Promoting a sustainable cruise ship sector for the Mediterranean region

The EU-funded LOCATIONS project is working to increase the economic benefits that cruise tourism brings to the Mediterranean region’s coastal communities while reducing the negative impact it has on urban mobility and the environment.

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The LOCATIONS project is addressing the impact cruise ship passengers have on urban mobility and the environment in the places they come ashore. ©Rodolfo Riccamboni 2017 The LOCATIONS project is addressing the impact cruise ship passengers have on urban mobility and the environment in the places they come ashore. ©Rodolfo Riccamboni 2017

" From my point of view, the LOCATIONS project is making people aware that achieving environmental quality, land transformation and modal split promotion requires everyone’s participation and joint work. Our territory can meet everybody’s needs with an improved use of its assets: routes and itineraries that lead people to a sustainable exploration of our area. "

Nicola Scanferla, Municipality of Ravenna, project partner

For the Mediterranean region, cruise ship tourism can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the ships bring substantial economic advantages to their ports of call and surrounding areas. On the other hand, the huge number of passengers they carry can wreak havoc on the towns, overwhelming their transportation systems and overrunning the quaint neighbourhoods many residents call home.

With the cruise industry expected to exceed 25 million passengers worldwide in the coming years, the impact that cruise ship passengers have on urban mobility and the environment must be addressed.

The EU-funded LOCATIONS project aims to do exactly that – striking a balance between boosting the economic advantages of cruise ship tourism while simultaneously mitigating the negative impact the sector has on the environment and urban mobility. To accomplish this, the project is helping public administrations draft low-carbon transport and mobility plans (LCTPs). By improving cruise-related passengers and freight flows, the project aims to decongest city traffic and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A long-term vision

An LCTP provides a city with a long-term vision for urban transportation. It addresses both climate change and development using an integrated transport and land-use planning process. All elements of urban transport are covered under a planning process that recognises the two-way relationship between available mobility and an individual’s desire to move.

The LOCATIONS project developed and implemented LCTPs in seven pilot port cities: Lisbon, Malaga, Ravenna, Trieste, Rijeka, Zadar, and Durrës. These pilots are meant to test specific identified measures. All validated measure are reported in a catalogue of actions that can be replicated by local authorities to draw up their own LCTP. 

Overall, more than 40 measures have been considered and grouped into the following categories: 

  • hybrid, clean and electric vehicles 
  • port accessibility 
  • accessibility
  • intramodality 
  • ticketing and tariffs
  • cycling and walking enhancement/services
  • access management and road pricing 
  • parking management/pricing 
  • real time and road user information

LCTP in action

An example of what an LCTP looks like is the Italian city of Ravenna. The cruise terminal is 15 km from the city centre and the plan aims to establish a cycling and pedestrian network and related wayfinding system. The system connects the terminal with many nearby natural attractions and city centre via an e-bike sharing system. The project re-routes traffic near the port to minimise the impact cruise-related buses have on the local population.

A total of 14 modular packages have been designed, each of which provides cities with specific actions for managing a range of mobility issues cruise ships create. Via international capacity-building actions and cross-border learning opportunities on sustainable mobility, the LOCATIONS experience is being expanded across the Mediterranean. The project has launched an awareness-building campaign for tourists that encourages them not to negatively affect the quality of life of the locals. 

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Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “LOCATIONS – Low Carbon Transport in Cruise Destination Cities” is EUR 3 012 605, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 334 793 through the “Interreg V-B Mediterranean” Operational Programme, and EUR 225 921 through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Energy Union and Climate”.