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European Commission releases COVID-19 related guidance on urban mobility

18 May 2020

The European Commission has released guidance on how to safely resume travel and tourism as COVID-19 restrictions begin to soften. As part of this, the Commission is encouraging and supporting the progress of new urban mobility solutions, such as extending pavements and bicycle paths or even adapting timetables.

Even though public transport has continued to run in many cities, measures to ensure safety will be necessary as passenger numbers begin to rise. These include:

  • Upholding safe minimum distancing;
  • Minimising contact between drivers and passengers;
  • Increasing and adapting operational frequency;
  • Using automatic or driver operated doors to avoid passengers touching door handles;
  • Optimising passenger flows to avoid overcrowding.

Communication of measures taken is essential to enable smooth execution and reassure citizens. Campaigns such as ‘stand on stickers’ have proven to be successful. These measures could fall outside the remit of public transport so consultation with health authorities and stakeholder will be necessary. The costs could be combined into public service contracts.

Shared mobility companies should help protect users from infection. Rental vehicles should be thoroughly cleaned on return, whilst shared vehicles should be cleaned at least once every day of use. Station based services such as shared bicycles should be cleaned more regularly. E-scooters and e-bikes should be clean at least after every battery charge.

Temporary enlargements of pavements and bicycle lanes will help make active mobility users stay safe. Reducing speed limits of vehicles in heavy traffic areas will also help.

Platforms for sharing best practices are available but should still be developed further. The Commission is planning to gather Member States, local authorities and urban mobility stakeholders to analyse the impacts of COVID-19 and guide future sustainable mobility solutions in the EU.

Read the "COVID-19: Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services and connectivity" here.

Registration for EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2020 now open

18 May 2020

Towns and cities across Europe and further afield can now register their participation in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020.

The annual campaign, which takes place from 16-22 September each year, is organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport and seeks to improve quality of life through promoting clean mobility and sustainable urban transport. This year’s campaign puts the spotlight on ‘zero emission mobility for all’. For more information about this year's theme, take a look at our Thematic Guidelines.

To respond to the uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, registration by towns and cities this year has maximum flexibility to cover events and measures as usual, or online alternatives and all innovative COVID-19 transport solutions, with no obligation to select any of the three options – holding a week of activities focused on sustainable mobility, implementing one or more permanent transport measures, or holding a ‘Car-Free-Day’

Last year’s EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK saw a record-breaking 3,135 towns and cities from 50 countries take part in the campaign.

Businesses, NGOs, schools and other actors, including cities, who want to get involved in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign are also invited to register their MOBILITYACTION online.

A MOBILITYACTION is any action that promotes the idea of sustainable urban mobility. It can be limited to a specific day or last for several weeks/months and can take place at any moment of the year.

For more information and to register for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2020, click here

Helsinki and Oslo cut pedestrian and bicycle road deaths!

24 April 2020

Helsinki (Finland) and Oslo (Norway) have spent years working to become global leaders in safe and sustainble urban mobility. In 2019, they achieved a new milestone along this path, recording zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

Achieving this road safety milestone was the product of a number of transport interventions.

Helsinki cites speed reductions as being essential to achieving road safety. Much of the city centre is now a 30km/h zone, and speed limits have been gradually reduced across the city over the past few decades. Speed is also controlled via speed bumps, elevated pedestrian crossings, and roundabouts, among other measures.

In a press release, Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki notes, “Enhanced traffic safety is the sum of several factors. Traffic safety has improved due to improvements to the street environment, increased traffic control, the development of vehicle safety measures and technology, and better rescue services.”

Meanwhile, Oslo's safety measures have helped Norway to be the country with the lowest road mortality in all of Europe. To protect vulnerable road users, Oslo has reduced car traffic, improved infrastructure, enforced lower speed limits and introduced "heart zones" (hjertesoner) near schools.

For more information, read here.

European Commission's first Urban Mobility Days set to take place 29 September – 1 October 2020

26 March 2020

From 29 September to 1 October 2020, the European Commission is hosting its first Urban Mobility Days conference in Brussels on the theme of “zero-emission mobility for all“.

The conference combines two leading events from Europe’s transport calendar: the CIVITAS Forum Conference and the European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

It will bring together policymakers, local authorities, academics, NGOs, urban transport practitioners, urban planners and all those putting the SUMP concept into practice. Over 600 attendees are expected to participate in Urban Mobility Days 2020.

