Groningen is the largest municipality and economic engine of the Northern Netherlands. With more than 230,000 inhabitants, 140,000 jobs, 100,000 students en 180,000 people coming from the region every day to Groningen, their core business is organising the accessibility of the city with an integrated transport system. The basis is a cohesive system of direct and attractive walking routes, safe fast and comfortable cycling connections, high-quality public transport and a car network with sufficient capacity. Their starting point is “On foot, by bicycle or by public transport if possible, by car if necessary”.
As a successful applicant for the EU’s Climate Neutral Cities Mission, Groningen has high ambitions for decarbonisation. Already 2/3 of travel is conducted by bike, and by 2025 all new buses will be zero emission a goal supported by a comprehensive public charging plan and active mobility infrastructure.
Decarbonising city logistics is also high on the agenda. By 2035, Groningen wants all logistics transport flows within the municipality to be zero emissions. The city is exploring which measures in shopping centres, residential areas and villages have the potential to stimulate and accelerate the transition to ZE logistics in these areas- an ambition supported by the city’s participation in the UlaaDs Project.
Last year the city published their new SUMP, which embarks on a major street space reallocation programme. This was combined with a stakeholder led process, which engaged the local community, asking them what they wanted their streets to look like.
Peer to Peer collaboration is at the heart of how the city works. As part of the Northern Netherlands group of cities, they boast a strong partnership, particularly for mobility planning; and the research identified capacity for further collaborative working on gender equity. Indeed, as chair of the POLIS SMC Platform, the Northern Netherlands invests heavily in cooperation forums and mechanisms.
“Exchanging knowledge and experiences and inspiring each other is central, we have explored our shared mobility ambitions and the challenges we are tackling,” said Philip Broeksma, Vice Mayor of Groningen, speaking at a recent POLIS meeting in the city.
The city is also very active within European projects and research. Groningen is involved in a wide range of innovative European Projects, including the Smart City Lighthouse Project ‘Making City’ and several projects on the uptake of hydrogen.