EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK News

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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.

Air pollution still too high across Europe finds EEA report

10 November 2018

Despite slow improvements, air pollution continues to exceed European Union and World Health Organization limits and guidelines, according to a new report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

"Air pollution is an invisible killer and we need to step up our efforts to address the causes. In terms of air pollution, road transport emissions are often more harmful than those from other sources, as these happen at ground level and tend to occur in cities, close to people. That is why it is so important that Europe redoubles its efforts to reduce emissions caused by transport, energy and agriculture and invest in making them cleaner and more sustainable," said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director.

"Air quality in Europe - 2018" presents the latest official air quality data reported by more than 2 500 monitoring stations across Europe in 2016. The report found that road transport is one of Europe’s main sources of air pollution, especially of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM), which cause significant harm to human health.

Air pollution also has considerable economic impacts, cutting lives short, increasing medical costs and reducing productivity across the economy through working days lost due to ill health.

Estimates in the report indicate that concentrations of PM2.5 were responsible for about 422 000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2015, of which around 391 000 were in the 28 EU Member States. A wider assessment included in this year’s report, looking back to 1990, shows that premature deaths due to PM2.5 have been cut by about half a million premature deaths per year thanks to the implementation of European air quality policies and the introduction of measures at national and local level which have led to cleaner cars and energy production.

For more information, click here.

Transport Commissioner Bulc announces new European Coordinator for Road Safety

1 November 2018

On 2 October EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc announced the appointment of Matthew Baldwin as European Coordinator for Road Safety to help drive forward the new road safety strategy as set out under the key actions in the Commission's third Mobility Package to modernise Europe's transport system in May 2018. The role will involve the coordination of road safety efforts with Member States, the European Parliament, cities, regions and all stakeholders in the road safety community.

Commissioner Bulc said: "More than 25,000 deaths a year on our roads is unacceptable. The Commission is determined to cut deaths and serious injuries by half by 2030 and reach our Vision zero, i.e. zero deaths by 2050. The latest road safety figures show that progress is stagnating. Our aim with the new role of European Coordinator for Road Safety is to put road safety firmly back on the agenda of decision-makers and key organisations across the EU. Matthew is a highly experienced European transport professional - I want him to be a resource to the whole road safety community, to listen to all ideas and concerns – and help us deliver the targets!"

Mr Baldwin commented: "It is a great honour to be entrusted with this important work. We want to intensify cooperation with the Member States and the whole road safety community to deliver the Safe System approach across Europe. Deaths and serious injuries are NOT the inevitable price we need to pay for our mobility. I will focus relentlessly on results, on bringing down the death and serious injury numbers, because while the EU is the region with the safest roads in the world, we can and must do a lot better."

Matthew Baldwin will continue his role as Deputy Director General in DG MOVE, combining his new responsibility with work on sustainable urban mobility, particularly in relation to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists in the coming era of connected, automated and autonomous mobility. 

In June 2017 the Transport Council reconfirmed the Commission's long term goal of zero fatalities in road transport by 2050. New interim targets to reduce both the number of road deaths and serious injuries by 50 percent between 2020 and 2030 were also set. Following the Council's request, the Commission proposed in May 2018 a common framework for road safety and a strategic action plan, based on the Safe System recommended globally by the World Health Organisation. Its overriding objective is to address the causes of deaths and serious injuries in road crashes  accidents in an integrated way, building layers of protection that ensure that, if one element fails, another will compensate – so for example, focusing on ensuring vehicles and infrastructure are as safe as possible, and tackling excessive speed.  

Matthew Baldwin has been Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility since 2016. Previously he worked in the Cabinets of Commissioner Pascal Lamy, President Jose Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Jonathan Hill. His interest in road safety goes back to 1985, when he worked for the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety on issues such as compulsory front seat belt legislation in the UK.

Interview with Ms Andrea Štulajterová, National Coordinator for Slovakia

17 October 2018

Slovakia has had a record breaking year, with more towns and cities participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK than ever before. What do you attribute this increase in participation to?

The Slovak Environmental Agency has been promoting EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK on a national level since 2014. From that starting point, the public has become more and more aware of the campaign, with many municipalities now taking part in it annually. The growth in participation has also been helped by the fact that the Minister of Environment holds a national competition for the involved municipalities. This is a strong motivator for participation.

New campaign partners have also made a significant contribution to popularising the campaign, increasing the number of registered municipalities. The National Railway company and the Bus Union provided significant travel discounts throughout EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. People could also bring bicycles on the train for free during the week as part of the railway company’s efforts to get the public to "Mix and move!".

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

We have major shortcomings in Slovakia in terms of addressing sustainable mobility. Local governments do not usually have a mobility department in the office's governance structure. They generally have a transport department, whose priority is to deal with motorised transport. We need to change this! The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign is very helpful in this regard, as if a city is interested in signing up for the campaign they have to identify the responsible person in the office who will coordinate the campaign at the local level. After some years it seems that these coordinators gradually become mobility managers at the offices (though not in all of them of course).

The next year will see some challenges, as the local elections could result in local coordinators being replaced. We hope that successful initiatives and activities will remain in place and that cities will continue their journey towards sustainability.

What do you think the future will be for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in the Slovak Republic?

I am convinced that the number of municipalities and organisations participating will grow as interest in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign continues to increase. More and more companies are organising events for their employees to promote sustainable forms of commuting, and municipalities are starting to understand the benefits that the campaign brings in terms of improving the quality of life of their citizens.