Over the course of the three-day conference, delegates will feast on sustainable urban mobility success stories from the CIVITAS Living Labs projects - and other examples of pioneering excellence from Europe and further afield.

These will equip attendees with inspiration, tools and know-how to further advance clean and sustainable transport in line with the European Green Deal.

With such a wealth of experts and knowledge coming together in one place, Urban Mobility Days provides the ideal opportunity to network, debate key issues, and exchange ideas on emerging transport trends and technologies and the latest developments in sustainable urban mobility planning.

The conference will also go beyond transport by connecting zero-emission mobility initiatives with broader EU efforts to tackle climate change and make Europe a carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Registration and further details about the conference programme are coming soon. In the meantime, click here for more information.

New SUMP self-assessment tool launched

3 March 2020

Would you like to develop a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) but are not sure where to start? Would you like to evaluate mobility planning in your city and receive tailored feedback on how to further improve?

A new SUMP self-assessment tool has just launched to provide the support that cities and local governments need.

The tool is particularly useful for local authorities who find themselves at the beginning of their SUMP process, and for cities and regions who want to evaluate their planning status.

By answering custom-made questions, local authorities can assess how their current urban mobility plan compares with the SUMP approach.

Individual feedback is given to help identify potential areas of improvement, to determine areas that are already aligned with SUMP principles, and to provide specific measures on how to advance the process.

The updated self-assessment tool includes tailor-made questions for:

  • Different SUMP starting points;
  • Planners who want to assess the quality of a completed SUMP;
  • Local authorities who want to assess the quality of their general mobility planning activities before starting a SUMP and at different points in the process; and
  • Planners working on the regional level.

Extended feedback is given to respondents following completion of the questionnaire. This provides an individual assessment, advice, links to further reading, and relevant good practice examples.

The tool was launched during the final CIVITAS SUMPs-Up project event, which took place on 19 February in Brussels (Belgium). The project was responsible for the tool's redevelopment, based on the second edition of the EU SUMP Guidelines, which were released in autumn 2019.

Try out the new self-assessment tool here.

European Commission announces sustainable mobility award nominees

27 February 2020

The finalists of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards, the Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP Award) and the first EU Urban Road Safety Award were revealed today.

All awards recognise remarkable activities carried out in 2019. The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards showcase local authorities making a significant effort to promote sustainable urban mobility during the focal week; the SUMP Award recognises excellence in sustainable urban mobility planning; and the Road Safety Award celebrates outstanding road safety measures. The annual theme for all awards was safe walking and cycling.


The finalists for the award for larger municipalities are:

  • Kruševac (Serbia)
  • Rethymno (Greece)
  • Wrocław (Poland)

The jury was impressed by:
- Kruševac’s wide programme of activities, underpinned by strong citizen participation, which saw the redesign of public spaces, removal of parking places, and the creation of urban parks;
- Rethymno’s use of communication activities to engage local residents in discussions on air quality, renewable energy and road safety;
- Wrocław’s strong focus on the week’s theme of safe walking and cycling, which was promoted through engaging and informative events.

The finalists for the award for smaller municipalities (less than 50 000 inhabitants) are:

  • Alfândega da Fé (Portugal)
  • Karditsa (Greece)
  • Paide (Estonia)

- Alfândega da Fé was praised for its diverse and comprehensive activities, making streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists;
- Karditsa impressed the jury with its use of promotional materials and partnerships to support sustainable mobility;
- Paide’s use of local communication channels and involvement of local politicians was appreciated by the jury.

8th SUMP Award

The finalists for the sustainable urban mobility planning award are:

  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Kaunas (Lithuania)
  • Wrocław (Poland)

The jury was impressed by:
- Brussels’ policy-driven vision, which is built upon impressive citizen participation, stakeholder outreach, and an understanding of the city as an ecosystem;
- Kaunas’ well thought out and progressive approach to sustainable mobility planning, recognising the role of enforcement in making the plan a reality;
- Wrocław’s integrated, holistic, and innovative approach to sustainable mobility planning, which is bolstered by strong neighbourhood planning and citizen engagement.

EU Urban Road Safety Award

In addition, for the first time, the Urban Road Safety Award celebrates outstanding and innovative achievements by local authorities in the area of road safety.

