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Braga and Metropolia GZM win European urban mobility awards; Ukrainian cities receive special mention

24 March 2023

In 2022, nearly 3,000 towns and cities from over 50 countries participated in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK to raise awareness about sustainable mobility and foster Better Connections with their local communities. In addition, 1,456 MOBILITYACTIONS were registered by businesses, civil society organisations, and more, to promote behavioural shifts toward sustainable urban mobility.

From Cyprus to Iceland, Portugal to Finland and beyond, permanent measures, interactive awareness-raising activities, mobility management plans and active mobility events were implemented to demonstrate the benefits of a world in which active, sustainable travel is the norm.

Of all the participants, two rose to the top for their outstanding campaign-related efforts: Braga (Portugal) and Metropolia GZM (Poland) snatched the titles of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award 2022 and the first-ever MOBILITYACTION award, respectively, at the MOBILITYAWARDS ceremony in Ghent, which featured a keynote speech from Ghent’s Mayor Mathias De Clercq. A well-deserved special mention was also bestowed on Chernihiv, Kamianets-Podilskiy, Lviv, Poltava and Uzhhorod (Ukraine) for their participation in the 2022 campaign despite the ongoing war.

Braga impressed the jury with its commitment to raise awareness on sustainable mobility with many stakeholders, including universities, local businesses and residents. During the campaign’s main event week, from 16 - 22 September, the Portuguese city worked with over one hundred companies to open streets for pedestrian use and construct interactive green spaces. A “Mobility Safari” involving 30 companies was also held to illustrate the importance of decarbonisation and the impact of sustainable mobility in advancing this goal. Active mobility activities for all ages - such as gymnastics and cycling - were organised to spread awareness on the benefits of sustainable mobility. The city also launched the first phase of implementation for its bike-share service.

Meanwhile, the MOBILITYACTION jury selected Metropolia GZM for its comprehensive approach to transforming a local university car park into a green, pedestrian-friendly space. Engaging professionals from the public transport, cycling, social development, sustainable mobility and urban policy sectors, the Polish metropolis co-created a car-park transformation that would not only benefit the university, but would also decrease related traffic and encourage locals to use the space. Urban furniture and greenery were installed, as well as traffic calming measures. The first reports show more people from on- and off-campus frequenting the area. Urban designers are currently conducting interviews to better understand how to remove all ground-level parking spots and implement accessible public transport solutions across the campus.

Braga competed against Sofia (Bulgaria) and Zagreb (Croatia) for the title, while Metropolia GZM was in competition with Ar2gether (Italy) and UCB Pharma (Belgium).

In addition to celebrating the winners’ achievements during the award ceremony, a spotlight was placed on the five brave Ukrainian towns and cities that participated in the campaign in spite of Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine.

Lesya Loyko, National Coordinator for Ukraine, described how it felt to receive an unexpected special mention:

“It came as a total surprise to me, the organisers managed to give it in complete secret. I was told there would be this little video about five Ukrainian cities and I appreciated that very much…when I saw the award, I was very touched. Surely, I take it as a sign of appreciation for the cities. It is not my award as a National Coordinator, but it is truly an award for the cities that try to do important things through the pleasant approach of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. The cities are in a difficult situation because of different aspects. They have an agenda to first address the critical needs of their people, but still they are on this route to sustainable mobility and they use the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK to underline important things, such as changing the city's environment in favour of pedestrians, cycling and public transport.”

Chernihiv, Kamianets-Podilskiy, Lviv, Poltava and Uzhhorod organised sustainable mobility awareness raising activities during the week of 16 – 22 September. Activities included a cycling race to bring humanitarian aid to a local village, opening city streets to pedestrians for a ‘Car-Free Day’ and workshops on tactical urbanism.

To learn more about the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and MOBILITYACTION awards, click here.

To learn more about campaign participants, click here. Discover MOBILITYACTIONS, here.