Thanks to quality promotion, the campaign has been brought to the attention of the general public. Interestingly, I now feel that people are putting pressure on the municipality to ensure that the city is developed in a sustainable way. Citizens are demanding better infrastructure for cyclists and better public transport. Many larger employers have introduced green policies in their companies - now municipalities will have to meet the demands of the public and systematically address the issue of sustainable mobility.

The last strong factor is that individual motor transport is growing in cities and causing major problems with parking and traffic congestion, and it is municipalities that are forced to solve these problems. We, as national coordinators, can help the muncipalities to plan events for the campaign and to implement permanent measures, through providing methodological guidelines and examples of good practice. I've found that the events and permanent measures that are being organised seem to grow in quality each year!

Increased participation leads to new EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK record

12 October 2018

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has hit a new participation record, with almost 2,800 towns and cities from 54 countries taking part in 2018. A full list of participants can be viewed online.

This impressive figure marks the third record-breaking year in a row for the campaign. The geographic reach of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has also expanded, with towns and cities from 54 countries participating, including several from outside of Europe.

Car-free day, in which towns and cities close one or more streets to traffic, was carried out by 1,145 participants, while 1,276 towns and cities declared that they had implemented at least one permanent measure. Overall, 8,839 permanent measures were implemented by participating cities in 2018.

Car-free day often leads to a marked increase in air quality in the area in which it is implemented and is the perfect opportunity for local authorities to measure the impact of motorized vehicles on the air we breathe. A recent study on Brussels’ car-free day found that black carbon decreased by 80 percent during the period in which cars were off the roads.

Media coverage of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK was extensive, with over 8,000 news items produced about the campaign, reaching more than 200 million people.

Towns and cities that carried out all three of the participation criteria (carry out a week of activities celebrating clean forms of mobility, implement at least one permanent measure that encourages sustainable transport, and hold a car-free day) are eligible to apply for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards. 

The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards are given out in two categories: one for municipalities larger than 50,000 inhabitants, and one for smaller municipalities under this threshold. The deadline for applying is 23 October 2018.

Moldova makes EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK debut

8 October 2018

This year has been another hugely successful one for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign. Record participation has been seen in a slew of countries, others have seen registrations reach levels not seen for a long, long time. There have also been a host of new countries involved for the first time, among them the little state of Moldova, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine.

A call, issued by the country’s State Ecological Inspectorate, a body subordinate to the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, in September, served as the source of inspiration for its local inspectorates, galvanising Moldovan towns and cities into action. It’s not an uncommon practice to see such missives being sent, Russia, Turkey and others doing the same in 2018.

Its principal goal was to encourage communities to capitalize on the week as a means to address "the alarming situation created by the intense pollution of air in urban centers through car use.” Although the central theme of this year’s ‘Week’ was #MixAndMove in line with the European Commission’s ‘year of multi-modality,’ Moldova rallied its towns to respect the mantra: “Clean Air for All.”

Campaign activities were subsequently reported on the inspectorate’s message board in eight principal locations. For example, in Ungheni, at the border with Romania, a cycle race entitled "Give up the car, take the bicycle!" took place, while in nearby Călăraşi, ecological classes were hosted by a brace of educational institutions while working groups discussed local air protection measures. In Lipoveni, south of the capital, Chisinau, as in Criuleni to the east, besides cycling contests, locals were encouraged to become ‘the fastest athlete,’ and to sign up for a drawing competition. Participants were then rewarded with diplomas and gifts. Somewhat unusually named Edinet, to the north, hosted its Car-Free Day on 22 September, with the central square witnessing celebrations dedicated to the promotion of environmental protection that brought together a series of fun events including "The best skateboard sportsman." And in a unique move, only seen otherwise in Germany, the city linked up with neighbouring Chernivtsi in Ukraine, which served as the final stop in a cycle tour that included a visit to Briceni on September 17. There, hundreds of citizens turned out to spur on cyclists demonstrating a healthy lifestyle that also contributes to environmental protection. Their passage was well received by locals, who came up with questions and suggestions, while some even got on the bike and joined in.

Local media was quick to pick up on similar events in Soroca, where Observatorul de Nord published an article on the importance of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK actions on "Motorized Traffic: Problems and Alternatives." In Lipoveni, Gazeta de Sud and ProMedia too reported on local events. In the southern town of Gagauzia, local TV and radio station interviews also garnered prime time space.

It may be regarded as slightly disappointing that Moldova’s larger cities did not get involved. However, according to Ina Coseru, who heads up Moldova’s National Environmental Center, “in our small country with its limited resources, cooperation is key. For example, we are emboldened by the fact that the road-safety focused Automobile Club Moldova is keen to lend its support to the campaign. We also must link up with the GEF-financed Green Cities project that launched this year and includes a greener transport component for Chisinau. It will continue next year, so we definitely need to involve all the relevant authorities at local level and ask the project to support their initiatives.”

Fortunately, the state inspectorate will invite all participants to report back and the European Secretariat looks forward to hearing of further activities, hopefully in Moldova’s larger cities too.

Beyond Moldova, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK ‘debuts’ were also seen from Georgia to Peru, and from Mongolia to South Africa. All in all, some 54 countries got involved, which just goes to show the campaign’s reach in its seventeenth year. Roll on 2019!