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An interview with Pontevedra, winner of the first EU Urban Road Safety Award

29 June 2020

Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, Mayor of the City of Pontevedra (Spain), discusses what winning the first EU Urban Road Safety Award means to the city.

What does winning the 1st EU Urban Road Safety Award mean to the city of Pontevedra?
Winning this award has allowed us to position Pontevedra as a friendly, safe, environmentally friendly city with a high quality of life. The award was of great importance to us because of the prestige associated with being recognised by the European Commission. 

We feared that the significance and relevance of the award might be lost in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures, but the opposite happened. The pandemic has led to a need for large public spaces, which are safe and comfortable enough to keep interpersonal distance. This in turn has led to many cities searching for role models to take inspiration from, and more people talking about sustainable mobility.

What has the reaction been among citizens and stakeholders to winning the award? 
The reaction has been very positive! Our intention was to organise an event for the public and our social partners, but COVID-19 confinement measures prevented us from doing so, just as they prevented the awards ceremony from taking place in Brussels (Belgium).

We were worried that confinement measures, together with the concern over the pandemic, would dilute both the impact of the prize and public reaction to it. However, this wasn’t the case, and the announcement gathered lots of attention in both local, regional and national media outlets, and on social media. 

Pontevedra’s social media networks were filled with a huge number of comments,  with citizens, institutional representatives, and civil society organisations all sharing their congratulations. We also received congratulations and thanks from all the municipal political groups. 

The City of Pontevedra has used a broad array of measures to increase road safety in the city. What has been the most effective measure used? 
All the measures work together and help to achieve the objective of reducing traffic accidents. Road education, vertical and horizontal signage, centralised traffic regulation, disciplinary measures, school roads, rules and regulations, reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h - all of these measures are useful and necessary.

What advice would you give to cities that are looking to follow in your footsteps and win the EU Urban Road Safety Award? 
Cities interested in following in our footsteps should think about making their city safe, about saving lives, about making it easier for children to move around the city autonomously, and about making life easier for the elderly and people with functional diversities. 

They should focus on making their city friendlier, more inclusive, and more cohesive, and should use improved and highly secure public spaces to achieve this. They should strive to reduce the unfair priority given to motorised transport over citizens’ use of the city and public spaces. Cities should consider the drastic reduction of air and noise pollution to be a just cause. 

In short, they should try to put the city and the citizens before the use and abuse of mobility, reversing the priority to reach "first the city, then motorised mobility". It takes courage and much energy to do this, but doing so will greatly improve the quality of life of the city and its inhabitants.  

An interview with Kruševac, winner of the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Award 2019 for larger municipalities

26 June 2020

Jelena Nikolić, Advisor for sustainable urban mobility and energy efficiency with the City of Kruševac (Serbia), discusses the city's recent EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for larger municipalities victory.

What activities did Kruševac undertake to help it win the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award? Were there any activities that you are particularly proud of?

The city has been participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, as a golden participant, for several years now. Similar to previous years, last year we worked on improving the attractiveness of public spaces in the city, improving the infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists in several locations, expanding the park, installing new pedestrian paths and urban furniture, building a public garage, removing street parking, creating cycle lanes, and turning several traffic light junctions into roundabouts with greenery and sculptures. 

Since 2015, we have started to temporarily close the main street in the city center to motor traffic and open it to people, as a “play street“. In the first year, it was closed every evening during the week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, and based on the positive reactions of citizens, we applied this measure again, extending the duration every year since. Last year, the street was closed from mid-April to mid-October. Children love it when the street is closed to traffic. This temporary measure impacted the way citizens think about how we use public space and how the city center would look without cars. 

In 2021, we will celebrate the 650th anniversary of the city - to mark the occasion the city center is getting a new look. In preparation for this, we conducted a survey among citizens on how they imagine the future design of the city center to look. After that, we announced a public competition for the development of an architectural-traffic solution. In addition to this, we had activities to promote sustainable mobility, such as city cycling and walking tours. And in order to draw attention to the impact of traffic on the environment, we organised noise level measurements. We are very proud of the fact that year-on-year our team of associates has increased, as well as the number and variety of our activities.

What has the reaction been among citizens and stakeholders to the city winning the award?

We are extremely honored that our activities have been recognised and that we have received the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK  Award 2019 for larger municipalities. The news has attracted great media attention, but also the interest of cities and institutions, not only in Serbia, but also from the wider Balkan region. 

