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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.

EU Award for "The Better World" Communication goes to

17 November 2016

The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website was awarded the eu.Web Award 2016 in the "Better World" category at a prestigious ceremony at the Natural History Museum in Brussels (Belgium) last night. The category is reserved for the best websites on the topics of environmental protection and sustainable development.

The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website was completely overhauled this year with the aim of producing a more user-friendly, attractive web presence, one capable of meeting the needs of a growing project.

"One of the primary challenges we faced in the design phase was displaying the various elements of the project in a way that does not overwhelm the user. We discussed internally and decided to open a beta version to the public, inviting feedback. By listening to our users, we were given valuable insights that allowed us to further refine our website," said Gabriel Nock, chief web developer.

Previous winners have benefited from the prize, mainly through increased web traffic. The competition was implemented by EURid, the registry manager for the .eu country code domains on behalf of the European Commission.

For more information on the awards, visit

Interview: Spanish National Coordination

Txema Baez, Novadays, and Soledad Perlado, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Affairs

4 November 2016

1. Spain consistently ranks among the nations with the most cities participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. What has driven this success?

As far as we are concerned, the success in participation lays in the coordination and awareness-raising work that has been carried-out since 2000 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Since 2001, it has been mandatory in Spain for municipalities to install permanent measures to register their participation in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, thereby making the initiative more long lasting and ensuring that municipalities continue to benefit year after year. Over 2000 permanent measures were developed in Spain each year over the last 10 years.

Permanent measures involve political and budgetary oversight so the municipal plenary meetings are the ones to control EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK participation, which gives greater visibility among all political groups and to the citizens themselves.

It is fair to add the work of the Spanish Coordination to the reasons for success, which conducts annual reports recording all measures and activities conducted in the municipalities.

2. Why do you think EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is so popular in the country?

A part of its popularity comes from the fact that it is a topic that has entered public debate, not only in municipalities, but in society in general. The Spanish Coordination has enhanced the participation of organisations, institutions, companies and other sections of society to perform actions on sustainable mobility, taking their share of responsibility in choosing their mode of mobility.

Being a European initiative promoted by the European Commission and coordinated by the Ministry, municipalities feel part of a wider European celebration, gaining visibility within a common project, and learning about mobility actions in other European cities.

It is also to be pointed out that Spain is a country where most of its cities and towns have old quarters, and recovering them through actions such as pedestrianising streets, traffic restrictions, speed restrictions, and so on, represent a great advantage. These advantages are appreciated by the public immediately since they contribute to the improvement of quality of life.

San Sebastián, Santiago de Compostela, Valladolid, Gijón, León, and Vitoria, for example, have all been participants in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK from the beginning and have strategically embraced sustainable mobility. It has also spread to other cities - a good example is Murcia, the city that won the 2015 Spanish and EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK awards.

3. What are the main challenges that you face in encouraging cities to take part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain?

The main challenge is to involve more cities in a progressive way, but also and fundamentally, civil society and the media. The aim is to make citizens responsible for their behaviour when it comes to choosing a means of transport. That is the reason why in the Spanish Awards, presented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, there are additional categories for the media and for companies and social organisations that encourage the use of sustainable mobility in their field.

Awareness-raising remains the main challenge since it involves the promotion of changing patterns of mobility that depend on the individual decisions of each citizen, which demands a pedagogical and sensitive approach.

4. What is the future of sustainable mobility in Spain?

Sustainable mobility is a cross-cutting element in each municipality’s politics that touches upon different areas, such as urban development, traffic, environment, health, and so on. The trend should be to develop integrated and horizontal policies that improve quality of life in the city, especially through education, awareness, innovation and urban planning, with the preparation of mobility studies related to new urban developments.

It will also be necessary to expand the level of participation and involve new actors that visualise and replicate sustainable mobility policies. We believe that the future will require the increased exchange of experiences between Spanish and European cities. This could be facilitated through a database managed by the European Commission.

Compact cities can improve health

31 October 2016

A new study suggests that compact cities that focus on cycling and walking could boost the health of citizens. Land use, transport, and population health: estimating the health benefits of compact cities, a paper by an international team of researchers, was published last week in UK medical journal The Lancet. The team used characteristics from six cities – Boston (USA), Copenhagen (Denmark), Delhi (India), London (UK), Melbourne (Australia) and São Paulo (brazil) - to model the city-specific effect of land use and urban design interventions on the choices of transport and population health.

