Germany aims to build on Mobility Week success
7 December 2016
An interview with German National Coordinator Claudia Kiso, German Environment Agency
1. This was your first year as National Coordinator for Germany. How has your experience been?
It has been both very exciting and a lot of work. I was welcomed into the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK family with open arms and received a lot of support from the European Coordination team as well as from other National Coordinators. Their experiences and insights were invaluable. At the same time, I had to familiarise myself with how local authorities are organised in the field of sustainable transport in Germany and what kind of support they need from us as a focal point for Mobility Week in the country. Many NGOs and local authorities seemed happy that the Mobility Week national focal point was established at the Germany Environment Agency, as it resulted in increased attention. They greatly supported our work with their contacts, expertise and experience, which made our first year a lot easier.
2. Germany more than doubled its participation this year. How was this achieved?
We worked closely with German city networks such as the association of German cities, Climate-Alliance and the German association of towns and municipalities, as well as actors like the Association of German Transport Companies, DIfU, Engagement Global, and the Federal Environment Ministry, to name but a few. In addition, we tried to be present at German events related to Sustainable Mobility and Transport. We also improved our online presence in Germany by developing a German website that provides information on issues related to Mobility Week. We additionally set up a German Mobility Week Facebook account, virtually connecting to many active organisations and cities in Germany. Slowly it became more widely known that Mobility Week was “returning” to Germany and cities started calling us, inquiring about the week and what we could offer as the national focal point.
3. What have been the main challenges that you faced in getting cities interested and engaged in EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK in Germany?
I guess there were two main challenges: Firstly, the campaign wasn’t known by most cities in Germany. Since it wasn’t known, it was a lot less attractive to them to participate, as they didn’t see the added value. That is closely tied to the second challenge: Many cities in Germany are already very active in the sphere of sustainable mobility, carry out impressive work and participate in different national competitions or campaigns. So initially, Mobility Week seemed to offer little added value, since it was rather unknown, didn’t provide funding and had to take place in this specific time frame.
4. What do you think German cities and towns gain from taking part in EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK?
I believe there are several benefits for German cities. Mobility Week offers cities a specific time frame in which they can showcase their achievements in the area of sustainable mobility over the course of the year, start a dialogue with their citizens and try out new innovative transport solutions for a short while. They can see Mobility Week as an opportunity to be part of a European-wide movement of cities – while at the same time celebrating the advantages of sustainable transport modes in a fun way. EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK certainly makes sustainable transport a lot less theoretical and dry – just have a look at pictures from Norderstedt or Frankfurt. Participating in Mobility Week gives cities the feeling that they are not alone in their quest for more sustainable transport. Instead they are part of a growing movement of cities all over Europe and beyond searching and finding different ways to make their local transport fit for a sustainable future.
5. What does the future hold for EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK in Germany? What would you like to see?
This year we tried to make the campaign more widely known in Germany and explain the advantages of participation to German cities. Some of our activities were quite successful, others weren’t so much. Next year our focus will be on continuing what has worked well so far and finding more ways to support German cities in organising Mobility Week 2017. We will hold practical workshops, provide materials and information and try to answer all questions that might arise. We really hope to see another doubling of figures next year! So far we are quite optimistic, as several cities have already expressed interest in the campaign.
Image copyright: Image (Umweltbundesamt)