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EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK workshops see participants play detective

27 March 2019

The 2019 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK workshops, which ran from 21-22 March, began with a dramatic announcement: the campaign mascot, Edgar, had been kidnapped and it was up to the participants to find his whereabouts.

Temporarily cast as detectives, the workshop attendees were given a number to call to hear a voicemail from the terrified mascot, who informed listeners about the time he was taken and the location he was last at. A series of mobility related clues were presented, with participants tasked with determining which suspect could have been at the scene of the crime at the time of the kidnapping based on their mode of transport.

Eventually the culprit was identified, a code to a locked room was found, and Edgar was retrieved. Bounding into the room, Edgar displayed a wide-smile despite his traumatic morning - perhaps from the relief of freedom.

With the mascot safe and sound – and the ice-breaker “escape room” activity completed – the workshops kicked-off in earnest, with an address from Maja Bakran Marcich, Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission. Professor Shane O'Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin, provided the keynote address, outlining compelling evidence that walking is not only good for physical health, but also important for cognitive performance and mental wellness.

Participants were then split into smaller groups to discuss ways to promote walking and cycling. A study tour was organised to the nearby Boulevard Anspach extension to Brussels’ 50-hectare pedestrian area, the second largest in Europe, leaving everyone impressed with the Belgian capital’s achievements in promoting a more sustainable mobility culture.

The City of Vienna's Petra Jens, one of Europe's few Walking Commissioners, led a networking session on ways to promote walking during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2019. Ms Jens provided invaluable advice and tips on improving the public perception of going by foot in urban areas.

Following the first day of the workshops, participants took part in the sustainable mobility awards ceremony, which saw Lisbon (EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2018 for larger municipalities), Lindau (EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2018 for smaller municipalities), and Greater Manchester (7th SUMP Award) announced as winners (for more information on the awards, click here).

Across the two days, participants were also treated to presentations on EU awards aimed at cities, EU initiatives such as Project EDWARD and the European Week of Sport, and the results of a pilot project that aimed to raise awareness of alternatives to the private car in a number of European cities. Stanley Black and Decker, the winner of the 2018 MOBILITYACTION award, also presented their activities to promote sustainable mobility among their employees.

The second day kicked-off with a quiz, testing the sustainable mobility knowledge of the assembled participants. The quiz provided a humorous way to start the morning, setting a positive tone for the day to come. Breakout sessions on the second day included a seminar on active communication for active mobility, and safety as it relates to walking and cycling. Whilst the workshop activities ran, a side-event was held on the validation of Guidance for EU Cycling Projects.

The workshops concluded with a meeting reserved for National Coordinators, during which plans for the 2019 edition of the campaign were discussed.