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An interview with Kassel, winner of the European Mobility Week Award for larger municipalities

28 June 2022

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK sat down with the 2021 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for larger municipalities winner – Kassel - to learn about the City’s upcoming plans for sustainable mobility development and to collect advice for towns and cities looking to follow in its footsteps.

Creating sustainable urban environments requires improving how people get from A to B, and everywhere in between. The German City of Kassel understands the importance of implementing key changes in local transport to encourage a culture of sustainable mobility. In close collaboration with the District of Kassel and the municipal public transport company NVV, the City’s comprehensive efforts, which include installing road safety signs near schools, the renovation of busy streets to better promote cycling infrastructure, and the organisation of creative awareness-raising activities for children and adults, helped it capture the 2021 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award for larger municipalities at an award ceremony in Brussels this spring. Kassel then repeated its success at the German EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award ceremony, once again winning recognition for its sustainable mobility efforts.  

So what’s next for Kassel? How will the City continue to foster an inclusive sustainable mobility culture and develop measures that allow people to make more sustainable travel choices? EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK spoke with Christof Nolda, City Councilor and Head of the Department for Urban Development, Building, Environment and Transport, to learn more about what Kassel has in store.

What does winning the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award for larger municipalities mean for Kassel?

Winning the award meant recognition and tail wind for our approach. It confirmed that Cities, Districts and regional public transport companies can only benefit from joining forces. It assured us that we are on the right track in sensitising citizens on sustainable mobility. It obliged and encouraged us to continue on a path of transformation towards a more secure, joyful, liveable and sustainable region.

The sustainable mobility journey is one of constant adaptation and improvement. What exciting plans does Kassel have in store for the future?

We will build on the successes of last year and attempt to grow in depth and size, i.e. reaching out to even more citizens, cooperating with even more initiatives and becoming even more interactive. During the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, our key focus is on removing (mental) barriers and showcasing alternatives for sustainable mobility. Beyond that, in the next years will see infrastructure developments geared towards the mobility needs of humans – instead of cars.

What advice would you give for cities looking to follow in your footsteps and win the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award?

The more interactive and fun your approach, the better. We provided a number of low-threshold activities: Children proudly wore their self-painted high-visibility vests when walking to school. For people requiring a rollator, a dedicated "rollator training" lowered the barrier to use public transport. Meanwhile, a (cargo) bike trial day made mobility alternatives tangible. These activities were not expensive nor too complex to organise – even less so when you team-up with strong partners from administration, public transport and civil society.

Follow along to see what Kassel is planning for this year’s campaign and find out what your own town or city are doing for sustainable mobility, here.

REPowerEU plan underscores sustainable mobility choices to reduce fuel consumption

22 June 2022

In line with the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK calls on towns and cities to increase their efforts to implement mobility measures that reduce fuel consumption, while creating a more liveable urban environment for people.

Reducing fuel consumption to create more resilient and liveable cities has always been both a cornerstone of the European Commission’s policy approach to building a better future and a fundamental part of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK’s campaign to encourage a sustainable mobility culture. With the unwarranted Russian invasion of Ukraine, the need to reduce Europe’s dependency on oil has become even more urgent.

Encouraging a sustainable mobility culture to rapidly reduce fuel dependency

In response to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the EU launched the REPowerEU Plan to help accelerate Europe’s transition to a clean energy infrastructure. Thousands of towns, cities, organisations, schools, associations, and more, participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK are already helping to reduce fuel consumption by encouraging sustainable mobility choices and implementing fuel saving measures.

To continue supporting the reduction of fuel consumption, the REPowerEU plan and EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK are asking towns, cities and people to step up their efforts to implement sustainable mobility measures and to adopt an ‘avoid, shift, improve’ mind-set that will help drastically reduce the use of fuel.

Examples of sustainable urban mobility measures and choices that can easily be organised and replicated across Europe, include:

  • Lowering prices for public transport and rail;
  • Reducing speed zones;
  • Implementing car free zones;
  • Creating bike-sharing and micro-mobility schemes;
  • Incentivising employees to commute using public transport;
  • And more.

Car-Free Days & improved public transport: support EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK & REPowerEU

Two effective ways for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK participants to support this endeavour, and continue contributing actively to the campaign, are to 1) organise multiple Car-Free Days and 2) improve public transport by implementing relevant permanent measures. These actions will help avoid the use of private vehicles - which are directly correlated to increased fuel consumption - and encourage a shift to trams, metros, buses, bicycles, etc.

