EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK News

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EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2020: promoting zero-emission mobility for all

16 September 2020

Watch out for car-free streets, walking tours, and interactive workshops as EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK (16-22 September) kicks off today in towns and cities across Europe.

The clean and sustainable transport campaign will see over 2,700 towns and cities from close to 50 countries host their own events, shining a spotlight on the importance of zero-emission mobility for all. This is the 19th year of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and its well-known car-free day, when streets close for motorised traffic and open for pedestrians, cyclists, hoverboarders, e-scooter riders and more!

EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: “This year is a big challenge for our towns and cities. But the pandemic also showed us that people appreciate and expect our cities to become safer, cleaner and accessible to all. During this week and beyond, our partner cities from all around Europe will show how greener and more digital European towns and cities could look.

In parallel, and in cooperation with EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, the European network of road traffic police forces (ROADPOL) is organising a new campaign for road safety – the ROADPOL Safety Days (previously ‘Project EDWARD’). As part of the campaign, national police forces will record the number of road deaths on 17 September, aiming for zero deaths on that day. Public events will highlight the role that every road-user can play in avoiding fatalities, as well as the importance of traffic police in enforcing the rules and working towards the EU’s ‘Vision Zero’ – zero road deaths and serious injuries on European roads by 2050.   

Initiatives across Europe

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK provides an opportunity for local governments across Europe (and beyond) to enable residents to test out active mobility modes and discover the benefits of sustainable forms of transport.

This year, Essen (Germany) will launch the city’s first sidewalk extension (or parklet), and will organise workshops on road safety and sustainable mobility, examining for example how local businesses can become bicycle-friendly employers. In addition, the city will launch a new e-charging station, and will install smart lamp posts.

Lahti (Finland) will celebrate the week with guided walking tours, workshops and seminars on the importance of sustainable mobility. A clean-up day will be organised, where residents are encouraged to get together clear litter from public areas around the city.

Cesena (Italy) will use the week as an opportunity to seek feedback from local residents on their new sustainable urban mobility plan. In addition, the city will invite children to submit photographs and drawings, illustrating their experience of commuting in the city.

Girona (Spain) will hand out a free breakfast to reward those who cycle to work. In addition, the city will organise guided walking tours, workshops on bicycle safety and maintenance, an exhibition on electric and hybrid vehicles, and a film screening on sustainable mobility.

Gdańsk (Poland) is arranging bicycle trips to local monuments and attractions. During car-free day, residents owning a car will be able to access public transport for free.

Participation

This year, in light of the pandemic, towns and cities have maximum flexibility when participating. Local authorities can register their events and permanent infrastructure initiatives as usual, but also their online alternatives and their short-term measures to help people move around safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures may include the temporary reallocation of road space to create pop-up bike lanes, or the introduction of speed restrictions.

Besides towns and cities, participation is warmly encouraged by others, including businesses, institutions, NGOs, schools and higher education institutions. All may register their MOBILITYACTION all year round.

Local authorities can apply for several awards in the context of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK:

  • EU Urban Road Safety Award, rewarding local authorities for innovative measures to improve road safety. The call for applications is open from 29 September to 31 October 2020.

  • EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards for local authorities that make significant efforts to promote sustainable urban mobility during the campaign. The application period is from 29 September to 31 October 2020.

  • SUMP Award presented to local and regional authorities that have achieved excellence in sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP). The deadline for applications is 31 October 2020.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Best Practice Guide 2020 released

11 September 2020

The 2020 edition of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Best Practice Guide features the outstanding achievements of the six local authorities that were selected as finalists for the 2019 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards.

Kruševac (Serbia) the winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for larger municipalities impressed the jury with its strong citizen participation and political support. During the week, the city installed new cycle paths, walkways, public squares,  urban parks,  benches, a public garage, and turned several traffic light junctions into roundabouts with greenery and sculptures.

Rethymno (Greece) and Wrocław (Poland) were the runners up for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for larger municipalities.

