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Jerome Simpson reflects on his role in the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK campaign

26 March 2019

1. You started working on the campaign in 2011. Can you tell us about your role and what working on the campaign has meant to you? 

My organization, REC, was invited to be part of the team following several successful years serving as part of the CIVITAS Secretariat. The aim was to strengthen the ties between DG MOVE’s CIVITAS Initiative for ‘Cleaner and Better Transport in Cities,’ and EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, which was then overseen by DG Environment. More specifically, we took over responsibility for its national coordinators’ network. Checking my notes from my first year, we had about 19 active coordinators. Today, it is double that number.

Without doubt, that network, and the convivial, family spirit that endures means the team has achieved great things in the last few years. And that’s not least thanks to the fact we could bring it together regularly to exchange ideas and experience. The national coordinators could see they are not alone in what they do.


2. What is it about EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK that makes it so appealing to cities in your opinion?

It’s not heavy on the academic or theoretical side. Conversely, it’s a celebration which means city coordinators with a communications background can feel at home in setting up dialogues with citizens on mobility matters, campaigning for healthier, car-free lifestyles, while mobility measures like bike infrastructure bring tangible, visible improvement which is media-friendly. At the same time, citizens are becoming more aware of the need to change their travel habits thanks to everything from shared bikes and scooters on the streets to mobile apps and journey planners in their pockets. On the other hand, the campaign is an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity across the European Union because the week’s dates are the same in every country.

3. What are your favourite memories from working on the campaign? 

Building up and maintaining a thriving coordinators’ network has been my main task and so that is one. Germany was a real tough nut to crack but perseverance paid off when finally, in 2014, Umweltbundesamt (the German environment agency) agreed to take on the campaign. I’ll never forget sitting in its Berlin office with a pile of CVs in front of us knowing that a coordinator’s appointment was a few weeks off. Now we see participation levels back up to where they were in 2010. I also fondly recall holidaying in Iceland that year, and at the tail end of the trip, dropping in to visit our national coordinator at the environment ministry. A personal touch makes a difference and Bergthora Gudmundsdottir has been a regular at our meetings since then. It’s also been rewarding to see the campaign supported by UNDP in four countries, also for it take on a more visible position at the CIVITAS Initiative’s annual forum conference. We hosted two great EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK sessions in recent years – a trend I hope will long continue. And of course, I can’t help but mention three consecutive record years in terms of participation.


4. What do you see as the future of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK? What do you see as the future of sustainable urban transport in Europe?

The campaign can look forward to a bright future because there’s still so much to be done. Just look at the kids skipping class world-wide as they campaign for more to be done to cut greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, I’ve always felt that we’re barely scratching the surface when it comes to engaging Europe’s towns and smaller municipalities. Austria shows us how it can be done and I was excited to hear Turkey, whose coordinator was appointed last year, commit themselves to better the Austrians!

As for the future of sustainable transport, innovation continues to drive development. Last year we had an Icelandic grocery store chain register as a MOBILITYACTION its use of Israeli-designed drones to deliver orders. Vehicle automation offers the promise of cars that actually respect speed limits. The sharing economy now means city dwellers really don’t need to own a car, while the advent of mobility service providers and transportation network companies means there are an increasing variety of first- and last-mile solutions available at the touch of a button. E-Bikes are taking the sweat out of long-distance or freight-based rides. And there’s much more still to be made of telecommuting.

So while there’s plenty of work ahead, there are myriad solutions on the table. Therefore, I am happy, after REC’s positive contribution to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, to have the chance to continue in the sector and walk through doorways that the campaign helps to push open.

In March 2019, Jerome Simpson joined MaaS service provider nextbike, a tech-savvy market leader and restless pioneer in shared bicycle mobility, whether dock-based, free-floating or hybrid in nature. Boasting a lifestyle choice in 27 countries in 200 cities worldwide, together with the international business development team, Jerome is responsible for leveraging new European business to government projects. He can be reached via email at: Simpson@nextbike.com

Lisbon, Lindau and Greater Manchester win European sustainable mobility awards

22 March 2019

The European Commission announced the winners of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards 2018 and the 7th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) at a ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) last night.

