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Transforming Community Mobility

European communities urgently need to escape dependence on using fossil fuels for mobility

Burning fossil fuels creates air and climate pollution. Buying fossil fuels sucks wealth out of communities and ends up funding extreme corporate profits, oligarchies and totalitarian regimes – causing insidious inequalities and conflicts in the process. Production and transport of fossil fuels creates recurring and persistent ecological harm.

Communities that rapidly escape fossil fuel dependence will be cleaner, healthier, wealthier and fairer – while reducing the wider harm that they cause socially and ecologically.

Mobility systems still remain the most difficult area for most communities to make a radical move away from fossil fuels. While an accelerating shift to electric vehicles is happening, there are still no real examples of communities achieving a radical shift to new systems that meet everyone’s mobility needs without fossil fuels. Thriving Communities works to create experiments and demonstrations of a such radical shifts.

Communities have a need for both local and longer-distance travel, for both people and goods/materials. We focus on making a radical shift within local community mobility systems, so that fossil fuels are not required within a defined community area. This will still require careful consideration and integration with ways to meet longer-distance mobility needs beyond the community area.

While working on fossil-fuel free mobility, we will also aim to address the enormous inefficiencies that are locked into the private vehicle ownership of individuals and companies. Most private vehicles spend 95% of their life parked – consuming space, sunk financial capital and materials. An average car in Europe costs about EUR 30k and its production results in greenhouse gas emissions of about 8 tonnes of CO2e. An average carpark is about 10m2 – space that is usually undervalued in the public realm and will be worth EUR 20k or more in most buildings. Most of these important resources are therefore wasted in the current system. A more efficient mobility system that didn’t require private cars would free all of these resources to be put to better use. This rebalancing is also likely to be vital to the viability of new mobility systems.

So, our vision is to create radical new community mobility systems that do not require fossil fuels or private vehicles, and to demonstrate the viability and benefits of such systems.

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