Car-Free Days could be organised on a weekly, monthly or ad-hoc basis and have great potential to radically reduce fuel consumption. Meanwhile, to promote a greater shift to public transport use, towns, cities and employers could introduce special offers, additional services or reduced fees.

Over the years, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has seen many creative activities that encourage the use of public transport including:

  • Offering after-work drinks at nearby bus stops;
  • Setting-up commuter challenges;
  • Arranging meetings between public transport operators and the public;
  • Carrying out surveys to better understand users’ satisfaction and expectations;
  • And more.

As towns and cities are registering their participation for the 2022 campaign, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK urges you to consider actions that will quickly reduce fuel consumption and help eliminate Europe’s dependence on Russian oil.

Slovenia’s National Coordinator leverages 10 years of experience to boost European Mobility Week participation

16 June 2022

After ten years of coordinating EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Slovenia, Polona Demšar Mitrovič, reflects on the campaign’s impressive growth and the challenges encountered along the way.

Brussels - In May, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK officially launched its call for registrations from towns and cities for the 2022 campaign year, which will culminate in an exciting week of awareness-raising activities from 16 - 22 September.

As soon as registrations opened, Slovenia emerged as an enthusiastic frontrunner with 93 towns and cities already registered for the 2022 campaign - the most of any country so far. This is a major increase in comparison to the country’s first year of participation ten years ago, when the National Coordinator for Slovenia, Polona Demšar Mitrovič, recalls 20 municipalities participating. After working on the campaign for ten years in the Ministry of Infrastructure in Ljubljana, Slovenia, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK spoke with Polona about how she helped successfully grow the campaign in Slovenia, what challenges she faced and where the campaign is headed next.

Ten years is quite a long time, especially considering it is half of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK’s life span! The campaign celebrated its 20th anniversary just last year. What changes have you noticed since you began working on the campaign in Slovenia ten years ago?

Yes, in Slovenia there have been many changes. I can tell you that we started with around 20 to 30 municipalities participating at the beginning and now, in the last two years, we have had over 80 municipalities participating, which is really a big change. But what is even more important for us, than the number of cities participating, is the quality of measures that these cities are implementing. The towns and cities have really transformed their point of view from just promoting sustainable mobility to also creating possibilities for behavioural change. For example, cities and towns are working on permanent measures such as infrastructure for walking, cycling and better public transport. This is what actually allows people to change their travel habits, and this is very important.

That is an impressive increase - from 20 - 30 municipalities to 93 already this year. You mentioned that towns and cities have now moved beyond just proposing new ideas to actually creating opportunities for new sustainable mobility developments, such as permanent measures, to arise. What do you think encouraged this change?

Well, it's a long process. And after ten years of working with different stakeholders, giving them examples of good practice, the changes are already showing. What are the possibilities? Where are the problems? Why are these changes so important? People are more aware of the importance of sustainable mobility and when starting changes at the local level, even the political level is now more aware of sustainable mobility’s importance for its own citizens. So, it was a mixture of different processes: awareness-raising, knowledge-sharing, better living conditions, encouraging altogether healthier lifestyles for citizens, this is what people understand now, which they did not ten years ago.

So in Slovenia, you’ve witnessed people change their understanding of sustainable mobility and how it affects their lives. Have you noticed a similar engagement from young people? What are you doing to involve them in the campaign?

This year is the European Year of Youth and we have started to prepare for an event, because we didn't have such a good experience a few years ago. It was quite hard to get young people on board.

So this year, we connected with different youth organisations in Slovenia. We were discussing how to involve young people, what we should do, and we decided to cooperate with young people directly. So they will show us how to best approach them and what they’ve told us - and it's very important - is not just to listen to them, but to act afterwards; not just to involve them, but to show them that what they told us matters and that we will do this for them. This is what we want.

Indeed, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK strongly encourages the engagement of young people in all sustainable mobility related activities!

For more information about the European Year of Youth and how to connect better with this audience, visit our dedicated webpage here. To see which towns and cities have already registered for the 2022 campaign, visit our participating towns & cities page.

#BikesforUkraine accepting donations to support transport of critical humanitarian aid

12 May 2022

#BikesforUkraine is an international campaign that calls on cycling community organisations, international and European institutions, and towns and cities for support in providing humanitarian volunteers with bicycles to transport critical aid in Ukraine.

According to the United Nations, 6 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Meanwhile, an estimated 6.5 million people are believed to be displaced within the country itself.