We were congratulated by various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Infrastructure. The award did not come out of nowhere - we have been organising this event for many years, and Kruševac was shortlisted for the Award in 2016. Once the pandemic is over and the circumstances allows, we plan to organise an event to celebrate winning the award with everyone who contributed to its success.

What does winning the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award mean to the city?

For several years now, the city has been working to improve walking and cycling infrastructure, accessibility for people with disabilities, and the attractiveness and safety of public spaces - through the improvement and expansion of parks and squares. Squares have always been meeting places and that is why we should continue with these investments, which affect the liveliness of the city, and increase the quality of life. 

Irrespective of the size of the measures, it is important to work on them constantly. This award provides good encouragement to continue our work, because our efforts have been recognised. Kruševac is a pioneer in Serbia on this topic, because it is the first city to adopt a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). And not only do we have the plan, we are also acting on it - implementing measures to improve the quality of life in the city. Winning this award provides us with a good indication that we are on the right track, and we hope our success inspires other cities to follow our example.

What are the benefits of taking part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK for your city?

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is like a one-week festival in our city, which, in addition to promoting permanent sustainable mobility measures, consists of various daily activities for all ages. It provides a good opportunity to highlight the use of public space for sustainable modes of transport and to reconsider everyday mobility habits. It also provides local residents with an opportunity to comment on our work in an informal way. We often forget that we are all pedestrians, and the fact that walking is beneficial to both our health and the environment - EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK provides a good opportunity to remind us of those facts.

What advice would you give to cities that are looking to take home the

It is necessary to have a team of varied stakeholders, in order to design interesting activities for different age groups. Special attention should be paid to vulnerable groups, and those who may have difficulty in moving around the city. Through involving them in the event, you give them visibility and can reassure them that their needs will be met. 

We designed activities and included Associations of Persons with Disabilities, Associations of people with Diabetes (active mobility is very important for them), senior citizens, and children. Last year, for the first time, we used the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign mascot, which was invaluable and attracted the attention of citizens of all ages. And of course, last but not least, you need to have the support of sponsors, to make the activities more attractive, and to ensure good media coverage and promotion of activities, so that those who may have missed the event will take part next time.

An interview with Karditsa, winner of the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Award 2019 for smaller municipalities

26 June 2020

Natalia Tzellou, Head of the Department of Development Planning of Directorate of Development Planning, Information & Transparency, Municipality of Karditsa (Greece), discusses the city's recent EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for smaller municipalities victory

What activities did Karditsa undertake to help it win the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award? Were there any activities that you are particularly proud of?
During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2019, we organised numerous activities for citizens of all the ages, with special attention paid to people with disabilities. Every morning during the week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, we carried out educational activities at schools across the city, and in the afternoons, we organised many recreational activities at different venues across the city.

In addition, we partnered with dozens of organisations including schools, music academies, government departments, police, fire brigade, civil society organisations and businesses, all of which were invited to participate in a festive week of mobility celebrations. Other initiatives included financial benefits for companies introducing sustainable mobility measures and days off work for employees who commuted by bicycle or on foot – to show that safe walking and cycling are appealing for reasons beyond health and well-being.

What has the reaction been among citizens and stakeholders to Karditsa winning the award?
The citizens of Karditsa were very happy to hear the good news and felt great satisfaction that out of the 3,135 other European Municipalities who participated in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2019, a small municipality like Karditsa, could take home the first place position! We all are very proud to have won the award and our work is not going to stop here! Over the coming years, we are going to work much harder to promote sustainable mobility.

What does winning the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for smaller municipalities mean to the city?
Winning the award is a great distinction for our city! The award is very prestigious and has a strong reputation across Europe. Securing the first place prize makes our city and Municipality stand out in Europe, and highlights its advantages in Europe. This award recognises and rewards all the projects and measures we have undertaken to promote sustainable mobility in our city. But at the same time, it encourages us to work harder to promote sustainable mobility further in the city and to implement new permanent measures, in order to make our city accessible to all, to reduce the number of cars, and to provide more sustainable means of transport.

Over the next three years, we have planned to construct new infrastructure, such as bicycle paths, and pedestrian crossings for disabled people at roads and at schools. In addition, we have plans to redesign many squares and central roads in the city. By next spring, we are going to upgrade the existing bike sharing scheme and supply 23 electric bicycles, 2 electric bicycles for disabled people, and 9 electric cargo bikes. Four of these will be placed at the bus and rail station to ensure travelers’ mixed transportation needs are met. The rest will be used in a pilot programme for free haulage in the city center.

