“Vve – Vers une ville écomobile” or “Towards an Eco-mobility City” is an online self-diagnosis tool for local authorities in France. Launched in April 2020, thanks to the financial support of ADEME, the current version, in french, is aimed at helping localities in France and overseas French territories transition to more environmentally friendly mobility offers in their communities.
The tool, which allows each user to evaluate their locality using simple yet thorough criteria, generates an analysis of the community’s strengths and weaknesses – incorporating not only mobility-related indicators, but also aspects of urban planning, design, and development. VVE promotes the emergence of a common and shared vision on sustainable mobility.
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Changing the system
To become eco-mobile, a community must develop a comprehensive system of travel alternatives to the individual car that are better for the environment, less expensive, safer and more economical, and provide an overall more pleasant living environment for all citizens.
The versatility of the car cannot be replaced solely by the bicycle or by public transport. Only the harmonious combination of all modes of transport (walking, micro-mobility, bicycle or electric bicycle, train and public transport, car-sharing or car-pooling for underserved destinations, etc.) can offer efficient alternatives adapted to different needs. The private car will most likely continue to be used, but not systematically. Therefore, communities must act on all levers simultaneously: from multi-use cases to urban space, from governance to road safety. It is also essential to provide additional support to the least equipped communities in order to facilitate this transition.
A self-diagnostic tool: simple but thorough
The digital VVE tool was designed to specifically target small and medium-sized cities but has been developed to adapt to any type of community. Offering users a global vision through 10 different themes, the tool is meant to cover every aspect of urban space in the consideration of developing a more sustainable mobility offering.
The user first carries out an initial “lightning diagnosis” of the territory by answering one question per theme, which helps him/her to become aware of the diversity of the subjects to be dealt with and the system effects. They then have access to the VVE theme wheel: a simple, fun, and animated interface, which gives the locality a first score. This wheel allows the user to construct a global vision, showing which aspects of the community, based on the responses it has integrated, the weak points of the area in question. The user can then refine his or her diagnosis with the help of some forty additional, more detailed criteria and explore a set of available resources (good examples, key figures, links, funding, etc).
The tool is deliberately aimed at a wide audience without restriction: elected officials, technical service professionals, relevant organizations, or everyday citizens.
Everyone is entitled to carry out and publish their own diagnosis. The analysis is also dated and signed so that it can be submitted to other actors in the community. During the diagnosis, the user can also share a specific criteria or resource with a contact, to help him/her complete their diagnosis or to encourage conversation.
The tool can also be used to create a common understanding and shared vision of the main stakeholders of a community. Even though there is no truly collaborative interface or synthesis feature in the current version of the tool, users can do so of their own initiative or by further collaborating with the tool’s designers.
Genesis of the project and first users
Three partner communities contributed to the inception of the project: the Mobility Syndication of Touraine, the agglomeration of Grand Montauban, and the commune of Les Lilas. These actors were involved from the development of the specifications to the validation stages in order to create a fully operational tool. Many experts in mobility, including those from ADEME, CEREMA, and GART were also consulted so that VVE incorporated the best practices and knowledge on each of its different themes.
In September 2020, VVE received the first prize in the ante-creation category at the METHA Europe competition. This competition, organized during the EVER 2020 exhibition, rewarded the best innovative projects under the theme of the “Sustainable City”.
Since its launch in April 2020, 4000 people have discovered VVE, more than 1000 diagnoses have been carried out in 450 municipalities, and its usage has been favored in particular by mayors, elected officials, and technical specialists including those in charge of mobility, climate, air quality, and energy.
The objective is now to improve the dissemination of the tool and to support its use in order to encourage further sharing of the diagnoses and lessons learned. If the tool proves to be relevant in facilitating the transition of French territories to a more sustainable mobility, it will be developed on an international scale, particularly in Europe, with a more advanced and collaborative version in English.
Next steps: VVE Consulting
To expand the tool, the designers are now offering support to local authorities, with training for elected officials and departments, workshops to include eco-mobility in development projects, and digital consultations with citizens.
Interview with Thomas Moutin, Mobility Project Manager, the agglomeration of Greater Montauban (Occitaine)
According to Thomas, “The idea in our community is to be able, with the VVE tool, to mobilize the experts of different city services whose work is directly related to sustainable mobility policies. However, we are also interested in using to tool to be able assist the municipal team in carrying out their mandate in terms of mobility.
Using VVE collectively with each city service and department will allow us to have a common vision, highlight different perspectives of the existing situation, and carry out a debate on the best ways forward. In that way, the tool allows us to prioritize and set in place the actions that we need to transition.
In terms of promotion and communication, the tool makes it possible to measure the evolution of our own efforts as the municipal mandate progresses and new actions are put in place. We are also interested in engaging with citizens and civil society actors carrying out their own diagnoses with VVE, so that we can evaluate the effectiveness of the actions undertaken by the community in terms of sustainable mobility. With VVE, is it also possible to share the necessary engineering and technical knowledge with sparsely populated areas – those communities or municipalities that may not have a mobility specialist, the time, or resources to participate in network activities. VVE will also be a helpful tool in helping these localities develop a Simplified Mobility Plan.”
To learn more about VVE, you may access the tool online for free (in French) at www.ville-ecomobile.org.