For those forced to flee to other countries, the European Union is offering key information in Ukrainian and Russian on how to best prepare and travel within the EU. However, for people that have chosen to remain in Ukraine to offer humanitarian aid to those who are unable to escape, a grass-roots campaign spearheaded by the Kyiv Cyclists’ Association (U-Cycle), Eco Misto (Chernihiv), Youth Association Extreme Style (Sumy), Urban Reform (Kharkiv) and FORZA (Uzhhorod) has emerged to increase the mobility of volunteers so that they able to reach those who need their help most.

#BikesforUkraine is an international campaign that calls on cycling community organisations, international and European institutions, and towns and cities for support. Among the many devastating consequences of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian mobility infrastructure and public transport have been damaged, making it almost impossible to travel within and between cities. As a result, the bicycle has surfaced as the main mode of transport and often is the only option for volunteers to deliver critical health and humanitarian services.

To ensure humanitarian aid is accessible in different Ukrainian cities, #BikesforUkraine is asking for help.

You can support by:

• Independently purchasing bicycles abroad or in Ukraine and transferring them to U-Cycle;
• Collecting and repairing used bicycles in your city and organising their transfer to Ukraine;
• If you are a cycling business – donating bicycles;
• Funding the purchase of bicycles in Ukraine via bank transfer or PayPal transfer to U-Cycle.

Bank transfer information:

Account number: UA403052990000026001006209584
Bank: CB PRIVATBANK Kiev
Bank code 305299
PayPal: nastia.makarenko7@gmail.com
Anastasiia Makarenko is an Executive Director of U-Cycle, Kyiv Cyclists’ Association.

Your donations will help purchase:
• 1 new bicycle – 250 euros
• 1 used bicycle – 100 euros
• 1/2 of a used bicycle – 50 euros
• 1/4 of a used bicycle – 25 euros
• Cable lock for a bicycle – 10 euros

By supporting #BikesforUkraine, you can help simplify logistics for vital humanitarian aid and support the Ukrainian economy. To help, fill in the form: https://forms.gle/66J2U5QBBo2ufRwf8

#BikesforUkraine also accepts requests for bicycles from organisations, youth centres and humanitarian hubs in Ukraine. Priority is given to cities and villages that are severely affected by hostilities and where public transport and infrastructure are inoperative. The initiative will also consider applications from cities accepting displaced persons. Apply for bikes here: https://forms.gle/M6Ago7zsCdhrHCDb9

This initiative is supported by ORESUND, a company offering transport solutions for sustainable mobility, and Changing Cities (Germany), an organisation supporting the transition to sustainable mobility from the bottom up.

Türkiye’s National Coordinator underscores the importance of sustainable mobility role models

26 April 2022

As Türkiye’s (Turkey) National Coordinator for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign, Ayben Okkali Aktaş believes it’s important to practise what you preach.

Brussels - In 2021, the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign recorded its highest ever participation of towns and cities across Europe, and beyond. Türkiye boasted an astonishing number of registrations, with 617 towns and cities organising awareness-raising activities, implementing permanent measures or hosting a Car-Free Day.

As EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK prepares to launch the 2022 campaign, we sat down with Ayben Okkali Aktaş to discuss the importance of sustainable mobility role models, integrated campaign planning, the European Year of Youth and challenges related to the rising popularity of e-scooters in Türkiye. Ayben works for the Union of Municipalities in Türkiye and has been the National Coordinator since 2018.

Turkish towns and cities have demonstrated a strong interest in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK over the past couple of years. Nevertheless, many people may not know about sustainable mobility or related behaviours. How do you think we can continue to increase awareness and, more importantly, encourage behavioural change?

Yes, I think it's an excellent question. And I appreciate you giving me a chance to discuss this. So it's clear that we have problems related to global urbanisation, not only in Turkish cities, but also in European cities and other parts of the world as well. And we have heavy traffic, problems with air and water quality, and environmental disasters that are happening due to climate change and so on. That's why we have to move toward sustainability. We have to find a solution for sustainability and we have to find a solution for public transportation because we need to be mobile; this is a human right: to go to work, follow an education and so on.

A good starting point is to invest in infrastructure, of course, and we should provide alternative forms of transport in our cities. We should also work to reduce citizens’ dependence on cars. This is very important, especially for short distances where we need to encourage our citizens to ride or to walk, or just to use public transportation. We should encourage our citizens to use alternative modes of transportation, like a car-sharing system.

Most importantly, from my point of view, we should increase awareness in the younger generation by being the ones who are setting a good example of these behaviours. While doing this, we should include city stakeholders, local partners, universities, cycling organisations, and so on.