By August, we are going to permanently reduce the speed limit in the city from 50 km/h to 30 km/h. The Mayor of Karditsa, Vasileios Tsiakos, is very supportive of new ideas and suggestions. This is one of the reasons why Karditsa won the award, and it encourages us to make our Municipality a role model and to raise its ambitions and reputation even higher in the future.

What are the benefits of taking part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK for smaller cities?
Through participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, we have learned and found new ways to make our lives better and every year have implemented new permanent measures that help to promote sustainable mobility and improve the quality of the environment. EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK acts as a strong motivation to do all of this.

What advice would you give to smaller cities that are looking to follow in your footsteps and take home the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award?
To cities that are looking to follow in our footsteps, we would encourage them to try hard during the whole year and not just during the week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK itself. Equally, we would encourage them to take steps to improve the quality of life of their citizens’ and also of visitors to the city. The city needs to have a dream and goals, as we did, and needs to try to make them a reality. They need to work as a strong team - sometimes even working day and night, in order to succeed.

Kruševac, Karditsa, Brussels and Pontevedra win European sustainable mobility awards

18 May 2020

The European Commission has announced the winners of four sustainable mobility awards.

Kruševac (Serbia) was revealed as the winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2019, with Karditsa (Greece) taking home the award for smaller municipalities. The 8th SUMP Award was won by Brussels Capital Region (Belgium), and the 1st EU Urban Road Safety Award went to Pontevedra (Spain).
Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean said: “I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the winning cities – your actions are powerful examples illustrating the leading role local leaders can play in making our cities cleaner, safer, and more sustainable. I hope this can serve as inspiration for towns and cities who are rethinking their mobility strategies, not least in the wake of the current pandemic.”
Kruševac, Serbia – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2019 for larger municipalities
The Serbian city of Kruševac impressed the jury with its wide range of activities, underpinned by strong citizen participation and political support from the local government. Even the mayor was ‘walking the walk’, coming to work by foot to help spread this year’s mobility message. During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2019, the city streets enjoyed a new burst of life without cars, not only in the centre – which was taken over by pedestrians – but also in the suburbs, where people organised a variety of activities. The face of the city was also transformed, with the installation of new cycle paths, walkways, public squares, urban parks, benches and even swings.
The other finalists are Rethymno (Greece) and Wrocław (Poland).
Karditsa, Greece – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2019 for smaller municipalities
Karditsa impressed the jury with its use of promotional materials and partnerships to support sustainable mobility. During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2019, the city partnered with dozens of organisations including schools, music academies, government departments, police, fire brigade, civil society organisations and businesses, all of which were invited to participate in a festive week of mobility celebrations. Other initiatives included financial benefits for companies introducing sustainable mobility measures and days off work for employees who commuted by bicycle or on foot – to show that safe walking and cycling are appealing for reasons beyond health and wellbeing.
The other finalists are Alfândega da Fé (Portugal) and Paide (Estonia).
Brussels Capital Region, Belgium – winner of the 8th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP)
Brussels Capital Region has set itself clear and ambitious sustainable mobility goals, which include having zero road traffic deaths by 2030, restricting car usage, reducing the speed limit to 30 kilometres per hour by 2021, and increasing the number of pedestrianised zones. The jury was particularly impressed by its approach to reaching these goals, which sees the city as an ‘ecosystem’. The city’s achievements are underpinned by strong stakeholder outreach, impressive citizen participation, and the implementation of “superblocks”, an innovative urban planning concept.
The other finalists are Kaunas (Lithuania) and Wrocław (Poland).
Pontevedra, Spain – winner of the first EU Urban Road Safety Award
Pontevedra reduced road fatalities in the city consistently since 1999, impressively achieving zero road deaths between 2011 and 2018. A host of measures ensure that safety and sustainability go hand-in-hand. The city used a clear and careful monitoring strategy to identify which policies are effective and which need to be updated, resulting in increased active mobility, such as walking and cycling: In Pontevedra, 80% of children aged 6-12 walk to school by themselves. The jury was impressed by Pontevedra’s use of a broad array of measures, including reducing speed limits to 10-30 km/h and creating more public spaces that are attractive for pedestrians.

The other finalists are Jaworzno (Poland) and Ordu (Turkey).

European Commission releases COVID-19 related guidance on urban mobility

18 May 2020

The European Commission has released guidance on how to safely resume travel and tourism as COVID-19 restrictions begin to soften. As part of this, the Commission is encouraging and supporting the progress of new urban mobility solutions, such as extending pavements and bicycle paths or even adapting timetables.