Lisbon (Portugal) was revealed as the winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2018 for larger municipalities, with Lindau (Germany) taking home the award for smaller municipalities. The 7th SUMP Award was won by Greater Manchester (United Kingdom). The awards were presented to the cities by Commissioner Violeta Bulc, responsible for Transport, and Jürgen Müller, Head of Cabinet for Karmenu Vella, the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “I would like to sincerely congratulate the winning cities, all of whom carried out inspiring activities to promote sustainable urban mobility. They are true examples of how local leaders across Europe are combining different modes of transport as a means to make our cities cleaner, safer and more sustainable. This year I am looking forward to seeing more such impressive actions from towns and cities joining the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign as they celebrate under the theme of ‘Walk with us’.”

Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Europe’s cities face numerous challenges, from poor air quality to climate change. Today’s winners show that the way we move about our city matters, and that bold decisions encouraging sustainable transport can help us tackle major issues like air pollution and climate change. I commend these winners, as I do all cities that are embracing sustainable mobility.”

The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards recognise local authorities judged to have organised the most impressive set of activities between 16-22 September. The awards are given out in two categories: one for municipalities with over 50 000 inhabitants, and one for smaller municipalities below this threshold.

The SUMP Award celebrates local and regional authorities for excellence in sustainable urban mobility planning. The 7th SUMP Award focused on multimodality, which is defined as the use of different modes of passenger or freight transport during the same journey, or for different trips. The winning cities were selected by an independent panel of mobility and transport experts and will now each have a promotional video made, highlighting their achievements. The Spanish city of Palencia was additionally named the winner of the 2018 Social Biking Challenge, a European Commission initiative that aims to encourage cycling as a sustainable and healthy mobility choice.

Learn more about the winners:

Lisbon, Portugal – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2018 for larger municipalities

The Portuguese capital, home to over half a million people, impressed the jury with its strong vision for a more sustainable mobility culture. During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018, residents could take their bike on board a train for free, giving them a real incentive to try out multimodality. The city also organised museum bike trips, free bicycle repair workshops, and a special prize for people and organisations that promoted the use of bikes. These activities complemented the inauguration of 31 new bike-sharing stations, new and expanded bike lanes, and 800 new bike parking areas. The city also carried out an effective communications campaign, managing to reach both residents and visitors.

The other finalists were Gdynia (Poland) and Palma (Spain).

Lindau, Germany – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2018 for smaller municipalities

The German city of Lindau placed significant emphasis on multimodality, the theme of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018. To communicate the benefits of ‘mixing and moving’, on-street info points were set up where people could learn about making smarter mobility choices. On Car-Free Day, a free hybrid shuttle bus and water taxi were provided, in addition to residents gaining free access to the newly expanded car-sharing service. Commuters were also pleasantly surprised with a breakfast courtesy of the city when they travelled by bike, foot, bus or train. Lindau recently installed almost 500 new bike racks at train stations and bus stops, making it easier to cycle to and from public transport. The city has also launched a new multimodal mobility app that enables users to plan a route using different transport modes.

Karditsa (Greece) and Oliveira do Bairro (Portugal) were the runners up.

Greater Manchester, United Kingdom - winner of the 7th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning

Greater Manchester has set ambitious multimodality goals, which it intends to reach using a wide-range of integrated and combined mobility options. The jury was particularly impressed by Greater Manchester’s use of smart, new technologies to increase the share of journeys made using sustainable modes of transport. As part of its mobility planning approach, Manchester considers each part of the city individually, according to its size, location and function. Measures are then adapted to the needs of the area.

Basel (Switzerland) and Dresden (Germany) were fellow finalists for the 7th edition of the SUMP Award.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Workshop set to take place in Brussels

27 February 2019

This March will see national and local representatives from across Europe gather in Brussels (Belgium) for the 2019 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Workshop and sustainable mobility awards. Taking place from 21 - 22 March, this invitation-only event gives European National Coordinators, as well as selected city representatives, the opportunity to discuss sustainable mobility in Europe with peers and experts, gain inspiration for the week itself, and network with international colleagues.

Following a welcome from Maja Bakran Marcich, Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport with the European Commission, Professor Shane O'Mara, professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College Dublin and author of the recent book ‘In Praise of Walking’, will provide the keynote address.

Participants will then get the opportunity to interact in smaller break-out sessions, which will cover topics such as developing a walking map, using an online tool to identify walking and cycling measures at local level, and visiting a pedestrian area in Brussels.

The sustainable mobility awards will be presented that evening at a ceremony moderated by veteran host Katrina Sichel. Commissioner Violeta Bulc, responsible for Transport, and Jürgen Müller, Head of Cabinet for Karmenu Vella, the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will present the awards to the winning towns and cities.

