News Search Result ( 1 - 1 from 1 )

An interview with Lilienthal, winner of the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Award 2020 for smaller municipalities

25 June 2021

Dr. Mara Jekosch, and Ingo Wendelken, Initiative Mobilität, Lilienthal (Germany), discuss the city's recent EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for smaller municipalities victory.

What is Lilienthal's sustainable mobility vision for the coming years? And how does participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK support it?

According to Kristian Tangermann, Mayor of Lilienthal "future mobility projects will focus on infrastructure for pedestrians and cycling. We need to improve road allocation to increase road safety."

Local residents are calling for mobility issues to be resolved. The further implementation of mobility measures will reduce traffic congestion, noise and environment pollution, and in turn will increase quality of life. However, the most effective way of reducing road traffic accidents and increasing road safety is through raising awareness among all stakeholders. Driving respectfully and considering others will remain key.

Participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, which was coordinated by Initiative Mobilität – a voluntary organisation in the city – had a great impact on sustainable mobility in the city. In particular, more attention was paid to the topic, which in turn led to local politicians approving investment for a walking and cycling project.

We are now no longer just building a network and cooperating with other cities and organisations around the week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, but instead are doing this throughout the entire year. It is through working with other relevant partners that we are able to reach our common goal.

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

Of course, we had to rethink our initial plans, but then decided to focus on groups of individuals who were allowed to meet under COVID restrictions. Namely, school students, sports teams, dancing groups, etc.

The activity "streets belong to everyone" was a huge success, as it could be organised while reserving social distancing rules – families were encouraged to use their front gardens to eat, chat, paint the streets, while pedestrians could interact with them. Cars were encouraged to drive slowly through the streets during the event.

Encouraging students from schools in Bremen and Osterholz – a local district nearby – to participate in the car free school day was also possible under COVID restrictions.

COVID did however impact on some of our activities. For example, the annual Car Free Day needed to be postponed. But it did not stop us from participating in the campaign, and as you can see, Lilienthal is already registered to participate again in this year’s campaign.

What has the reaction been among citizens and stakeholders to the city winning the award?
We were congratulated by many citizens and stakeholders. Children reading the local news recognised the role they played in the campaign, as did sponsors who were proud to see what their support achieved. The announcement appeared in the local newspaper and was shared widely through social media.

Some were critical of our award win, saying things such as: "why does Lilienthal deserve a mobility prize?" – most likely because of the existing infrastructural issues we need to address.

Yes, it is true to say that we still face mobility issues, but that is the reason why Initiative Mobilität campaigns for the introduction of sustainable mobility measures, and coordinates Lilienthal’s participation in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. Through raising awareness of the fact that everyone has a role to play in achieving sustainable change, we are able to kick-start discussions, and encourage more and more people to get involved in the topic.

Our initiative is less than 2 years old, but even with little money, so much can be achieved once you work with committed people, associations, companies, etc. Our victory shows that we are on the right track and it is just the beginning.

What does winning the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award mean to the city?
Winning the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award is a great success for Lilienthal, which brings European recognition of our engagement in sustainably mobility. Of course, we need to make further infrastructural improvements. Change is linked to people, and it is through engaging everyone that we can build a healthier future. With this award, politicians in Lilienthal might be convinced to include a permanent annual budget to fund mobility programmes.

We will treat the award as a "Travelling award". The award will move around the city, from one organisation to another, allowing all stakeholders the chance to display the award. We won this award thanks to the actions, ideas, and motivation of everyone in Lilienthal, and this award belongs to us all.

What advice would you give to cities that are looking to take home the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award?
Invest in a good camera and promote your work through posting short videos on social media.

Think broadly when approaching the topic of sustainable mobility. Some activities might not seem directly related at first, but through linking these to the topic, you are able to open up a discussion and exchange around it, which may result in surprising and fruitful conversations.

Invite everyone in the city to participate and suggest activities. Inspire them through successful examples, but give them enough room to be creative.

Work with non-profit organisations in the city to help communicate and disseminate your work.

As opposed to banning or discouraging particular mobility behaviour, focus the narrative and messaging on being inclusive. For example, by saying, "streets belong to everyone". When the focus is on restricting mobility behaviour, it can lead to fewer people wanting to engage in the topic. And this is the opposite of what we want, as based on our experience, including everyone is key to making change happen.

Participating in the campaign as a community, motivates everyone in the community to get involved. People want to be part of broader movement and want to engage in a meaningful and important cause.

Last but not least, have fun!

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