International Bus Conference speakers share their thoughts: Oleksandra Sladkova of the Institute of Spatial Development

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This year, UITP will once again join forces with our collaborators at Busworld to host the International Bus Conference 2019 (Brussels, 21-23 October) – the world’s biggest event dedicated to the bus.

There are many interesting and important developments happening within the bus sector and to place a much-welcomed spotlight on the industry, UITP began our “Story of the Bus” journey this summer, marking 100 days until the sector embarks in Brussels.

Setting off from UITP in July, we have informed and updated the sector on the latest innovations and advancements with the release of five brand new bus publications.

Now, as we make the final part of our journey towards our Conference, we’re stopping off at the side of the road to meet and greet a selection of our international speakers and panellists…

We started getting to know our speakers with Renée Amilcar, Executive Director of Bus for Societe De Transport De Montreal and Chair of the UITP Bus Division, a Vice President of UITP and member of UITP’s Executive Board…

Then we met Johan Holstein, Development Executive for Arriva, London, UK, Antonio Manuel Domingues Pires, COO/CTO of Carris, Lisbon, Portugal and then Amos Haggiag, CEO and co-founder of Optibus in Israel.

Up next is Oleksandra Sladkova, Head of Urbanistics Department, at the Institute of Spatial Development, Lviv, Ukraine.  

Oleksandra, within your role at the Institute of Spatial Development in Lviv, Ukraine, you work on implementing modern European approaches to spatial planning in the city. We all know how important street renovation and proper infrastructure is for public transport. What are you working on right now?    

Since the establishment of The Institute of Spatial Development in 2016 we have developed dozens of designs for the rehabilitation of streets and public spaces. Not all of them have been implemented, but most of them contribute to the quality of public transport and it`s accessibility for citizens. Among the projects, which are currently in progress are Chernivetska Street – the only access to main train station, where we physically separate tram lines, bus lanes and traffic lanes as well as the broad pedestrian passage, to increase reliability of public transport for those who are using public transport to get to or from the  railway station. On Uhorska Street we are working closely with developers of office complexes to establish good quality of bus stops without bays and with no possibilities to overtake buses staying on stop. On Videnska Street my team is redesigning classical two lane one way street with bus bay and no established parking places into streets with clearly defined space for all types of mobility. Much different projects is the elaboration of Sustainable Urban Development plan for the city of Lviv, where I am part of interdisciplinary working group of city administration employees and external experts.

As an international association, UITP always likes to bring news from around the world to our global audience. What can you tell us about urban mobility in Lviv, that our readers may not know?     

As for an average EU city, Lviv has quite a good modal split (52% public transport usage and only 23% car usage based on 2019 mobility survey), but for my perception it is caused mostly not by efforts of the city, but by soviet heritage, when cars were a luxury, which only few people could have. With economic growth car ownership is increasing, and one of tasks for the city is to untie car ownership from economic growth. Quite untypical for Western Europe, we have 67 years long history of zero emission buses operation in addition to 125 years of electric tram network existence. Thanks to launch of first trolleybus route in 1952 we currently poses not only 8 trolleybus routes, but also more than 110 km of charging infrastructure for future less catenary dependent electric buses. One more typical for Lviv as well as for many other cities problem is introduced in 1990ties concept, according to which each bus shall bring profit generated by tickets sold for each additional kilometer of operation, what caused lite influence of city over bus operators in route planning and scheduling, what cause competition between different bus routes on “popular” routes and lack of service on “unpopular” routes and neighborhoods.

“Unlike many other positions, in Lviv most of the tram and trolleybus drivers are women…women tram and trolleybus drivers are the people who are proud to operate public transport...

Do you have a favourite project that you have worked on? Is there a specific part of the city you are most proud to have contributed change to?

The project I am most proud of is the Dvirtseva Square rehabilitation, which would be the topic of my presentation. However if you mention not the project but part of city, it is a central part of Lviv, where a chain of pedestrian-only streets is being implemented since 2016 in accordance with the concept which I created.

We know that the public transport sector doesn’t have the best track record on the amount of women working in the field. The needle is moving on this and UITP is committed to working on advancing access for women in our industry. From your own viewpoint, where is the sector on this right now? What needs to be done to encourage more women to choose a career in urban mobility?

Unlike many other positions, in Lviv most of the tram and trolleybus drivers are women. Moreover they are kind of local sub culture, which I would be happy to research once. Woman tram and trolleybus drivers are the people who are proud to operate public transport and by their appearance we can say that they are very responsible for what their passengers will see in the windshield of the tram approaching to the stop. To encourage more women to choose careers in mobility, we should switch from speaking about public or private transport to mobility as whole, because transportation issues are still more perceived as “manly” area. This is still the issue when the appointment on managerial positions is being done, when even under better compliance to job description, men are hired.

Quite untypically for Western Europe, we (Lviv) have 67 years long history of zero emission buses operation in addition to 125 years of electric tram network existence...

And finally, you will participate on our Parallel Session “Station and Depot Development” discussing the renovation of Railway Station square in Lviv. Can you give us an insight into what you will discuss?

I will try to share my experience and give insights on how, in a strongly car-oriented society, to turn highly car-oriented space into space inviting you to use public transport, to walk, simply to stay and enjoy surroundings.

A huge thank you to Oleksandra for her time and wise words! 


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