The second day of the workshop will see a presentation from the winner of the online competition for the best MOBILITYACTION 2018, Stanley Black & Decker, who will discuss their initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of the company’s 7,000 employees. Further break-out sessions will be followed by a meeting for all National Coordinators, during which the details of the upcoming EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK will be discussed.

To view the event programme, click here.

Apply for the European Startup Prize for Mobility to kick-start your sustainable mobility idea

9 January 2019

Created to support startup companies who are developing sustainable mobility innovations, the European Startup Prize For Mobility is a leading public-private initiative first launched by Karima Delli, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, co-founded by Boston Consulting Group and Via ID, and supported by both the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The prize is open to startup companies who are looking to scale up their sustainable mobility innovations in Europe.

As part of the prize, the top 10 selected entries will win an all-expenses paid tour of five European tech capitals to meet potential customers, investors, business accelerators and local partners throughout 2019.

In addition to this tour, four Gold Award winners will also be selected to receive specific entrepreneurial, business and legal mentoring from Boston Consulting Group and other legal and corporate partners to help grow their operations in Europe and beyond.

For more information and to submit an application before the call closes on 21 January, click here.

Luxembourg to make all public transport free in world-first

8 January 2019

Shortly before the New Year, the Government of Luxembourg announced their plans to abolish all fares on public transport, making them the first country in the world to introduce such a policy.

Currently, commuters only pay €2 for up to two hours of travel, which covers almost any journey across the country.

An all-day second-class ticket on every mode of public transport costs €4. Young people travel for free, and many commuters qualify for an annual “mPass” which costs €150 for all public transport.

The plan to abolish all fares on public transport is expected to come into force in summer of this year, with part of the cost being covered by removing a tax break for commuters.

The move will save on costs associated with the collection and processing of fares, and it is also hoped it will encourage a shift away from private cars and ease traffic congestion, which is especially high in the capital, Luxembourg City.

For more information, read here.

Polish cities honoured at national EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK workshop

17 December 2018

Polish towns and cities that undertook impressive actions during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018 were awarded last week at a national workshop held by the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure in Warsaw.

The workshop, which took place from 12 – 13 December, provided a venue to discuss the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018 campaign in Poland, looking at successes and areas for improvement going forward. Around 30 towns and cities took part.

Hosted by Maria Perkuszewska, the National Coordinator for Poland, the event saw presentations by Sean Carroll of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK European Secretariat, who provided an overview of the campaign in 2018 and Poland’s position within it, and Barbara Adamczyk and Miroslaw Dybowski of DG REGIO, who outlined European Commission measures to encourage the uptake of sustainable forms of transport at city level.

For the first time this year, awards for the best EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign in Poland were presented. The award recipients were announced in four categories. The winners were:

  • Municipality with over 50,000 inhabitants: WROCŁAW
  • Municipality with under 50,000 inhabitants: BOCHNIA
  • Most innovative activity: GDYNIA (for “Escape Trolley”)
  • Most active region: POMORSKIE VOIVODESHIP

Each region was presented with an engraved placard to commemorate their success. Following the prize-giving, the winning towns and cities were invited to present their activities during the week.

The second day of the workshop saw interactive sessions in which the assembled representatives broke into smaller groups to discuss the experience of hosting EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK activities in their town or city. Three parallel workshops focused on target groups, innovative actions and costless solutions for the campaign.

Poland has seen precipitous growth in the number of towns and cities participating in the campaign in recent years, and now ranks fourth in overall participation by country. A total of 160 Polish participants took part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK this year, an increase of 55 registered towns and cities from 2017.

An interview with Carla Jorge, National Coordinator for Portugal

15 December 2018

To view this interview in Portuguese, click here.


What is your role in the
EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign?

The Portuguese Environment Agency carries out the national coordination of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Portugal and has assumed the technical and executive responsibility of the campaign since its debut as “In Town Without My Car” in 2000, a one day initiative that took place on 22nd of September.

I’m a senior officer and have been working on this campaign since 2003, coordinating and providing  technical, administrative and operational support to the municipalities according to the guidelines of the European Coordination and the directives of my Ministry.


Portugal managed to increase the number of participants in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK by 33 municipalities this year! How did you achieve this?

We achieved a 53% increase in participation compared to 2017 (95 participants in 2018, 62 participants in 2017). The largest participation level prior to 2018 was seen in 2014, when 73 municipalities took part.