I would like to point out that I walk from my apartment to my office. I know that I am a minority. I live in a metropolitan city, which has 6 million inhabitants. I am very lucky because my office is only one and a half kilometres away from my home. I don't have a car and I don't have a driver's licence, actually, because I am not interested in driving a car. I walk to work because I was born and raised in a small town.

My father was a municipal employee and he was always riding a bicycle or walking to work. So when I was growing up, I saw him riding a bicycle to go to the office and come back every day, sometimes four times a day, because he was going back and forth for lunch and then he'd go to the office and back home again, by bicycle or by walking.

And to get to the main point, to change our citizens’ mobility related behaviour, we should understand their needs first. This is important. We need to also work with children. We should be role models for them and then I believe we can influence their behaviour and integrate sustainable mobility into their lives. If we say you should choose sustainable mobility methods, but after the speech is delivered, we drive a car, it won’t work.

Your father’s mobility habits clearly had a big impact on you growing up. Being a role model is important. It doesn’t encourage anyone to adapt or change if we don’t practise what we preach.

I am located in between two bus stops and each of them is only two minutes away by foot. I can take a bus to go to the office, or I could use shared taxis, but this is not necessary. It's not only my office though; I also prefer to go to other places by walking. I always choose walking if it is less than two kilometres or I walk to one stop, then change my mode of transport and go by metro or bus. Sometimes, I even use E-scooters. We have E-scooter systems in some cities in Türkiye. I always do my best not to ask my relatives to drive me someplace. Instead, I always search for alternative methods of transport.

You mentioned the importance of having role models for children, what about young people between the ages of 18-25. What is Türkiye doing to engage with young people for the European Year of Youth?

I think we should start by investing in children, but of course, we need to reach young people who are older than 18, but are still young adults. So mostly university students in our cities. They don't usually have enough income to afford a car; car sharing systems could be an okay solution, but still, they need more sustainable methods of transportation. Basically, they need public transportation. So to change their outlook on car dependency and to search for alternative methods, like public transportation and beyond, we need to work with young people.

We need to make a real connection with young people: we have to go to them and ask what do you need?
For example, I am thinking about adding one more stop in front of your university. What do you think about that? Do you think you need it? Or do you need another direction to go by bus? We need to go and talk with young people about what they want.

It’s important to hear about their needs directly from their mouths.

We already have organised events for young people, but that doesn’t always work so well. Instead, we intend to organise events with young people and we need to include them more and more. Every year if we reach, for example, 100 young people from one city, the next year we should reach more university associations or bicycle federations or other NGOs. We just need to go and knock on their door and ask their opinion.

It's great that you mentioned this because we know young people want to participate and that they have a lot to contribute. So allowing them to organise an event with you will help ensure they are part of the solution.

I will say one more thing: so this past year, many of the municipalities organised great events in Türkiye. For example, there are the traffic-teaching campuses in our municipalities and they teach children how to ride a bike. However, they make an effort to include the parents, especially mothers, who don't know how to ride a bicycle. They integrate not only the children, but also the parents. So the kids also influence the parents’ or their family’s behaviour.

If the municipalities brought all the children to these campuses for a day, this would be a very enjoyable experience for the children and would work with mothers, or parents, at the same time to change their behaviour.

Engaging young people and families is very important. Could you share some advice on how to reach out to local partners in different organisations so that you can build those connections too?

Of course. So in our organisation, we organise at least two main events every year. One is organised with our President, Fatma Şahin. She joins us during a press conference where we invite journalists to brief them about the theme of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK for the year, and also to inform citizens and municipalities about upcoming events.

For the second event, we always organise a kick-off event or a final event, which is done in a different municipality each time. We invite the district municipalities to join us as well. As a host, the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye does most of the organisation. For example, in 2019, we invited other public institutions to join the campaign. One good example was that we invited the General Directorate of Turkish Post Offices to distribute their packages and letters by walking, and they joined the campaign. And of course, it was a successful event because we also registered their activities as MOBILITYACTIONS. We also invited other ministries to join our campaign and to encourage their staff members to ride bicycles to go to the office or to walk. It was a successful cooperation! As I already said, it is important to include local stakeholders, schools, parents and bicycle associations. We always recommend our municipalities do this.

Is there anything exciting that you would like to share that's coming up for this year’s campaign in Türkiye?

