City Of Tomorrow

Accelerated pace of urbanization, migration from villages to towns, overloaded traffic, time spent in traffic jams, irregular public transportation and chaotic developments are the reality in the cities targeted by our project. Three post-Soviet capitals, namely Tbilisi, Chisinau and Kyiv, face common problems and challenges. We met with responsible officials, civil activists and talked with locals in all three cities, and the result we have gathered is different opinions.

Underground Transport – Metro

Just like in other metropolises, the Metro system is the main backbone of the transportation system in the post-Soviet area. The Metro is the fastest, most flexible and comfortable mode of transportation in urban areas. Despite its effective functioning, the question still remains: do these cities fully utilize the potential of underground transport? The construction of new lines is very expensive for the economies of developing countries.

According to 2016 data, the Tbilisi Metro transports about 289,000 passengers a day; however, currently it is in second place in terms of its popularity rating, lagging behind buses.

Giorgi Babunashvili from an Urban Laboratory NGO believes that the Tbilisi Metro currently serves a peak number of passengers and it has no resources left for increasing passenger flows without the taking of certain steps.

Giorgi Babunashvili believes that expanding the Metro network or acquiring new carriages is currently impossible for a country like Georgia.

The most streamlined mode of transportation in the Ukrainian capital is the Metro, just like in Tbilisi. Three subway lines cover approximately two thirds of Kyiv's districts. According to transport planning expert Dmytro Bespalov, the Metro is the fastest and most effective mode of transportation in Kyiv.

Overloaded and problematic city transportation is not unfamiliar for Chisinau either; however, the Metro is not to be blamed for this, because the capital of Moldova has never had an underground transport system. Chisinau’s population has never approached million (neither during the Soviet period nor now). Therefore, nobody even considered the possibility of building a Metro system here.

Sociologist and journalist Vitalie Sprinceana believes that spending funds on building a Metro in modern day Chisinau would not be justified.

Light Rail Transit

The addition of new modes of transportation is necessary in order to change people’s transport habits. Experts believe that along with modernization of underground transportation, the introduction and development of surface railway transportation is needed too.

The Avchala Tram Depot was operational in 1978-2006. Similar ruins can be found in several districts of Tbilisi. The last tram line (Didube-Avchala) was closed down in 2006 in Tbilisi. The reintroduction of trams is not planned in the capital.

Beka Ninikuri from a Tbilisi Tram NGO says that the light rail transit is the most optimal mode of transport in terms of speed, energy efficiency, bandwidth and from an environmental point of view.

“Initially trams could connect the large suburbs with the nearest Metro stations and during the second stage of the network’s development trams would move to the downtown area.”

Like in Tbilisi, there’s no tram network in Chisinau.

Vitalie Sprinceana believes that the transportation system needs to be reworked completely and the priority should be electric transportation, which will make efficient and eco-friendly movement within the city possible.

The situation is different in Ukraine’s capital. Trams are an important part of Kyiv’s transportation system. A representative of “Kyivpastrans”, municipal transportation company, says the city needs to develop environmentally friendly transport.

Bicycle – An Inexpensive Mode of Transport

Main Advantages of Bicycles:

  • Relieving the city of traffic jams;
  • Environmentally-friendly mode of transport;
  • Healthy lifestyle;

In all three capitals the bicycle infrastructure is mainly formal and fragmented. Only a small fraction of the population uses bicycles as transport.

Tamaz Tikanadze from the Tbilisi Bicycle Enthusiasts Club says Tbilisi’s roads are only adapted to cars.

Despite the particularities of Tbilisi’s terrain, Tikanadze believes that building a bicycle infrastructure in most districts of Tbilisi and integrating bikes into the public transport system are possible

Bicycles are also unpopular as modes of transportation in Chisinau, with less than 1% of the population using them for transportation.

Vitalie Sprinceana believes that there are comprehensive reasons for the infrequent use of bikes, the most important of which is the lack of infrastructure.

Just like in Tbilisi and Chisinau, the bicycle infrastructure is underdeveloped in Kyiv too. There are no uninterrupted bicycle lanes and the relevant traffic signs, which make riding a bike a risky business. According to Dmytro Bespalov, the authorities should take steps to ensure better traffic safety.

In accordance with this part of our project, problems with urban areas and ways to improve and solve those issues are common in all three cities. Comfortable, affordable and safe transport becomes more difficult on a day to day basis due to urban problems, increasing population and transport volumes. The majority of the population prefers to use their own transport, which increases the number of private cars in the city and quickens the expected transport collapse.

In order to improve the situation, the effective management of passenger flows, modernization and development of the Metro network, light rail transits and bicycle infrastructure are necessary due to their eco-friendly effect. They also promote the unburdening of traffic jams, but this is not a simple process. Along with financial resources, political will and public involvement are necessary to transform transportation networks.

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