The finalists are:

  • Jaworzno (Poland)
  • Ordu (Turkey)
  • Pontevedra (Spain)

The jury praised in particular:
- Jaworzno’s action to reduce speed limits, increase the number of public transport users, and involve local residents in the design of renovated streets;
- Ordu’s courageous decision to pedestrianise the busiest parts of the city, remove heavy car traffic from the city centre, and create new bicycle routes;
- Pontevedra’s effective and sustained reduction in the number of road fatalities and injuries, its clear monitoring strategy, and its focus on active mobility, such as walking and cycling.

All shortlisted cities were selected by an independent panel of mobility and transport experts. The four winners will be announced via a press release and on social media during the month of May.

An interview with Soledad Perlado Hergueta, National Coordinator for Spain

26 February 2020

What role do you play in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign?
The Spanish Ministry for ‘Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge’ has been responsible for organising the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign in Spain since its inception, and provides local actors with technical assistance to develop and implement the campaign in their towns and cities.

Such technical assistance includes:

  • Developing communication techniques, and disseminating information about EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain, as well as disseminating any news related to sustainable mobility;
  • Adapting and translating campaign materials developed by the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK European Secretariat;
  • Creating communications material, such as our three annual bulletins, detailed final report with participation data, press releases, etc;
  • Managing, reviewing and approving municipality registrations on the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website;
  • Providing technical assistance to companies, associations and municipalities;
  • Organising events, such as the National Awards and conferences to promote sustainable mobility.

Spain had a record-breaking year in 2019, registering the most cities, golden participants, and Car-Free Days. How did you achieve this?

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

From the beginning, we have given added value to the implementation of permanent measures, even making them a mandatory participation criterion for some years. This explains the large number of permanent measures implemented by Spanish municipalities throughout the years.

Additionally, the participation of companies, institutions, civil society organisations, etc. was encouraged through a charter of commitment.

Finally, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain is organised through a pyramid structure, which includes autonomous communities, municipalities, and other national institutions such as the IDAE (Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy), the General Directorate of Traffic, etc.

What do you think Spanish cities and towns gain from taking part in
On the one hand, cities and towns feel that by participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, they are working towards a common goal with other European municipalities. This helps them develop specific policies that, although sometimes viewed as being controversial (traffic closure, pedestrianization, etc.), are accepted by local residents as part of a common European policy.

On the other hand, cities and towns benefit from conceptual support for their sustainable urban mobility policy by the European Commission and the European Secretariat for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, such as the Good Practice Guide.

In addition, the European nature of the campaign fosters a connection between participants from different countries, and enables networking and the exchange of knowledge and good practice. Many of the measures implemented in one municipality are replicable in others, so having an information bank, such as the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website, with details of past participation, is a great resource for everyone.

Finally, through winning or even being nominated for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK awards, municipalities gain important recognition at the European level.

Such recognition brings the work done by the administration to the attention of the local residents, and provides an impetus for cities and towns to implement new measures and further increase public awareness.

What are the main challenges that you faced in getting cities interested and engaged in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain?
The main challenge was the number of elections (national, regional, municipal and European) which took place last year.

Changing government and especially local administrations, in the months before the start of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, makes it difficult for towns and cities to participate.

Additionally, there are still a number of municipalities who participate with activities during the week, but do not register their formal participation on the campaign website. Therefore, they are not included in the participation data.

During last year’s campaign, we paid special attention to these cases, contacting those municipalities to communicate the importance and advantages of officially joining the campaign.

What are your hopes for the campaign in 2020 in Spain?
In 2020 I hope to:

  • Continue increasing the active involvement of municipalities, companies, institutions, civil society organisations and trade unions;
  • Get more municipalities to implement permanent measures, integrating them into their Urban Mobility Plans;· Expand our network of regional coordinators;
  • Ensure that the social aspect of sustainable mobility becomes more important, especially taking into account the theme of the 2020 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign (zero-emission mobility for all. Also, increase the importance of the Workplace Travel Plans, both in Spanish and European policies).
  • Promote a Technical Committee for the coordination of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, which will serve as an advisory department for the further development of the project in Spain, and will be composed of different departments of the National Administration, companies, institutions, civil society organisations, the Autonomous Communities, etc.

Local authorities invited to fill in EU transport survey

18 February 2020

The European Commission is conducting an evaluation of its 2011 White Paper titled, ‘Roadmap to a single European transport area – towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’.