In the past, E-scooters were not that popular in Türkiye, but in the last two years they have become more and more popular. After the restrictions of the pandemic, people, and especially young people, decided to choose E-scooters, however, they are not always riding scooters safely because they don't wear helmets. So we decided to focus on safety and we are planning to organise some informative campaigns on social media about safety first. And, of course, we are working on the regulation of E-scooters in Türkiye because people are still confused about where to park and how to leave the scooters when they are done using them. We don’t want the E-scooters to cause any problems for parents with a baby carriage or people in wheelchairs, elderly people that might be accompanied by someone on the street, etc. So we need to think about these people as well when informing people about how to use scooters, and we don’t want people to leave scooters in pedestrian areas. We are planning to focus more on safety and thinking about how other citizens that are living with us are affected by these decisions.

Basically, we have many things to do! And in my organisation we have an amazing team; we are young and energetic, and ready to work. So let's see.

 

Kassel, Rethymno, Tampere and Valongo win the European sustainable urban mobility awards

28 March 2022

The winners of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards 2021, the 10th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP Award) and the EU Urban Road Safety Award were crowned today. The awards were presented this afternoon at a hybrid ceremony in Brussels hosted by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility.

Kassel (Germany) walked away with the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2021 for larger municipalities. Meanwhile, Valongo (Portugal) was awarded the title for smaller municipalities. The 10th SUMP Award was given to Tampere (Finland) and Rethymno (Greece) was revealed as the winner of the EU Urban Road Safety Award.

Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, lauded the award winners' and finalists' achievements:

“I would like to extend my congratulations to the winners of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards as well as to all finalists. These cities have taken concrete actions to tackle transport emissions, noise and congestion through innovative actions. With the new EU Urban Mobility Framework, we will support better planning of sustainable urban mobility, putting public transport, walking and cycling at the core of local authorities’ efforts to improve people’s everyday lives.”

Kassel (Germany) – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2021 for larger municipalities

The German city of Kassel impressed the jury with its creative set of activities that united local and regional transport partners to encourage behavioural change in both children and adults. From a treasure hunt for the campaign’s mascot across the city to the organisation of accessible walking and cycling tours, Kassel put its best foot forward for sustainable urban mobility during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2021. The city also implemented an array of permanent measures, including road safety signs near schools and the renovation of two busy streets to promote cycling.

The other finalists are Amadora (Portugal) and Lüleburgaz (Turkey).

Valongo (Portugal) – winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2021 for smaller municipalities

During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2021, Valongo prepared numerous innovative sustainable mobility actions and activities that focused on involving local people and organisations, especially schools. Their outstanding participation rate reflected the success of their plans, with people taking part in surveys, fitness classes, as well as a comic mobile theatrical performance of ‘Eco Cops’ performed from a pedal-powered eco-car in the city centre. Valongo also captured the jury’s attention with its permanent infrastructure for an extensive variety of transport modes - including initiatives centred on walking, cycling, public transport, road safety, accessibility and cleaner vehicles - that were designed using a holistic, long-term approach.

The other finalists are Alimos (Greece) and Miajadas (Spain).

Tampere (Finland) – winner of the 10th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP)

Tampere’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan stood out to the jury due to its multidisciplinary approach that empowers people to make healthier mobility choices that are active, safe and environmentally responsible. The ambitious plan includes impact assessments on the effect of mobility campaigns on the local population, as well as a focus on low-carbon mobility, road safety, vulnerable groups, smart mobility solutions, physical and mental well-being, accessibility and low pollution levels. Together with its educational unit, the mobility unit of the City of Tampere is already testing various pilot actions like active school trips by bicycle, on foot or by scooter, zebra crossing campaigns, and also highlighting the fundamental role of mobility in the creation of quality urban spaces.

The other finalists are Madrid (Spain) and Mitrovica South (Kosovo*).

Rethymno (Greece) – winner of the EU Urban Road Safety Award

The jury was impressed by Rethymno’s inclusive approach to road safety, which targets three main pillars: upgrading the public transport system, increasing and encouraging behavioural change through a variety of activities, and the establishment of integrated cooperation with local stakeholders. This comprehensive approach helps Rethymno balance its role as a tourist destination with the needs of local residents. The Greek city has also sought to replicate its success by sharing its experience and lessons learned with other municipalities to enhance the multiplication and transferability of road safety measures.

The other finalists are Florence (Italy) and Warsaw (Poland).

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

The year ahead: how does Greece’s National Coordinator begin campaign planning?

10 February 2022

It’s the start of a new year and that means that European towns and cities have another opportunity to raise awareness about sustainable mobility. National and local coordinators from across Europe, and beyond, are busy wrapping up last year’s activities and have begun planning for the months ahead. We sat down (virtually) with Kalliopi Papadaki, the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK National Coordinator for Greece, to discuss the next steps.