Even though public transport has continued to run in many cities, measures to ensure safety will be necessary as passenger numbers begin to rise. These include:

  • Upholding safe minimum distancing;
  • Minimising contact between drivers and passengers;
  • Increasing and adapting operational frequency;
  • Using automatic or driver operated doors to avoid passengers touching door handles;
  • Optimising passenger flows to avoid overcrowding.

Communication of measures taken is essential to enable smooth execution and reassure citizens. Campaigns such as ‘stand on stickers’ have proven to be successful. These measures could fall outside the remit of public transport so consultation with health authorities and stakeholder will be necessary. The costs could be combined into public service contracts.

Shared mobility companies should help protect users from infection. Rental vehicles should be thoroughly cleaned on return, whilst shared vehicles should be cleaned at least once every day of use. Station based services such as shared bicycles should be cleaned more regularly. E-scooters and e-bikes should be clean at least after every battery charge.

Temporary enlargements of pavements and bicycle lanes will help make active mobility users stay safe. Reducing speed limits of vehicles in heavy traffic areas will also help.

Platforms for sharing best practices are available but should still be developed further. The Commission is planning to gather Member States, local authorities and urban mobility stakeholders to analyse the impacts of COVID-19 and guide future sustainable mobility solutions in the EU.

Read the "COVID-19: Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services and connectivity" here.

Registration for EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2020 now open

18 May 2020

Towns and cities across Europe and further afield can now register their participation in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020.

The annual campaign, which takes place from 16-22 September each year, is organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport and seeks to improve quality of life through promoting clean mobility and sustainable urban transport. This year’s campaign puts the spotlight on ‘zero emission mobility for all’. For more information about this year's theme, take a look at our Thematic Guidelines.

To respond to the uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, registration by towns and cities this year has maximum flexibility to cover events and measures as usual, or online alternatives and all innovative COVID-19 transport solutions, with no obligation to select any of the three options – holding a week of activities focused on sustainable mobility, implementing one or more permanent transport measures, or holding a ‘Car-Free-Day’

Last year’s EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK saw a record-breaking 3,135 towns and cities from 50 countries take part in the campaign.

Businesses, NGOs, schools and other actors, including cities, who want to get involved in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign are also invited to register their MOBILITYACTION online.

A MOBILITYACTION is any action that promotes the idea of sustainable urban mobility. It can be limited to a specific day or last for several weeks/months and can take place at any moment of the year.

For more information and to register for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020, click here

Helsinki and Oslo cut pedestrian and bicycle road deaths!

24 April 2020

Helsinki (Finland) and Oslo (Norway) have spent years working to become global leaders in safe and sustainble urban mobility. In 2019, they achieved a new milestone along this path, recording zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

Achieving this road safety milestone was the product of a number of transport interventions.

Helsinki cites speed reductions as being essential to achieving road safety. Much of the city centre is now a 30km/h zone, and speed limits have been gradually reduced across the city over the past few decades. Speed is also controlled via speed bumps, elevated pedestrian crossings, and roundabouts, among other measures.

In a press release, Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki notes, “Enhanced traffic safety is the sum of several factors. Traffic safety has improved due to improvements to the street environment, increased traffic control, the development of vehicle safety measures and technology, and better rescue services.”

Meanwhile, Oslo's safety measures have helped Norway to be the country with the lowest road mortality in all of Europe. To protect vulnerable road users, Oslo has reduced car traffic, improved infrastructure, enforced lower speed limits and introduced "heart zones" (hjertesoner) near schools.

For more information, read here.

European Commission's first Urban Mobility Days set to take place 29 September – 1 October 2020

26 March 2020

From 29 September to 1 October 2020, the European Commission is hosting its first Urban Mobility Days conference in Brussels on the theme of “zero-emission mobility for all“.

The conference combines two leading events from Europe’s transport calendar: the CIVITAS Forum Conference and the European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

It will bring together policymakers, local authorities, academics, NGOs, urban transport practitioners, urban planners and all those putting the SUMP concept into practice. Over 600 attendees are expected to participate in Urban Mobility Days 2020.

Over the course of the three-day conference, delegates will feast on sustainable urban mobility success stories from the CIVITAS Living Labs projects - and other examples of pioneering excellence from Europe and further afield.

These will equip attendees with inspiration, tools and know-how to further advance clean and sustainable transport in line with the European Green Deal.

With such a wealth of experts and knowledge coming together in one place, Urban Mobility Days provides the ideal opportunity to network, debate key issues, and exchange ideas on emerging transport trends and technologies and the latest developments in sustainable urban mobility planning.