Karditsa (Greece) the winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for smaller municipalities organised a festival-like week of mobility celebrations, involving dozens of partners, including schools, music schools, government departments, police, firemen, associations and businesses. 

If the atmosphere alone wasn’t enough, new incentives like financial benefits for companies adopting sustainable mobility measures, and days off work for employees commuting by bicycle or on foot showed people that safe walking and cycling are appealing for reasons beyond health and wellbeing.

Alfândega da Fé (Portugal) and Paide (Estonia) were the runners up for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for smaller municipalities.

The guide also includes a number of inspiring MOBILITYACTIONs organised by NGOs, universities and private organisations, alongside good examples of activities carried out by municipalities both in and outside of Europe, and best practice by the National Coordination teams in a number of countries.

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

New EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK factsheet presents 10 lessons learnt during COVID-19 lockdown

29 July 2020

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has launched a new factsheet presenting towns and cities with 10 lessons learnt from the COVID-19 lockdown regarding better urban mobility.

The lessons vary from remembering that public space is precious and thus cities should be built for people, not cars; to the impact that working from home and buying goods online has on our environment and mobility patterns.

The document also provides towns and cities with creative suggestions of activities they could organise during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020. For example, conducting polls among local residents to identify challenges and wishes for the use of public space and the way residents move, and organising a ‘selfie contest’ on social media to encourage locals to post pictures of themselves using environmentally-friendly transport options.

To read the full list of lessons learnt, and to take inspiration from the examples provided, click here.

An interview with Brussels Capital Region, winner of the 8th SUMP Award

28 July 2020

Bruno Van Loveren, Strategy and Programming Director, Mobility Planning Authority, Brussels Capital Region (Belgium) spoke to us about winning the 8th sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP) Award, what it means to the city, and shares advice he would give to other cities looking to follow in their footsteps.


What has the reaction been among citizens and stakeholders to the Brussels Capital Region winning the SUMP award? What does winning the SUMP Award mean to the city?

Unfortunately, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment, it is difficult to describe whether a buzz, if there was one, happened. We were all isolated and everything took place remotely - even the announcement of the award itself took place online and we followed it on Twitter.

We would have preferred to receive the award at the ceremony, as it was originally planned - it would have been an opportunity to exchange with the other finalists. However, we received numerous messages of congratulations from many different sectors, including the political world. 

We are obviously very proud to have received this award, especially since we also won it three years ago for our logistics schemes. For those of us who work in the planning department, it's a great reward and confirmation that our approach is relevant and recognised as such.

This is in fact the third SUMP that has been developed for Brussels. The results of the first two are mixed, without taking away their quality. We were all convinced that this one was different and is going to change things - this award is a nice validation of that.


Can you tell us a little bit about the process of designing your SUMP? What was it, do you think, that appealed to the Jury?

I would like to quote the words of the jury, which underline the way our SUMP conceives the city as an ecosystem, and the impressive participation system that has been put in place. These two elements, in my opinion, are intimately linked. It is through involving all stakeholders and listening to citizens that we have been able to gradually take into account all the dimensions of the mobility policy.

The system put in place is in fact unprecedented, at least for Brussels, in terms of its scope, its duration and the diversity of the public that we wanted to involve in the approach. It is this process itself that has led us to put aside an overly technical approach to mobility and to refocus on users, their needs, and above all their living environment.

This participatory approach is a key to the success of SUMP and, we hope to its implementation. The overwhelming majority of stakeholders recognise the value of the process, that they were able to express themselves and that they were heard, even if they do not always agree with some of the measures.


What advice would you give to cities that are looking to follow in your footsteps and win the SUMP Award?

Every city and region is different and I do not know to what extent Brussels can be an example. We are in any case open and interested in exchanging with other cities in a more in-depth way. It is also an opportunity to talk about what we have done wrong, which I am not going to discuss here, as after all we just won the SUMP Award!

If I had to give some general advice, first of all I would say that this is a long-term process - more than three years as far as we are concerned, which has to be prepared accordingly. As with all projects that take a long time, we must also accept that there will be changes along the way. The SUMP Guidelines developed by the European Commission are an interesting resource from this point of view. Of course, I say this when we ourselves did not take them into account at all, or rather, when we found out a posteriori that we had unknowingly followed them.