As the national coordinator for the campaign in Greece, what steps are you taking now to plan for the year ahead?

At this stage, I am supporting local coordinators as they begin their planning for the year. This includes sending informational material to every municipality in Greece and organising informative teleconferences to discuss challenges and strategies through local networks.

In addition, I am continuing to collect photos and descriptions of activities that were showcased during last year’s EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK to highlight exciting activities for our annual Mobility Week issue, which is distributed to cities across Greece in the hopes of inspiring further action. Each year an award ceremony recognising the previous years’ outstanding participants is also organised.

At the same time, we are promoting the campaign within the context of urban revitalisation studies that include participatory planning and public awareness as part of their core programme as well as joint promotion of the campaign with the Ministry of Education to activate schools' and students' participation, an especially important group for the European Year of Youth 2022.

Finally, I am currently helping connect a project that aims to install public bicycles throughout cities in Greece with the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign to expand impact.

For local NGOs, organisations, citizens and stakeholders who are trying to learn more about sustainable mobility in their area or who want to discover options for sustainable travel, what tips would you recommend?

I would recommend that local organisations interested in sustainable mobility cooperate with their local government to better serve people. This includes close collaboration with disability organisations and associations of seniors, parents and guardians.

The National Coordination in Greece has also sent information to many organisations and associations across the country and highly recommends that local coordinators do the same in their area as open channels of communication are essential to gathering new ideas and opinions.

An example where we would highlight the potential for sustainable travel and cooperation - that takes advantage of Greece’s beautiful natural landscape - is to promote hiking and the creation of trails outside of cities that are also connected to the cities themselves. Hiking clubs could be involved in the promotion and maintenance of these trails.

The European Commission has declared 2022 the European Year of Youth. What role do you see young people having in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign?

Young people can play a very important role in the campaign. In my experience, they are the group that most commonly uses bicycles and small mobility vehicles for transport. Young people are also more comfortable and familiar with new technology that helps with transportation issues. This is one of the many reasons why we have included youth policies in our work to promote their involvement. One idea that we are currently promoting is the organisation of ‘hackathons’ to gather new ideas from youth on how to travel sustainably.

Can you provide recent examples of sustainable mobility strategies or activities in Greece that involve young people (e.g. school children, teenagers, young adults or young professionals)? If not, what tips would you give local organisers to better involve young people?

Some recent examples of sustainable mobility activities in Greece that involve youth include a variety of both permanent measures and awareness-raising actions. For example, we have implemented permanent measures to create school routes and ‘children’s roads’; neighbourhoods with low speed limits; neighbourhoods with sloping sidewalks for children to play on; the creation of bicycle stations in schools, and smart pedestrian crossings, among others.

Examples of awareness-raising actions include the adoption of a pocket park or hiking trail by groups of young people; public transport cards for young people between the ages of 12 – 25; training programmes for hiking guides, and volunteering programmes for young people to support the elderly in their daily transportation needs.

Based on your experience organising the campaign in Greece, what age groups would you say are the most active? Do you notice any differences in mobility patterns between ages groups?

In my opinion, the most active group is between the ages of 18 – 30 years old. Some older people may find it more difficult to change their habits according to new developments. In addition, primary school children are very receptive to our campaigns and I believe this is a really important group to communicate with so that they learn healthy, sustainable mobility habits early on.

Interested in learning more about what’s happening in your area? Find your country’s national website here or check out last year’s activities here.

New European Urban Mobility Framework prioritises sustainable mobility and cleaner, healthier cities

14 December 2021

This afternoon, the European Commission adopted four proposals designed to modernise the EU’s transport system and address core mobility challenges – such as congestion, noise pollution and poor air quality - that cities across Europe are facing.

One of these proposals, the newly launched Urban Mobility Framework (UMF), provides guidance for European cities on how to reduce emissions and improve mobility, including via Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). The framework emphasises the importance of public transport and forms of active mobility, namely walking and cycling. In addition to prioritising zero-emission solutions for urban fleets as part of the framework, the Commission also aims to propose a Recommendation to EU Member States to develop national plans that will offer cities assistance when drafting local mobility plans. The proposal also provides information about funding opportunities for local and regional authorities to implement these priorities.

Invest in a healthy future via sustainable mobility

With 70% of the EU population living in cities and 23% of the EU’s transport greenhouse gas emissions coming from urban areas, it is more important than ever before to create cleaner and healthier urban environments by investing in sustainable mobility. The UMF's toolbox offers local administrations instruction on how to build stronger public transport networks, improved active mobility options, better management of mobility flows, modern stations and much more.