The authors argue that considerable health gains are observed by city planning that encourages a compact city - namely, a city of short distances that promotes increased residential density, mixed land use, enhanced public transport, and an urban form that encourages cycling and walking.

The paper says that a ‘compact-city approach’ reduces pollution from motor vehicles, and that policies that incentivise walking, cycling, and public transport while reducing subsidies for private motor vehicle use will influence the health and sustainability of growing cities. “City planners and policy makers - who have the power to influence the health of rapidly expanding cities and increasingly motorised populations - need to prioritise the minimisation of health risk exposures while maintaining or enhancing the mobility of city residents,” the authors write.

For more information, visit

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK website among finalists for .eu Web Awards

12 October 2016

The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website has been nominated for the prestigious .eu Web Awards in the category "Better World". The Awards recognise the most impressive websites with the .eu domain in terms of both design and content. The Better World category focuses on websites that promote green initiatives and environmental protection. will compete against two other finalists for the prize, which includes a trophy and certificate, a promotional video, and a web award icon for the winner’s website and social media channels. Previous winners have benefitted from increased visibility and website traffic as a result of the award.

A jury comprised of communication experts will select the final winner. The award ceremony will be held at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels (Belgium) on 16 November 2016. The awards are run by EURid, the registry manager of the .eu country code domains upon appointment of the European Commission.

For more information, visit

Transport peer-to-peer exchange programme now open

11 October 2016

The CIVITAS2020 initiative on cleaner and better transport in cities launched its new peer-to-peer exchange programme at the CIVITAS Forum in Gdynia (Poland), which took place from 28-30 September 2016. The programme consists of study visits and work placements on innovative transport measures, and is open to practitioners and city representatives who are interested in learning from, and sharing their knowledge and experience with, peers in other European cities.

Work placements offer transport professionals a hands-on, three day learning opportunity in another European city focused on a topic area which responds to their local needs. Study visits offer the opportunity for a group of up to 10 city representatives to travel to another European city facing similar challenges in sustainable urban mobility to learn about possible solutions and best practices.

Financial bursaries are available to cover travel and accommodation. Exact dates of the visits will be decided in cooperation with the host and the visiting cities. Those interested in being either a host or visiting city should fill in the application form available online by 7 November.

For more information, visit the CIVITAS website.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK celebrates most successful campaign yet

28 September 2016

2016 has seen the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign shatter its previous participation record, with an astounding 2424 cities from 51 countries celebrating the week. The previous record was set in 2011 when 2264 cities from 43 countries participated.

Cities and towns around the world held activities under this year’s theme of 'Smart and sustainable mobility - an investment for Europe', referring to the close ties between transport and economics. Many cities held a "Car Free Day", in which areas of the city were closed off to motorised vehicles and opened to citizens, while others held activities that showcased the benefits of opting for sustainable modes of travel. A sizeable portion of those participating also enacted permanent measures that encourage a shift to low-carbon forms of mobility.

Cities that carried out all three of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK criteria are eligible to apply for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award. Winners of the award receive a three-minute video in both English and their native language highlighting their achievements. The call for applications for the fifth edition of the SUMP Award is also open. This year's award will recognise the local or regional government that has done most to integrate urban freight with their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, or SUMP.

For more information, visit the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2016: Sustainable transport is an investment for Europe

16 September 2016

The European Commission today launches the 15th annual EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, with activities taking place across Europe from 16 to 22 September. The theme of this year is 'Smart and sustainable mobility – an investment for Europe’.

The main aim is to promote awareness of the economic benefits of investing in safe, clean transport for people and companies. Making energy and transport more affordable and sustainable is also one of the priorities of the Juncker Commission. Action in cities is particularly important as urban transport is responsible for 23 percent of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions.

As in previous years, local authorities and individuals across the continent are encouraged to think about what they can do locally, to make an impact globally.

Speaking at the launch of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2016, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport said: "This week is about getting individuals and local authorities big and small - on board. We are moving towards smart mobility, by integrating technology into transport. Smart mobility can reduce traffic jams in European cities and help cut the €100 billion congestion price-tag, making our cities more liveable!"