The White Paper was adopted in 2011 and defined the long-term vision for a European transport sector that serves the needs of the economy and citizens, whilst responding to future challenges related to oil dependency, growing congestion and pollution, and the need to cut CO2 emissions.

It set out a strategy based on 40 action points in four broad areas. These aim to eliminate internal market barriers, and support innovation and infrastructure.

The Commission has contracted a team led to undertake a study to evaluate the White Paper. The objective of the support study is to provide a comprehensive evaluation and to collect and analyse evidence to help assess whether it has achieved its objectives in an effective and efficient manner.

In addition, the study aims to determine whether its objectives and priorities remain relevant with emerging needs, and whether it remains consistent with other EU policies and priorities.

It will cover all areas of the White Paper, examine transport policy needs, the Paper's objectives and goals, the proposed action points, as well as the outcomes achieved and, where applicable, their preliminary impacts.

The deadline to fill in the survey and provide your input is 28 February 2020.

Fill in the survey here.

New fact sheets from across Europe share best practice knowledge on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning

20 December 2019

A new series of fact sheets chronicling good practice examples of measures, instruments and planning procedures related to Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) are now available.

Fact sheets draw on the expereinces of Birmingham (United Kingdom), Budapest (Hungary), Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain), Malmö (Sweden), Sofia (Bulgaria), Thessaloniki (Greece), and Turin (Italy).

In Birmingham, fact sheets examine lessons learnt from the implementation of a Clean Air Zone and a new road space allocation policy. In Budapest, the documents look at interactive two-way communication with decision makers and an integrated transportation demand management framework for road users, whilst in Malmö readers can learn about a new travel survey technique, regional cooperation to develop a "poly-centric" SUMP, and the city’s advanced model for forecasting traffic.

Other fact sheets further examine topics such as a data collection and exchange platform, sustainable urban freight logistics measures, flexible use of spaces, and using interactive maps for cycling and walking.

Fact sheets were designed and shared through the SUMPs-Up project – each of the cities profiled is a partner in the project. The good practices overviewed aim to encourage and support the uptake of sustainable urban mobility planning across Europe.

See all fact sheets here, and click here for more information on the SUMPs-Up project.

Trelleborg’s EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK activities inspire one family to shift from car to cargo bicycle

16 December 2019

During this year’s edition of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, the Municipality of Trelleborg (Sweden) launched an innovative project where they offered local residents the opportunity to test an electric cargo bicycle for up to 11 days, in the hope that this would then encourage them to make the shift from car to cargo bicycle.

In this article, we correspond with Christoffer Pettersson-Hernestig from the Sustainable Development Department of the Municipality of Trelleborg, who tells us more about the municipality’s sustainable mobility policies and plans, and what inspired this project. We also speak with Anna, a resident of Trelleborg who, alongside her family, made the decision to switch from car to cargo bicycle as a result of the pilot project. She tells us about what inspired this decision, and how the shift has affected her and her family.

Christoffer, can you tell us about what mobility is like in the Municipality of Trelleborg?
If we look at 2018 statistics, we can see that the most popular mode of transport in our municipality is the car. In fact, 67.5 percent of all trips are made by car, with the remaining 32.5 percent being taken by sustainable modes of transport – cycling is the most popular of these modes at 9.7 percent, followed by walking (8.4 percent), taking the train (8.3 percent), and finally traveling by bus (5 percent).

We have a long history of working on sustainable mobility projects here in Trelleborg and have a number of ambitious policies and plans in place. Of particular note are our municipal Bicycle strategy and Bicycle plan, through which we have set ourselves the aims of becoming the third-best bicycle municipality in the region, and increasing children’s bicycle usage by the end of December 2020.

In order to increase bicycle usage among children in the municipality, we have initiated a programme called “Safe School Trips”. The programme consists of twenty activities and a mixture of initiatives, which aim to make children’s trips to schools safer.

This year, during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK the Municipality of Trelleborg offered residents the chance to test electric cargo bicycles – tell us more about the project and where the idea came from.
We recently carried out a survey among local residents to gauge their interest in electric cargo bicycles. What we discovered was that the vast majority of respondents were interested in them, but found them too expensive and this deterred them from buying one.