Many local administrations across Europe are already doing this work as demonstrated by the astounding 3,184 towns and cities that registered for this year’s EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign. Through their work over the years, participating local administrations, citizens and organisations have helped the EU further its efforts to achieve significant milestones, such as the 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030 – of which sustainable urban mobility is a key component – and the European Green Deal.

The Urban Mobility Framework also provides a useful structure for cities to connect various mobility initiatives with European wide climate and health related goals, and will be a critical tool for ambitious EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK towns and cities who have or are currently implementing permanent measures, organising awareness-raising activities, drafting SUMPs and more.

Alongside the new Urban Mobility Framework, which shifts away from an approach based on traffic flow to an approach based on moving people and goods more sustainably, the Commission aims to modernise Europe’s transport system by facilitating increased connectivity and by moving more passengers and freight to rail and inland waterways. As a whole, the proposals will put the EU’s transport sector on a path to cutting its emissions by 90%.

For more information about the new Urban Mobility Framework, click here. Explore the various proposals, here. Finally, find frequently asked questions about the framework, here.

Help us choose the most outstanding MOBILITY ACTION of 2021

6 December 2021

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK enjoyed enormous success in 2021, with 3,184 towns and cities registering their participation for the main event from 16 to 22 September! In addition, 645 MOBILITYACTIONS were registered by schools, NGOs, businesses, cities and other organisations throughout the year. Four of these have been selected as finalists for the title of Best MOBILITYACTION 2021, and now we need your help to decide the winner.

On 6 December, a social media competition was launched on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. The finalist with the most likes and shares by midnight (Brussels Time) on 20 December will be crowned the Best MOBILITYACTION of 2021. The winner will be announced the following day, on 21 December 2021.

The four nominees have submitted exceptional MOBILITYACTIONS, which are ideas, projects and campaigns that promote sustainable urban mobility and behavioural change in favour of active mobility.

Learn more about our four fabulous finalists below and make sure to vote by liking and sharing their social media posts.

Candidate 1

Designing the new MobilityHub
WeCity is partnering with the City of Utrecht, the Netherlands, to design a MobilityHub that fits the needs of a modern city and its environmentally conscious residents. A continuing loss of space requires cities to change how they view mobility: WeCity envisions a hub where citizens can rent an electric bicycle, share cars, charge electric vehicles, pick up packages, grab lunch and so much more! This one-stop-hub could just be the future of sustainable transport, which is why WeCity has carefully crafted an architectural design, from a technical perspective, for service providers to realise a new type of MobilityHub.

Twitter post | Instagram post | Facebook post
Organiser: WeCity

Candidate 2

Prototype rearrangement of traffic at Miarki Street in Bytom
Miarki street is a notably busy roadway located in the centre of Bytom, Poland, where cars regularly exceed the 40kmh speed limit with some even reaching up to 120 km per hour. As a result of this, city life cannot flourish. That’s why Metropolia GZM developed, and launched, a prototype for the rearrangement of traffic on Miarki street. The prototype was designed using in-depth research, interviews with residents and consultations; testing will last one and half months. After the testing period, successful corrections will be implemented and a permanent rearrangement will enter into force.

Twitter post | Instagram post | Facebook post
Organiser: Metropolia GZM

Candidate 3
Earn points on your eco-friendly travels in Östersund, Sweden
The City of Östersund, Sweden, teamed up with Kobla AS to create and promote an eco-friendly app, Resvis, that awards points based on users’ mobility choices and factors like weather conditions. The app makes it possible to win small prizes like gift cards and users competed against each other to reign supreme in an eco-league, in addition to following a dedicated news channel, during Östersund’s 2021 Mobility Week. Who said active mobility and sustainable transport couldn’t be any fun?

Twitter post | Instagram post | Facebook post
Organiser: Kobla AS

Candidate 4

Bologna 30 - Make Bologna a 30kmh city right now!
Inspired by peers in Paris, Brussels, Geneva, Helsinki and beyond, 30logna, or Bologna30, is a citizen-driven initiative that collects scientific evidence, data, statistics and best practices from across Europe to create awareness surrounding the dangers of inner-city traffic and to support a petition to the new mayor of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy to make the university city adopt a 30kmh limit. The initiative is in the midst of garnering at least 10.000 signatures and has produced engaging material to teach residents about the challenges Bologna faces due to traffic – including 2.600 serious injuries related to traffic per year and noise pollution. The project also offers a look at what could happen if the city were to adopt this measure, namely less noise, pollution and a lower injury and mortality rate.