I believe personalised contact was very effective. This year we tried to be as close as possible to the municipalities, even those who only participated once in the past 18 years, and those that had not participated before (this accounts for 43% of the 308 municipalities in Portugal). The biggest problem is when the municipalities have never participated and, therefore, we do not have a focal point to send the email to. In other cases the municipality may have taken part a long time ago and the contacts we have are out of date.

So I would say that updating our contacts database, having regular phone calls with municipalities, and sending individual and group e-mails on a more frequent basis well in advance of the week may have been some of the reasons for this greater level of success in 2018.

And last but not the least, we must not forget the most important event directed at local authorities: the five regional workshops we held in June (with EC collaboration). We engaged a total of 117 participants from a range of municipalities during these events. I think it was crucial for the kickoff of the 2018 edition.


Why do you think towns and cities take part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK?

Being part of this European initiative can bring opportunities such as: the promotion of existing policies, initiatives and best practices related to sustainable urban mobility; raising citizens' awareness of the negative impact that the current trend of urban mobility has on the environment and on quality of life; the establishing of effective partnerships with local socio-economic actors; the launching of new long-term policies; the implementation of important permanent measures that remain well beyond 16-22 September; and the possibility to test measures, listen to citizens and raise awareness about climate change, air quality and road safety.

I believe that the initiatives of each municipality supporting more sustainable mobility, if they are part of a European project, end up having a much greater visibility as they are more widely disseminated. This makes them more effective and increases awareness. It also gives the local authorities the opportunity to be inspired and to learn from each other and replicate ideas or adapt them to their towns and cities.


What challenges do you face in Portugal in terms of getting cities to take part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK?

I think the biggest challenge is to disseminate the campaign in an enlightening, effective and direct way to all the potential Local Coordinators. Regular and personalised contact throughout the year is extremely important. Tailoring the message to local realities and needs is also crucial.

On the other hand, changing mentalities is always a time-consuming process and raising citizens' awareness of the effects their choice of mode of transport has on the quality of the environment and committing them to change is more difficult if there isn’t effective transport policies that facilitate and enable more sustainable choices of travelling.

Encouraging a change of behaviour to be compatible with more sustainable patterns, in particular the protection of air quality, mitigation of global warming and noise reduction, is currently a concern of the vast majority of cities. It is crucial to change the mobility standards that have been in place in recent decades and to turn them towards a more sustainable mobility.


What are your hopes for the campaign in 2019 in Portugal?

To maintain the number of participations registered this year or, if possible, to involve even more municipalities (and therefore more citizens!) is undoubtedly very desirable. Increasing the average number of permanent measures implemented by each municipality is also a goal. To try to accomplish that, I would like to repeat the regional workshops, which will be much broader since the mailing list has been updated and the database is much more complete. This also allows for dissemination through the comunication channels of other partners. And it is never too much to say that the active participation of the European Secretariat (by ensuring their presence at these sessions) would also undoubtedly be a strong point.

In any case, it is always important to emphasise that, in the end, the decision to participate is the responsibility of the municipalities, so the motivation to contribute and support from our side cannot be overstated.

Participation Report analyses EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2018

13 December 2018

The 2018 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Participation Report has been released, providing a statistical overview of the year’s campaign. The report identifies participation rates in each country, allowing the reader to see participation trends over the past decade. The report concludes with an analysis of the statistics provided, contextualising the data and offering advice to ensure the campaign continues to succeed.

With 2,792 towns and cities participating from 54 countries, 2018 proved to be the most successful edition of the campaign yet.  As in previous years, Austria, Spain and Hungary were the top three countries in terms of participation. Austria retained the top spot despite registering 18 fewer cities than in 2017, while Spain and Hungary both improved on last year’s total.

Besides these three, there were some remarkable showings from elsewhere, including triple figure performances from Italy, Poland and Russia, while Belgium and Portugal just narrowly fell short.

There were also marked improvements in participation levels over last year in several countries, including Belarus (+18), Moldova (+17), Serbia (+13), Turkey (+19) and Ukraine (+38). Overall, 19 countries broke previous records, a figure that includes five newcomers to the campaign (Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, Peru and South Africa).

Despite this high participation level, however, the number of towns and cities opting to take part in Car-Free Day fell to 1,153, a fall of 199 compared to 2017. Permanent measures implemented rose to 8,847, up from 7,993 in 2017.

In addition to participation trends, the report also looks at the campaign website (www.mobilityweek.eu) and the growth of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK social media channels.

Campaign highlights from across the world are displayed on pg.32 of the report, giving the reader a selection of good examples to draw on.

