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Mönchengladbach, winner of the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Award 2020 for larger municipalities" />

An interview with Mönchengladbach, winner of the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Award 2020 for larger municipalities

23 June 2021

Dr. Gregor Bonin, Head of Department of Planning, Building, Mobility, and Environment at the City of Mönchengladbach (Germany), discusses the city's recent EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for larger municipalities victory.

What is Mönchengladbach's sustainable mobility vision for the coming years? And how does participating in

Clearly, Mönchengladbach is not yet famous for sustainable mobility. However, we believe that a city can only provide its residents with a high quality of life when it provides a good mix of different mobility options. Therefore, sustainable mobility is vital.

At the moment, private transport is still dominating Mönchengladbach’s modal split, and an old car friendly infrastructure is still dominating the city. But we are making incremental changes to improve this:

  • We have built a great network and fostered great collaboration around sustainable mobility;
  • We are highly motivated;
  • We have developed concepts for sustainable mobility to achieve our goals, and political decisions were taken to support these aims; and
  • We are improving mobility infrastructure by implementing various measures.

Through a number of varied measures, we are seeking to improve our traffic system for everyone, including children, the elderly, and people with limited mobility:

  • We expanded our public transport network;
  • We offer smart sharing options (such as bike- and carsharing);
  • We extended our cycle paths and related infrastructure, such as cycle signposting; and
  • We have opened up more space to pedestrians, because a city should not be dominated by traffic, but instead should allow enough space for residents to walk, play, socialise, and enjoy life.

However, behavioural change does not only necessitate improving infrastructure, we also need to raise awareness and communicate our work. It is for this reason, we participate in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your city's participation in

At first it seemed as though it would be impossible to organise the campaign. But we accepted the challenge, and organised a lot of decentralised events, such as Parking Week. During the week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, we turned car parking spaces across the city into areas where people could read, play mini golf, or park their bicycles. Through our RAUMWUNDER (space miracle) platform, we used a cargo bicycle to travel around the city, moving from one car parking space to another each day. At each stop we would transform the parking space into a place where local residents could come to meet, relax, or socialise. Through the initiative we were able to highlight the alternative uses of these spaces.

At the end of each day, we published a short video highlighting the activities organised that day, and shared it through Facebook. We also had live broadcasts from two of our sites. In total, all of the videos produced have been viewed 8700 times collectively.

In order to carry out Car Free Day, we introduced additional health and safety measures. Wearing face masks and social distancing had already been normal practices of everyday life, and these were also followed on the day. Additionally, we implemented a one-way system. Despite the pandemic, all our events were well attended and the health and safety measures were followed.

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

Of course, we know that there is still much more work to do on our path toward more sustainable mobility in our city. However, we are proud that our engagement and commitment has been recognised, and we are proud to win this award. It illustrates that we, and all our supporters, have done a great job so far and that we have already improved a lot.

Winning the award is also a boost to our self-confidence and that of our great network. We are excited to take the next steps to make mobility in Mönchengladbach more sustainable and accessible for all, and we are looking forward to participating again in this year’s campaign.

Winning the award also illustrates our commitment to sustainable mobility, and helps win over some of those who are sceptical of this work.

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

Hang in there! – In 2016, we participated in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, organising only a small campaign, with just three or four actions, led by a network of three people. At the time, we were asked if participating in the campaign was not just a waste of time, but we stuck with it and are steadfast in our belief that the campaign is an awesome event with great, creative actions.

Since 2016, the network, and with that, publicity has grown. We have recruited a lot of partners, sponsors, and support from local residents.

Each year, we also try a new action or activity, like organising our first Car Free Day, implementing the Parking Day, and later developing it into the Parking Week. Examples of some of the activities we organised over the years include: airing radio announcements, organising social media events, live streaming our activities to reach more people, and working with different target groups. As a team we have always stayed positive and have motivated one another to keep on campaigning for sustainable mobility.

To learn more about Mönchengladbach's sustainable mobility work, take a look at their winning video.

Mönchengladbach win European sustainable mobility awards" />

Bilbao, Grenoble, Lilienthal, and Mönchengladbach win European sustainable mobility awards

19 April 2021

The European Commission today announced the winners of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards 2020, the 9th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP Award) and the EU Urban Road Safety Award.

Mönchengladbach (Germany) was revealed as the winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2020 for larger municipalities, while Lilienthal (Germany) took home the title for smaller municipalities. The 9th SUMP Award was won by Greater Grenoble Area Mobility Authority (SMMAG) for Grenoble-Alpes SUMP (France), and the EU Urban Road Safety Award went to Bilbao (Spain). The awards were presented during an online ceremony hosted by European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, and Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility, Matthew Baldwin.

Speaking about the finalists, Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to all finalists and winners. Your inspiring achievements really show how cities and towns across Europe can improve people’s wellbeing by shifting towards cleaner, greener and more sustainable travel options for all. I invite others to follow this path and to join forces in building a mobility system for future generations that is smart, resilient, and does its share to achieve our ambitious emission reduction goals. I look forward to celebrating with you the 20th Year of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK under our call to action Move Sustainably. Stay Healthy.

Mönchengladbach, Germany – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2020 for larger municipalities
The German city of Mönchengladbach impressed the jury with its broad programme of activities and events for people of all ages and abilities. During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020, the city organised a number of information and awareness-raising initiatives on sustainable mobility, including public participation meetings where local residents could ask questions and voice their opinions. The city also took a creative approach to promoting sustainable mobility, through organising colouring competitions for children, poetry recitals on urban car parking, and by turning 50 car parking spaces into areas where people could read, play mini golf, or park their bicycles. The jury was also impressed by the strong citizen engagement and number of partnerships that underpinned the activities.

The other finalists are Granada (Spain) and Sofia (Bulgaria).

Lilienthal, Germany – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2020 for smaller municipalities
During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020, Lilienthal organised a broad array of initiatives on the theme of ‘zero-emission mobility for all’. Activities included walking and bicycle trips, information sessions with senior citizens, a rubbish collection event and an exhibition on the history of city transport. In total more than 2,000 local residents participated in related activities. In addition, Lilienthal worked together with the City of Bremen (Germany) to organise a Car-Free School Day with the participation of 55 schools and over 60,000 students. The jury was particularly impressed with the strong support shown by the local government, with local politicians opting to leave their cars at home and travel to work by public transport.

The other finalists are Bruck an der Leitha (Austria) and Nea Moudania (Greece).

Greater Grenoble Area Mobility Authority (SMMAG) for Grenoble-Alpes SUMP (France) – winner of the 9th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP)
SMMAG’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) sets clear and ambitious goals for Grenoble-Alpes, which seek to make sustainable mobility accessible to all, prioritise active and shared travel options, and render city travel more interconnected. The jury was particularly impressed by SMMAG’s integrated and structured approach, which aims to meet the mobility needs of all public transport users, including socially vulnerable groups.

The other finalists are Belgrade (Serbia) and Bilbao (Spain).

Bilbao, Spain – winner of the EU Urban Road Safety Award
Bilbao has sought to improve road safety in the city by reducing the speed limit to 30km/h. Speed limits were first reduced in June 2018 on 87% of all roads in the city. In September 2020, Bilbao extended the 30km/h speed limit to cover the entire city. The jury was also impressed by Bilbao’s communication and awareness-raising activities to promote road safety, and its steps to include residents in discussions and decision-making.

The other finalists are Heraklion (Greece) and Quart de Poblet (Spain).