Twitter post | Instagram post | Facebook post
Organiser: 30logna

 

Leveraging local support for national success: discover how EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK is organised in Spain

1 December 2021

Organising a successful EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign is no easy task; each country has its own unique approach and best practices. We sat down (virtually) with the Spanish National Coordination to discover how they have been able to build, maintain and grow successful participation throughout the years.

Who coordinates EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain? What role does the Spanish National Coordination play in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign?

Since the origin of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, the General Directorate of Environmental Quality and Assessment of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge has been the National Coordinator of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain. The Directorate is responsible for the promotion and coordination of this initiative and represents Spain in the European Coordination of the project.

The coordination of Mobility Week in Spain involves supporting local administrations to develop and implement the campaign in their towns and cities. Daily work includes developing communication techniques, disseminating information and news related to sustainable mobility, adapting and translating campaign materials, preparing detailed reports with participation data, managing the registrations of the campaign for Spain, providing companies and municipalities with assistance, organising events like photography contests and the National Awards, and much more.

The Spanish Coordination also maintains close cooperation with different actors related to mobility, such as the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the General Directorate of Traffic, etc. A clear example of this coordination is the organisation of the National Mobility Week Awards in Spain, which was hosted jointly with the Ministry of Transport for the first time this year.

This year, the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK theme is ‘Safe and Healthy with Sustainable Mobility.’ How do you approach coordinating Mobility Week in Spain? In your experience, what theme has resonated the most?

We believe that the theme chosen for this year's campaign was a great success! The campaign’s focus on health brought attention to the adversities suffered by Europe - and the rest of the world - during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to providing an opportunity to reflect and change. Thus, this year, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has celebrated the resilience of towns and cities, and their achievements.

As part of the Spanish National Coordination we organised, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Transport, a webinar focused on mobility and health. The webinar, which hosted almost 250 attendees, enlisted the participation of 16 professionals and focused on sectoral policies related to sustainable mobility, the National Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, mobility and childhood, and best practices.

We believe that themes focused on walking and cycling continue to have a great impact in Spain. In 2019, the campaign theme focused on walking and cycling, and Spain experienced record participation (561 towns and cities). We believe that these two examples of active mobility will help us achieve a sustainable mobility culture. For this reason, the Spanish local authorities continue to implement permanent measures year after year that favour and promote active mobility.

In 2021, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK experienced a recording breaking number of registrations with 3,184 towns and cities registering their participation. Spain noted a remarkable 463 registrations, the most of any European Union member. What did you do to mobilise cities, towns and participants for this year’s campaign? Did you experience significant challenges related to the pandemic?

Since the campaign was first launched in Spain, we have sought to integrate different actors and stakeholders (cities, towns, companies, civil society, etc.) into the process. Therefore, the successes observed this year are partly the result of many years of work.

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain is organised like a pyramid, and includes autonomous communities and local entities as well as other national institutions such as the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the General Directorate of Traffic, etc.

From the beginning, the Spanish Coordination has wanted to give added value to the implementation of permanent measures, even making them a mandatory participation criterion for some years. This explains the large amount of permanent measures implemented by Spanish municipalities over the years. We believe that Permanent Measures are the criterion that gives true credibility to this initiative, since its durability over time implies an evident transformation of our towns and cities into more liveable, safe and sustainable spaces for citizens.

Additionally, we created a charter to encourage the participation of companies, institutions, civil society organisations, etc., similar to the one for municipalities, allowing these entities to show their commitment to sustainable mobility.

In addition to having exceptional participation numbers, Spain’s media coverage of the campaign also stood out. What were the main discussion threads in local and national media?

Every year, the media tends to strongly represent EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain, due to high participation numbers in our country. Although numerous national media outlets have highlighted the campaign as a whole, local media continues to stand out, describing the activities carried out and the permanent measures implemented in specific cities and towns such as provisional roadblocks, free public transport and fairs, and exhibitions.

What are your hopes for next year’s campaign?

In 2022, we expect an increase in active participation from municipalities, companies, institutions, social organisations and other entities, thus recovering the upward trend in Spanish participation before the pandemic.

We also hope to get more municipalities to implement permanent measures, integrating them into their Urban Mobility Plans. The implementation of these measures may play a key role in the decarbonisation of urban transport and in meeting the new WHO air quality standards. These permanent measures must aim to achieve a modal distribution that prioritises active mobility, in addition to reducing private motorised traffic and achieving increasingly cleaner public transport.

Finally, we hope to continue expanding our network of regional coordinators and to ensure that the social aspect of sustainable mobility becomes more important.