To view the report, click here.

Help us choose the most impressive MOBILITYACTION

12 December 2018

We’ve received hundreds of MOBILITYACTIONS entries from businesses, schools, NGOs and other organisations across Europe. Now we need your help to choose the most impressive one!

Five MOBILITYACTION candidates have been selected and we’ll be posting each nominee on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. The nominee with the most likes and shares by 12.00pm Brussels time on 19 December will be declared the winner! The winning MOBILITYACTION will be invited to join us in March 2019 for our sustainable mobility workshops.

Now for the nominees…

 

Playing Out in Iasi (Romania)

The “Playing Out in Iasi” community banned cars from some of its streets for several hours, creating a huge open space for activities. Children were given bicycles, scooters, chalk and other toys while their parents and grandparents could socialise and spend time together in the streets – completely car-free and safe. After a large turnout and overwhelmingly positive feedback, the organisers are now identifying further streets in Iasi that could be closed to traffic and opened to the public for recreation.

Facebook post | Twitter post

Organiser: Playing Out in Iasi Community

 

 

Waiting for the green light (Germany)

“Waiting for the green light” drew attention to a form of urban mobility that is often overlooked: walking. While walking is an essential part of most trips, especially those including public transportation, our cities’ public spaces are often not well designed for pedestrians. Traffic lights in particular are designed for cars more than pedestrians, and the green light for pedestrians can be far too short for children and the elderly to cross the road. To symbolise this, participants in this MOBILITYACTION gathered on a median strip on a busy road in Berlin and set up chairs for pedestrians who were “stranded on the median!”

Facebook post | Twitter post

Organiser: VCD

 

Fly+Bike (Netherlands)

Schiphol in Amsterdam is one of the busiest airports in the world, and the congestion around the airport makes it difficult to reach while having a significant environmental impact. This MOBILITYACTION created a detailed plan for a Fly+Bike concept, which would enable travellers to simultaneously book a bicycle together with their plane ticket. If they have large baggage, it would be delivered to their final destination with a special electric baggage service. Fly+Bike will help to set an example of how cycling can be better integrated into our travel patterns.

Facebook post | Twitter post

Organiser: BYCS

 

Stanley Black & Decker (Belgium and other countries)

Stanley Black & Decker reached more than 7,000 employees across 34 sites with its MOBILITYACTION campaign. Activities included testing electric/hybrid vehicles and e-bikes, promoting public transportation, participating in the Social Biking Challenge, biking/running/walking to work, and taking public transport instead of driving. Thanks to innovative activities organized by the teams across 15 European countries, employees finished their work week feeling inspired, healthy and even a bit sore. Moreover, many mobility proposals were submitted by employees for permanent measures, which will be evaluated and implemented in 2019.

Facebook post | Twitter post

Organiser: Stanley Black & Decker

 

How much does my car pollute? (Spain)

“How much does my car pollute?” was the questions, and participants in 7 Spanish cities got an answer! The objective of this MOBILITYACTION was to inform the public about the actual emissions from cars, especially those with diesel engines. Participants in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Melilla and Murcia could learn about the level of their vehicles’ actual emissions and receive explanations about the harmful effects of these emissions. The make and model of dozens of cars were analysed, and many participants were surprised to learn the actual emissions coming from their tailpipes – which was often in conflict with what manufacturers advertise.

Facebook post | Twitter post

Organiser: Ecologistas en Acción-Zaragoza / Ecofontaner@s

National Coordinators reflect on Mobility Week 2018 at Vienna meeting

28 November 2018

Representatives from countries across Europe will gather in Vienna (Austria) today to reflect on the successes and challenges of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018. The two-day meeting will see each National Coordinator share the Mobility Week activities undertaken in towns and cities within their country, discuss how support can be improved for sustainable mobility initiatives in years to come, and gain inspiration from others.

Representatives from DG MOVE will be present to hear feedback from the countries, as will representatives from the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Secretariat, who will give an insight into the organizational side of the campaign, as well as providing a statistical analysis of the 2018 edition.

Attendees will be welcomed by Vice Mayor of the City of Vienna Maria Vassilakou, along with Jürgen Schneider of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability & Tourism, Andrea Faast of the Department of Urban Planning and Transport Policy for the Viennese Chamber of Commerce, and Martin Blum of Mobilitätsagentur Vienna.

Following the meeting, delegates will embark on a study tour to see rail and ICT solutions around the city, hosted by Siemens Mobility and the Chamber of Commerce Vienna.