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From Energy Efficiency to Urban Mobility: Introducing Participatory Approach to Development of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Polotsk


The Mobility Plan will become a strategy to improve the transportation system of the city of Polotsk, northern Belarus. Mutually developed by local government, experts, civic associations, journalists, and entrepreneurs, this blueprint will allow 85 thousand Polotsk residents to move around the city with more comfort and safety.



Participatory approach to the project is realized largely through the Public Working Group. Members of Polotsk non-governmental organizations, entrepreneurs, mass media, and just proactive citizens work together in the Group. They discuss a wide range of issues, for instance, how to make certain parts of Polotsk more accessible through public transportation, or whether it is necessary to introduce parking fees. Most importantly, however, the Group can deliver suggestions to Polotsk officials and experts,"  

Anton Radniankou, Project Manager, Interakcia Foundation.




In 2004, Polotsk had 158 cars per 1000 citizens. However, for 6 years, this number grew two-fold: in 2010, more than 300 cars were registered per 1000 citizens (that is comparable to the situation in Minsk). But the number of public buses has fallen by 1/3 since 2004. Finally, the current Polotsk Master City Plan does not presuppose building any bicycle lanes, despite of the growing popularity of this alternative mode of transportation.



The above trends undermine the city’s ecology, public safety (more cars more accidents), and economic development. Traffic jams and purely working public transportation cause time losses and psychological damage to urbanites and tourists. 

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan should become a blueprint that will empower officials and residents to create an efficient transportation system for Polotsk, reflecting public needs. The mobility Plan will also touch upon the issue of commuting between Polotsk and Novopolotsk because the two cities, in fact, form one urban area.

Historical context: The project goes in line with the Sustainable Energy Action Plan that sets the aim of reducing CO2 emissions in Polotsk by 20% by 2020. The Plan was approved in 2012, after Polotsk became the first Belarusian city to join the Covenant of Mayors.

The Covenant of Mayors unites more than 6000 European cities that would like to be more eco-friendly and improve the quality of life of their citizens. It is worth noting that Interakcia Foundation was providing expertise during the development of the Polotsk Sustainable Energy Action Plan. 





​Today, the Group includes representatives of several civic associations and businesses: online assocition of cycling amateurs Velo NovoPolotsk, radio station Evropa Plus Polotsk, city news website, bike shop Drive, bike rental services LikeBike (Polotsk) and Velogarazh (Novopolotsk), Polotsk District Center For Children and Youth. The Group is open to all relevant organizations and proactive Polotsk residents willing to and knowing how to turn Polotsk into a better place to live in and move around. Learn more 




Some images of the visit were included in the presentational video of Dresden's Mobility Plan





A short video about the European Mobility Week 2015 in Polotsk


















Overall objective: To empower citizens and non-state actors (NSA) and support the local authorities (LA) and other relevant stakeholders in the City of Polotsk in the context of defining, implementing and evaluating a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP).

Specific objectives:

1. To strengthen capacities and support LA, NSA and other stakeholders in their ongoing activities aimed at sustainable urban mobility planning in Polotsk.

2. To increase the role of citizens and NSA in making, implementing and evaluating common decisions that relate to sustainable urban mobility planning in Polotsk.




The overall objective of the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development Program is to support operations aiming at promoting an inclusive and empowered society in partner countries in order to:

(a) benefit populations out of reach of mainstream services and resources and excluded from policy making processes;

(b) strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations and local authorities, with a view to facilitating their participation in defining and implementing poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies;

(c) facilitate interaction between state and non-state actors in different contexts and support an increased role for local authorities in decentralisation processes.

Learn more




Anton Radniankou, Project Manager

+ 375 25 924 42 13 (mobile); + 375 17 334 24 76;

Tatsiana Tsiukhai, PR Manager

+ 375 29 755 73 72(mobile); + 375 17 334 24 76 (tel.);