News Search Result ( 1 - 1 from 1 )

An interview with Rethymno, winner of the EU Urban Road Safety Award

24 August 2022

Achieving Vision Zero – a global movement to end traffic fatalities – is an important part of
2021 EU Urban Road Safety Award winner Rethymno’s holistic strategy to promote sustainable, safe and healthy mobility for both residents and tourists. EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK heard from Georgios Marinakis, Mayor of Rethymno, about the city’s continued plan to prioritise road safety, while setting an example for others.

In the spring, Rethymno impressed the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK jury with its inclusive approach to road safety, which targets three pillars: 1) upgrading the public transport system to provide better options for the community, 2) increasing and encouraging behavioural change through different activities and 3) fostering integrated cooperation with a variety of local stakeholders.

What does winning the EU Urban Road Safety Award mean for Rethymno?

For Rethymno, winning the EU Urban Road Safety Award is a confirmation of our long journey, which started 15 years ago, with strategic planning and orientation towards the principles of sustainable mobility in the public space with an emphasis on accessibility for people with disabilities and the elderly, and generally to anyone with difficulties when moving around an urban environment.
Obviously this award is a motivation for our public authority and society to continue with interventions and policies in this direction. Rethymno, which is a popular touristic destination, strengthens its reputation with this award, especially concerning road safety issues.

What are the next steps for Rethymno to continue moving toward Vision Zero and ensuring that its roads are safer?

It is very important to build on and coordinate the progress made so far. The tools that our municipality already has in this direction will be enhanced and will continue to develop because each of us really is making an effort to make all our road crossings safe so that people with mobility difficulties and those who are visually impaired can move around independently without the risk of accident. The city’s current state for road safety is exceptional since road accidents are extremely reduced, thus moving the ‘Vision’ towards zero in Rethymno.

This vision is enhanced by the extensive cooperation between Rethymno’s Traffic Police and stakeholders as well as by taking advantage of the data already available, which all enable the mobility patterns in the city to improve significantly.

What advice would you give other cities looking to improve road safety? What elements are most important to consider when working on road safety?

The key to achieving road safety improvements is determination because established interests and behaviour, as well as the high political cost, are obstacles to integrating the principles of sustainable mobility in the city. Nowadays, the need to further promote sustainable mobility has been demonstrated by the current energy crisis which forces environmental footprints to increase, causing extreme weather conditions. In order to achieve the targeted results, the planning process should not be partial, but instead should be part of a wider integrated strategic planning process and should be combined with a learning process at all levels – educating students, professional drivers and the public about sustainable modes and commuting with safety.

Are you interested in learning more about road safety activities in your community? Check out our participation page to see what activities towns and cities are organising this year.