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SMITHS (Sustainable Multi Intermodal Transport Hubs)

Definition and scope

Our cities and other traffic congested urban centers in the last decades have experienced an increase in demand for transport services including  transport users transfers: urban sprawl had caused an increase of dis​​tance between home and place of work and/or place of leisure. In the meantime  change in habits and complex individual lifestyle and needs had caused an increased in demand  for mobility, always more frequently covered by private car use.

This phenomenon has also resulted in a number of externalities such as high  traffic  congestion levels brought about by an increase in the level of motorization, longer  journey times resulting in delays, the ever increasing need for car parking space, the effect of transport emissions on the local air quality levels, the increasing of noise pollution in our streets and finally taking into an account the change in the transport ecosystem being brought about by the rapid evolving of Intelligent Transport Systems and the advent of electric propulsion for vehicles.

In view of permitting an alternative to private car use, modal shift policies have to be developed especially with the implementation of a more efficient public transport system and with the introduction of alternative green and more flexible modes (pedestrian and cycling transfers, car and bicycle sharing and so on.). These systems can converge in local hubs permitting the realization of a more accessible and attractive model.  In this regard, this project shall be introducing the concept of Sustainable Multi Intermodal Transport Hubs.

Being aware of the fact that in larger transport Hubs, such as airport and seaports, a range of transport services already are provided such as  Public Bus Transport, Coaches, Car-Hire Service and Taxi services, with the SMITHS concept, these hubs are being extended to  smaller local urban centers, where similar transport services will be provided to residents and visitors. 

Transport exchanges can benefit not only from the physical proximity but they can also take advantage from the Information Technologies to manage the intersections (both for the companies that have to manage the system and the users). For this end, each hub will be supplied with ITS services and infrastructure such as real time information on all modes, real time journey planners to include all transport services offered by the Hub. 

Services to be provided at the Hub shall include, Public Transport Services, Taxi Services, Transport on Demand Services, e-Car Sharing and conventional car sharing services, bicycle infrastructure, e-bike and conventional bicycle sharing, electric car charging infrastructure, Park and Ride Facilities as well as maritime ferry services for localities close to the shoreline, including passenger waiting facilities where the space of the site or location allows. 

In addition, apart from public transport routes where possible, each SMITH will be connected through what is being termed as *Safe Cycling Routes*. It is expected that a whole network of Safe Cycling Routes, based on the Sharing the Road Concept will be identified and implemented nationwide. These safe cycling routes will have inbuilt traffic calming measures, reduced vehicular speed limits, ITS infrastructure and enforcement mechanisms to provide more peace of mind to cyclists and users.

The SMITHS definition was developed by the Malta National Electromobility Platform and ITS within the Sustainable Mobility Unit of Transport Malta (the National Authority and regulator for all modes of transport in Malta) who decided to implement this type of solution within the national and local transport context. 

This project is being implemented with the assistance of ERDF funding at a co-financing rate of 80% EU and 20% National Funds.