Inspired by a similar service offered in Helsingborg (Sweden), which allows residents to rent electric bicycles for free, we set about creating a pilot project enabling residents of Trelleborg to test out an electric cargo bicycle free of charge for a maximum of 11 days, in the hope that this would motivate them to make the long-term shift from car to cargo bicycle.

First, we travelled to Helsingborg to find out more about how their system works and in particular their e-service booking system, so that we could bring this knowledge back to Trelleborg.

We then worked with our e-service provider to set up a booking system, and worked with the local library, who agreed to take on the responsibility of managing lending the cargo bicycle to users.

We launched the service on 16 September 2019, during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, with one electric cargo bicycle available to loan. Within the first week of operation, six users had already booked the cargo bicycle, and by the end of week two, all of the available slots for 2019 had been booked.

So far, the project has already motivated one user to make the shift from car to cargo bicycle!

Inspired by the success already seen, the Municipality has planned to expand the service, and hope to soon offer two more cargo bicycles for local residents to borrow.

One of the residents who was motivated to make the change from car to cargo bicycle thanks to the pilot is Anna Loontjens. We also corresponded with her to find out more about what inspired her and her family to make the shift from car to cargo bicycle, and to see what impact it has had on their lives.

Anna, what motivated you and your family to participate in this project?
I had been really interested in buying an electric cargo bicycle for some time, as I hoped it would facilitate getting around with my daughter – my 14-year-old daughter has several disabilities and finds it difficult to walk for long periods.

I thought an electric cargo bicycle would be a good option for us, as it is something between a wheelchair and a car. With a wheelchair you don’t really cover a lot of ground, and going by car you don’t get the fresh air and the outside experience. Plus, the damage to the environment was a really concerning factor for me.

However, as my daughter is also autistic, adapting to change can be difficult for her, and if she doesn’t like something, there is absolutely no way of convincing her of it. This, alongside the cost of buying an electric bicycle, deterred me from buying one out-right.

When my husband, who heard about the project through Facebook, first told me about it, I thought it sounded exciting, as it was the perfect way to test whether or not my daughter would enjoy traveling by electric cargo bicycle before investing in buying one.

After participating in the project, you and your family then decided to switch from car to electric cargo bicycle. What motivated this switch?

Since I work from home, I don’t necessarily have to leave my house every day, so I knew I needed to get outside more to get more fresh air and just be outdoors. When I borrowed the bicycle I realised how easy it was to use. I didn’t have to worry about parking, I didn’t have to worry about buying petrol or diesel, I got fresh air, exercise and I really felt I was doing something positive for the environment every time I travelled by bicycle instead of by car.

Doing groceries was no trouble at all. It took just as long as by going by car, I timed it. But the most important thing was how much my daughter loved it. She saw it as an adventure and was looking forward to travelling by bicycle every morning during the school run. My son also goes by bicycle to school, so it was fun going together and showing him that you don’t need a car – that going by bicycle is a good choice even for grownups. I felt I was setting a good example for him as well.

I bought my own electric cargo bicycle even before the 11 days were over, so I wouldn’t have to wait for it when I returned the borrowed one. I also did this to ensure we had time to make some alterations to it, so that my daughter could more easily get into it.

If you were to encourage others to switch to using an electric cargo bicycle, what would you say?
I often say that everybody can do something for the environment. I can’t do everything, but I can do this. As long as weather allows it – a little bit of rain doesn’t stop us – and it is only me, or me and my daughter and we need to go somewhere in the city, we take the bicycle. It’s more enjoyable, we feel healthier and knowing we’re not polluting gives me a really good feeling.

The cost of the bicycle is paid off within a couple of years if you look at the gas money you’re saving. I ride the bicycle on average about 10km a day, over two or three trips. Sometimes we go for longer rides just to get out and feel the air. I really love the bicycle – it’s easy, it’s fun and it is the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. I really got myself the best gift.

And, Christoffer, If you were to encourage other town's or city's to participate in the campaign next year, what would you say?
If you look at a municipality as an organisation, there are many departments, a lot of which work in some way with mobility or traffic, or both. I would recommend to other cities, towns, municipalities and regions that they invite all key personnel who work in these fields in their organisations to come together during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and compile all their activities in order to show citizens what’s happening in their city.

We had fun planning our EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign. It was a push for us and made it possible to get a forum and to kick-start a discussion about mobility among different departments.

To learn more about EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and the activities carried out by the towns and cities who participated in the 2019 campaign, click here.