Finally, in order to make a process of this magnitude successful, objectives and a clear guideline are needed. From this point of view, political support, which can be limited to a simple lack of interference, is absolutely essential.

Kruševac, Karditsa and Brussels celebrated in new EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK videos

24 July 2020

Three new videos have been launched showcasing the sustainable mobility activities of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award winners for 2019, and the winner of the 8th SUMP award. The videos were filmed on location in Kruševac (Serbia), Karditsa (Greece), and Brussels (Belgium) and feature interviews with key mobility experts within the municipalities.

The videos outline how the award-winning cities are working to make sustainable mobility the number one choice for citizens in their respective cities.

Mayor of Kruševac, Jasmina Palurovic, highlights the infrastructural changes the city has made to support an increase in walking and cycling. While, Vasilios Tsiakos, Mayor of Karditsa, discusses why the City considers it important to promote active mobility, and how they are encouraging their residents to make the modal shift from car to bicycle.

Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Mobility, Public Works and Road Safety, Elke Van den Brandt, outlines the mobility challenges the city faces and how their ‘good move’ strategy seeks to overcome them.

Through these videos, viewers are granted a look at the innovative activities and measures that led these cities to win the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and SUMP Awards.

To view the video on Kruševac, click here.

To view the video on Karditsa, click here.

To view the video on Brussels, click here.

Towns and cities invited to register for Urban Mobility Days 2020

22 July 2020

Registration for Urban Mobility Days 2020, the European Commission’s first large-scale digital urban mobility conference, is now open. The event will take place online from 29 September-02 October under the theme of “zero-emission mobility for all“.

Leading figures from the world of mobility will gather to discuss urgent topics, including: What’s next for urban mobility in the EU? Is the EU a leader in the global urban mobility transition? In the wake of COVID-19, how can cities plan for resilient and sustainable urban mobility? How can MaaS contribute to zero-emission mobility? UVARs - where do we stand?

In addition to these and many other engaging discussions, the conference will feature presentations to discuss results and lessons learnt from various urban mobility projects.

Through its showcasing of leading success stories in the field, the event is also ideal for town and city representatives to learn how to turn the theme of the conference – "zero-emission mobility for all" – into reality.

Urban Mobility Days unites two flagship events in the urban mobility calendar – the CIVITAS Forum Conference and the European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

It represents a unique forum for interaction between policymakers, local authorities, academics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), other mobility practitioners and those putting the SUMP concept into practice.

As mobility can no longer be regarded as merely moving from A to B, Urban Mobility Days will go beyond transport and link zero-emission mobility initiatives with wider EU efforts to tackle climate change and make Europe a carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

For more information, to view the latest programme, and to register to participate in the conference, click here.

European Commission launches public consultation on the future of transport

3 July 2020

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future of transport to allow both stakeholders and citizens to comment and identify their priorities.

The consultation will be open until 23 September and will enable the Commission to better understand how the EU can help the sector become more sustainable and competitive, more modern and resilient to crises.

Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean said: “We are encouraging our citizens and stakeholders to take part in the public consultation. Mobility is a key priority and our new strategy aims at creating a crisis-proof transport system for us and for the generations to come. We shall start from recovery and build a solid structure on this foundation, fit both for the challenges and advantages of a more digital and green future.”

Transport and mobility play a vital role in the everyday lives of people and businesses. European transport policy is designed to meet their needs, as well as to address climate change and to capitalise on the benefits of digitisation.

In order to best achieve these multiple aims, the European Commission is working on a comprehensive Strategy for a Sustainable and Smart Mobility. The Strategy was announced as part of the European Green Deal, and is scheduled for release before the end of 2020. It will supersede the 2011 Transport White Paper as the European Commission’s vision for transport.

The consultation is available on the ‘Have your say’ portal where citizens and stakeholders are invited to log in and share their feedback and opinions. Access it here and make your voice heard.

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
EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award?

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.