by Justin Hyatt
Justin Hyatt sat down for a chat with Tihomir Dakić, AltaGO-Europe expert from Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
JH: What does your typical workday look like?
TD: As an active citizen, activist, project manager and member of an environmental organization (Center for Environment) my daily life consists of advocating, above everything else, on changing human behavior. For instance, when I ride to a meeting on my bicycle, people sometimes try to tell me that I shouldn’t come to meetings by bike, but I still do it. While I am doing it, I see how people are changing their attitudes towards when, how, and why we use a bike or walk, when it seems like no one else does. As someone who communicates quite a lot with people as well as with different stakeholders and a whole range of decision-makers, I have a wide picture of how to change the things around us. Working with media is one of my regular tasks as well as cooperation and helping other organizations.
What perspectives do the Balkans, and specifically Bosnia and Herzegovina have, for developing in the direction of sustainable mobility and especially cycling?
The Balkan countries are in the process of shifting transport and urban development from a car-oriented towards a more sustainable and people-oriented model. But these countries and their governments are at the very beginning. They understand that planning principles should be changed, but still do not have enough courage to move in that direction and do not have a clear idea how to shift towards more sustainable transport. Keeping that in mind, Bosnia and Herzegovina have numerous medium size and small cities, with plenty of opportunities for shifting mobility patterns to cycling and walking, as well as strengthening public transport.
However, the influences of car and oil industry are strong in the region. Understanding the needs (of changing the transportation model) is very rare on a national and regional level of decision-makers, which is the greatest challenge for future changes. The video documentary, in which I participated, provides a good starting point for understanding our part of the world.
(This BBC travel documentary focuses on the Balkans, including Bosnia, where Tihomir provides local insights)
Why did you join AltaGO and what opportunities do you see with the company?
As one of the unique and rare types of company that works on transport demand of people rather than motor vehicles, focusing on the development of non-motorized transport is something that I personally believe is the future of urban transport. I think that my experience and knowledge of human behavior concerning transport habits will contribute to the mission of helping the cities and towns to become more people friendly and pleasant spaces for life. Focusing on moving humans and not motor vehicles is an area where together we can help to make an impact. A great team, as well as knowledge and perspective for mutual cooperation and cultural diversity, is a key for reaching the best solutions and prerequisites that will influence on behavioral changes.