The conference will also go beyond transport by connecting zero-emission mobility initiatives with broader EU efforts to tackle climate change and make Europe a carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Registration and further details about the conference programme are coming soon. In the meantime, click here for more information.

New SUMP self-assessment tool launched

3 March 2020

Would you like to develop a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) but are not sure where to start? Would you like to evaluate mobility planning in your city and receive tailored feedback on how to further improve?

A new SUMP self-assessment tool has just launched to provide the support that cities and local governments need.

The tool is particularly useful for local authorities who find themselves at the beginning of their SUMP process, and for cities and regions who want to evaluate their planning status.

By answering custom-made questions, local authorities can assess how their current urban mobility plan compares with the SUMP approach.

Individual feedback is given to help identify potential areas of improvement, to determine areas that are already aligned with SUMP principles, and to provide specific measures on how to advance the process.

The updated self-assessment tool includes tailor-made questions for:

  • Different SUMP starting points;
  • Planners who want to assess the quality of a completed SUMP;
  • Local authorities who want to assess the quality of their general mobility planning activities before starting a SUMP and at different points in the process; and
  • Planners working on the regional level.

Extended feedback is given to respondents following completion of the questionnaire. This provides an individual assessment, advice, links to further reading, and relevant good practice examples.

The tool was launched during the final CIVITAS SUMPs-Up project event, which took place on 19 February in Brussels (Belgium). The project was responsible for the tool's redevelopment, based on the second edition of the EU SUMP Guidelines, which were released in autumn 2019.

Try out the new self-assessment tool here.

European Commission announces sustainable mobility award nominees

27 February 2020

The finalists of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards, the Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP Award) and the first EU Urban Road Safety Award were revealed today.

All awards recognise remarkable activities carried out in 2019. The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards showcase local authorities making a significant effort to promote sustainable urban mobility during the focal week; the SUMP Award recognises excellence in sustainable urban mobility planning; and the Road Safety Award celebrates outstanding road safety measures. The annual theme for all awards was safe walking and cycling.


The finalists for the award for larger municipalities are:

  • Kruševac (Serbia)
  • Rethymno (Greece)
  • Wrocław (Poland)

The jury was impressed by:
- Kruševac’s wide programme of activities, underpinned by strong citizen participation, which saw the redesign of public spaces, removal of parking places, and the creation of urban parks;
- Rethymno’s use of communication activities to engage local residents in discussions on air quality, renewable energy and road safety;
- Wrocław’s strong focus on the week’s theme of safe walking and cycling, which was promoted through engaging and informative events.

The finalists for the award for smaller municipalities (less than 50 000 inhabitants) are:

  • Alfândega da Fé (Portugal)
  • Karditsa (Greece)
  • Paide (Estonia)

- Alfândega da Fé was praised for its diverse and comprehensive activities, making streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists;
- Karditsa impressed the jury with its use of promotional materials and partnerships to support sustainable mobility;
- Paide’s use of local communication channels and involvement of local politicians was appreciated by the jury.

8th SUMP Award

The finalists for the sustainable urban mobility planning award are:

  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Kaunas (Lithuania)
  • Wrocław (Poland)

The jury was impressed by:
- Brussels’ policy-driven vision, which is built upon impressive citizen participation, stakeholder outreach, and an understanding of the city as an ecosystem;
- Kaunas’ well thought out and progressive approach to sustainable mobility planning, recognising the role of enforcement in making the plan a reality;
- Wrocław’s integrated, holistic, and innovative approach to sustainable mobility planning, which is bolstered by strong neighbourhood planning and citizen engagement.

EU Urban Road Safety Award

In addition, for the first time, the Urban Road Safety Award celebrates outstanding and innovative achievements by local authorities in the area of road safety.

The finalists are:

  • Jaworzno (Poland)
  • Ordu (Turkey)
  • Pontevedra (Spain)

The jury praised in particular:
- Jaworzno’s action to reduce speed limits, increase the number of public transport users, and involve local residents in the design of renovated streets;
- Ordu’s courageous decision to pedestrianise the busiest parts of the city, remove heavy car traffic from the city centre, and create new bicycle routes;
- Pontevedra’s effective and sustained reduction in the number of road fatalities and injuries, its clear monitoring strategy, and its focus on active mobility, such as walking and cycling.

All shortlisted cities were selected by an independent panel of mobility and transport experts. The four winners will be announced via a press release and on social media during the month of May.