Getting out of the car and walking, cycling or taking the bus can have benefits such as improving our health. But research shows that smarter mobility can also make the public finances healthier. The Commission estimates* that road congestion costs 1 percent of the EU’s GDP per year – that's €100 billion euro last year, this year and every year. Smarter mobility can reduce traffic jams in European cities and help cut that 100 billion euro congestion price-tag.

The culmination of the week is the Car-Free Day, during which designated areas of towns and cities are closed to car traffic and open only for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is a highlight in a year-round drive for more sustainable mobility. The campaign serves to encourage and inspire those involved, to think about more long-term, permanent changes that could be made to improve transport.

For example, since April 2016 the University of Aveiro, Portugal has been recording large amounts of data on transport habits to help policy makers’ work towards a low carbon economy; in the Spanish city of Albacete a group of people have created a company called Urbanciclo to transport goods by cargo-bike; in the Italian town of Casalmaggiore, the NGO Slow Town presented in May 2016 a 2km children’s ring road along the bank of the river Po, creating a safe route closed to road traffic to get to school, the library, the gym and downtown; campaigners from Spain, Sweden and the UK joined forces to ride 2000km from Stockholm to Brussels last summer to advocate for safer cycling; between March and October 2016 Natuur & Milieu organised the ‘car sharing award for Dutch municipalities’ to stimulate the use of this transport method in the Netherlands.

These are but a few examples. All of the registered MOBILITYACTIONS are displayed on the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website.

Call for applications for 5th SUMP Award opens

5 September 2016

The call for applications to the fifth edition of the SUMP Award is now open. This year's award will recognise the local or regional government that has done most to integrate urban freight with their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, or SUMP.

The focus on urban freight ties into this year's EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK theme of how smart and sustainable mobility can support a stronger economy. Urban freight is a challenging topic for urban and transport planners, as businesses in urban centres need reliable access to goods delivery. However, the presence of delivery vehicles often worsens problems such as traffic congestion and pollution.

Urban freight can be made more sustainable in a number of ways. Consolidating freight in a logistics centre and using a smaller number of vehicles to deliver to more addresses is one example. Using vehicles powered by hybrid or electric engines is also a good way to cut emissions from delivery fleets. Even zero-emissions vehicles such as cargo bikes have been shown to be reliable for the last step in delivery for most goods.

The SUMP Award is presented together with the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award, and honours local authorities that have developed a Mobility Plan that satisfies the diverse transport needs of people and businesses, whilst improving quality of life. Each year, the award highlights a different aspect of mobility planning. Past editions of the award have focused on successful territorial and policy integration, monitoring implementation, and providing for multimodality and intermodality.

For more information about this year's edition of the award and how to apply, click here.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Best Practice Guide 2016 released

31 August 2016

The 2016 edition of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Best Practice Guide features the outstanding achievements of the ten shortlisted cities for the 2015 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award.

Murcia (Spain), the eventual winner of the Award, installed bike racks and allowed foldable bicycles on buses, and also placed a strong emphasis on developing electric mobility in the city in the form of electric bicycles and scooters. The other two finalists, Lisbon (Portugal) and Palma de Mallorca (Spain), also showed great initiative. Lisbon organised two separate Car-Free Day events in different locations, and implemented new infrastructure to increase accessibility and cycling. Palma de Mallorca implemented new cycling infrastructure and parking facilities, surveyed residents on their mobility practices and offered free public transport tickets.

The other seven shortlisted cities are also featured in the guide, and details of their excellent activities are given. They include Bacau (Romania), Larnaka (Cyprus), Miskolc (Hungary), Nottingham (United Kingdom), Sofia (Bulgaria), Trikala (Greece), and Vienna (Austria). A number of inspiring MOBILITYACTIONs are also included from countries such as Croatia, Monaco, Portugal and Sweden.

For the first time good examples of activities from small municipalities in Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Serbia are profiled, as well as best practice by the National Coordination teams in a number of countries. The guide also features activities from the South Korean cities of Busan, Seoul, and Wonju, the first time that activities outside of Europe have been profiled. Campaigners can consult the guide to take inspiration from others and ensure that they have exciting and innovative EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK celebrations in their own cities and communities.

To download and read the Best Practice Guide, visit the Campaign Materials page.