized that in less than a year, there has been impact both on the streets and in the methods used by the TA staff, which can open a lot of opportunity.
“I am pleased and impressed with the achievement and spirit of this project” said ADB’s Senior Transport Specialist Bertrand Goalou. “I’m really glad to see this development and the approach, looking at what we sometimes call ‘quick wins’ but they are more than quick wins… they are very meaningful in terms of improving the mobility conditions in Tbilisi.”
Photo during the virtual final workshop: