EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK News

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EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK celebrates most successful campaign yet

28 September 2016

2016 has seen the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign shatter its previous participation record, with an astounding 2424 cities from 51 countries celebrating the week. The previous record was set in 2011 when 2264 cities from 43 countries participated.

Cities and towns around the world held activities under this year’s theme of 'Smart and sustainable mobility - an investment for Europe', referring to the close ties between transport and economics. Many cities held a "Car Free Day", in which areas of the city were closed off to motorised vehicles and opened to citizens, while others held activities that showcased the benefits of opting for sustainable modes of travel. A sizeable portion of those participating also enacted permanent measures that encourage a shift to low-carbon forms of mobility.

Cities that carried out all three of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK criteria are eligible to apply for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award. Winners of the award receive a three-minute video in both English and their native language highlighting their achievements. The call for applications for the fifth edition of the SUMP Award is also open. This year's award will recognise the local or regional government that has done most to integrate urban freight with their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, or SUMP.

For more information, visit the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2016: Sustainable transport is an investment for Europe

16 September 2016

The European Commission today launches the 15th annual EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, with activities taking place across Europe from 16 to 22 September. The theme of this year is 'Smart and sustainable mobility – an investment for Europe’.

The main aim is to promote awareness of the economic benefits of investing in safe, clean transport for people and companies. Making energy and transport more affordable and sustainable is also one of the priorities of the Juncker Commission. Action in cities is particularly important as urban transport is responsible for 23 percent of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions.

As in previous years, local authorities and individuals across the continent are encouraged to think about what they can do locally, to make an impact globally.

Speaking at the launch of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2016, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport said: "This week is about getting individuals and local authorities big and small - on board. We are moving towards smart mobility, by integrating technology into transport. Smart mobility can reduce traffic jams in European cities and help cut the €100 billion congestion price-tag, making our cities more liveable!"

Getting out of the car and walking, cycling or taking the bus can have benefits such as improving our health. But research shows that smarter mobility can also make the public finances healthier. The Commission estimates* that road congestion costs 1 percent of the EU’s GDP per year – that's €100 billion euro last year, this year and every year. Smarter mobility can reduce traffic jams in European cities and help cut that 100 billion euro congestion price-tag.

The culmination of the week is the Car-Free Day, during which designated areas of towns and cities are closed to car traffic and open only for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is a highlight in a year-round drive for more sustainable mobility. The campaign serves to encourage and inspire those involved, to think about more long-term, permanent changes that could be made to improve transport.

For example, since April 2016 the University of Aveiro, Portugal has been recording large amounts of data on transport habits to help policy makers’ work towards a low carbon economy; in the Spanish city of Albacete a group of people have created a company called Urbanciclo to transport goods by cargo-bike; in the Italian town of Casalmaggiore, the NGO Slow Town presented in May 2016 a 2km children’s ring road along the bank of the river Po, creating a safe route closed to road traffic to get to school, the library, the gym and downtown; campaigners from Spain, Sweden and the UK joined forces to ride 2000km from Stockholm to Brussels last summer to advocate for safer cycling; between March and October 2016 Natuur & Milieu organised the ‘car sharing award for Dutch municipalities’ to stimulate the use of this transport method in the Netherlands.

These are but a few examples. All of the registered MOBILITYACTIONS are displayed on the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website.

Call for applications for 5th SUMP Award opens

5 September 2016

The call for applications to the fifth edition of the SUMP Award is now open. This year's award will recognise the local or regional government that has done most to integrate urban freight with their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, or SUMP.

The focus on urban freight ties into this year's EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK theme of how smart and sustainable mobility can support a stronger economy. Urban freight is a challenging topic for urban and transport planners, as businesses in urban centres need reliable access to goods delivery. However, the presence of delivery vehicles often worsens problems such as traffic congestion and pollution.

Urban freight can be made more sustainable in a number of ways. Consolidating freight in a logistics centre and using a smaller number of vehicles to deliver to more addresses is one example. Using vehicles powered by hybrid or electric engines is also a good way to cut emissions from delivery fleets. Even zero-emissions vehicles such as cargo bikes have been shown to be reliable for the last step in delivery for most goods.

The SUMP Award is presented together with the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award, and honours local authorities that have developed a Mobility Plan that satisfies the diverse transport needs of people and businesses, whilst improving quality of life. Each year, the award highlights a different aspect of mobility planning. Past editions of the award have focused on successful territorial and policy integration, monitoring implementation, and providing for multimodality and intermodality.

For more information about this year's edition of the award and how to apply, click here.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Best Practice Guide 2016 released

31 August 2016

The 2016 edition of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Best Practice Guide features the outstanding achievements of the ten shortlisted cities for the 2015 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award.

Murcia (Spain), the eventual winner of the Award, installed bike racks and allowed foldable bicycles on buses, and also placed a strong emphasis on developing electric mobility in the city in the form of electric bicycles and scooters. The other two finalists, Lisbon (Portugal) and Palma de Mallorca (Spain), also showed great initiative. Lisbon organised two separate Car-Free Day events in different locations, and implemented new infrastructure to increase accessibility and cycling. Palma de Mallorca implemented new cycling infrastructure and parking facilities, surveyed residents on their mobility practices and offered free public transport tickets.

The other seven shortlisted cities are also featured in the guide, and details of their excellent activities are given. They include Bacau (Romania), Larnaka (Cyprus), Miskolc (Hungary), Nottingham (United Kingdom), Sofia (Bulgaria), Trikala (Greece), and Vienna (Austria). A number of inspiring MOBILITYACTIONs are also included from countries such as Croatia, Monaco, Portugal and Sweden.

For the first time good examples of activities from small municipalities in Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Serbia are profiled, as well as best practice by the National Coordination teams in a number of countries. The guide also features activities from the South Korean cities of Busan, Seoul, and Wonju, the first time that activities outside of Europe have been profiled. Campaigners can consult the guide to take inspiration from others and ensure that they have exciting and innovative EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK celebrations in their own cities and communities.

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

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK reach extends to more countries in 2016

20 July 2016

As the summer break begins, here is an update on some of the recent EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK changes and developments across the region.

Since the start of 2016 Belarus, Ireland, Moldova, Montenegro and the Netherlands have all appointed new coordinators while in Denmark the campaign has a ‘national reference point’ for the first time, represented by Camilla Rosenhagen at Local Government Denmark. There have also been changes in national coordinators in Austria, Estonia, Hungary and Poland.

The campaign is especially happy to welcome UNDP's support as national coordinators in Belarus and Montenegro and to congratulate UNDP Russia on the success it has already seen in 2016, with 44 cities registering. Dmitry Beschetny explains: "I believe this result has been achieved mostly due to successful promotion of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Russia by the Ministry of Transport. To make the event more attractive, the Ministry provides an award for participating cities." Other national coordinators have also been working to make the campaign visible in their countries. Germany has launched a EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK webpage as well as a Facebook page, while the development of a webpage for Bosnia-Herzegovina is underway.

Registration is also now available in almost all official EU languages and in a number of languages from non-EU countries. New additions include Belarusian, Croatian, Danish, Montenegrin, Norwegian, Polish, Slovenian. There is also a registration option for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Of the official EU languages, the only registration languages that are not currently offered are Gaelic and Maltese. Moreover, cities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan can opt to register in commonly-used languages in those countries, such as English, German, Russian, or Turkish.

Registration ahead of the week in September is surging forward and it is exciting to see over 400 towns and cities from 26 countries having signed up, including over 100 communities in Spain. Especially noteworthy is the fact that Ireland has already doubled last year’s participation, while the Netherlands too has eclipsed its 2015 performance. In a typical year around 2000 towns and cities participate from around 45 countries.

To register your Car-Free Day, permanent measure and campaign activities, click here

Project EDWARD calls on road users to improve road safety

11 July 2016

A new campaign supported by the European Commission aims to make progress on reducing deaths and injuries on the road, after statistics show two successive years with little improvement.

The campaign, European Day Without A Road Death (EDWARD), asks all in Europe from individuals to national governments, charities, and private organisations to make a pledge, to organise awareness-raising activities and register them to make Europe's roads free of road deaths on Wednesday 21 September, which takes place during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. The campaign is led by the European Traffic Police Network, or TISPOL and supported by the European Commission.

TISPOL says that driver behaviour remains the biggest barrier to progress on the EU's target of a 50 percent reduction in road deaths and injuries by 2020 compared to 2010 figures. Drivers can help improve safety on the road by ensuring they are not distracted while driving, keeping their vehicles in good condition, and respecting infrastructure designed for other road users.

However, cyclists and pedestrians also make unsafe decisions, such as by ignoring the rules of the road or taking risky shortcuts. Organisers hope that in the lead up to EDWARD on 21 September, all road users take some time to think about the risks they face and the risks they may pose to others, and what they can do to reduce these dangers.

For more information and to make a pledge or to register an event, visit roadsafetydays.eu and tispol.org

Luxembourg cities begin preparations for EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2016

15 June 2016

A kick-off event for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Luxembourg attracted delegates from more than 40 municipalities on 13 May.

The event was organised by Verkéiersverbond, the National Coordinator for the campaign in Luxembourg. The importance of the campaign was highlighted in presentations from François Bausch, Luxembourg's Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure; Camille Gira, State Secretary for the same ministry; Madeleine Kelly-Tychtl representing the European Commission's DG MOVE; Peter Staelens from EUROCITIES; and Luxembourg National Coordinator David Everard, from Luxembourg's transport community Verkéiersverbond. The event attracted 112 delegates who came to get information on and debate how to organise a good or a better EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in 2016.

Mr Staelens and Mr Everard presented international best practice examples that could be implemented by small and medium-sized municipalities, such as a street-painting campaign from Austria or rewarding cyclists with vouchers and small gifts from Norway. As well as municipalities, delegates from groups such as Luxembourg's national cycling lobby and organisations working with and for people with disabilities attended. The event aimed to identify local coordinators and have them appointed by the municipalities.

Almost half of the Luxembourg's 106 municipalities were represented at the conference, who wanted to know how the campaign could help with the mobility problems they face. As jobs are mainly concentrated in Luxembourg City, the country’s capital, this means commuters living in other parts of the country and in neighbouring Belgium, France and Germany travel by car, resulting in daily traffic congestion. Public transport in the country also suffers from overcrowding. This means that the urban mobility problems in Luxembourg are of a different character to those in other countries, especially as the average population of Luxembourg municipalities is quite small, between two and five thousand inhabitants.

To view photos from the event click here. For more information about the event, visit mobiliteit.lu (in French).

Photo: Verkéiersverbond Lëtzebuerg

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK receives renewed commitment in Poland and Moldova

3 June 2016

Cooperation is a key to success. That has been the consistent theme during visits by the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK outreach coordinator, Jerome Simpson, in Warsaw (Poland) and Chisinau (Moldova).

In both countries, the environment and transport ministries have realised that a truly successful campaign depends on their collaboration. All concerned made their intention clear to establish inter-ministerial working groups that would seek to involve NGOs and international organisations besides municipal associations and the private sector.

Fortunately, neither country is a stranger to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, and both aim to involve a large number of cities in the campaign in 2016. Adrian Mazur of Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction looks forward to increasing the number of town, city and community registrations in 2016 than in the previous year. In Moldova, Viorica Staver, at the country's Ministry of Environment, stated that she would convey the responsibilities of a national coordinator to her respective minister, recognising that a formal appointment will boost Moldovan participation.

The week’s outreach also highlighted the importance of allying more closely with those campaigning on matters of road safety and equitable access. Chisinau's streets currently cater to cars moreso than cyclists and pedestrians, while those with impaired mobility face even greater challenges.

The first European Day Without A Road Death (EDWARD) on September 21 2016 will be a welcome boost to the campaign. It is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL). Transport ministries in various countries are showing increased interest in this topic, while Moldovan NGOs were eager to register their activities under the campaign's MOBILITYACTIONS series saw NGOs eager to register their activities. There is much to look forward to in these countries as this year’s EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK gets underway.

E-MOBILITY WORKS final conference to look at the future of electric transport

30 May 2016

After almost three years of working with municipalities and SMEs to develop electric mobility action plans, the EU-funded E-MOBILITY WORKS project will hold its final conference in Brussels (Belgium) on 14 June 2016.

The conference will draw conclusions from the work of the project, outline the e-mobility policies of the EU, and discuss the future of e-mobility in cities. Municipalities from Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Romania, Estonia, Finland and Greece took part in the project.

The conference is held as part of the EU’s Sustainable Energy Week and is free of charge. Speakers at the event include Jose Fernandez Garcia, Innovative and Sustainable Mobility Directorate, and Helmut Morsi, Principal Advisor to the Director-General, both of the European Commission’s DG MOVE; and Thelka Heinel, Head of Department, B.&S.U. mbH, Berlin.

The project helped municipalities to construct and deliver plans to enhance the uptake of e-mobility in cities. Through the project local leaders were empowered to improve urban air quality, and had the chance to build partnerships with business stakeholders such as energy supply companies, car-sharing providers, and charging station providers. Registration for the conference can be completed online.

For more information, visit emobilityworks.com. To download the programme, click here.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK kicks off in Belarus

3 May 2016

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK recently extended its reach thanks to the appointment of a new national coordinator in Belarus.

The campaign formally got underway on 27 April when the local UNDP office hosted mobility campaigners and experts from the capital, Minsk, nationwide and internationally to hear suggestions on how to implement a successful campaign. This included the idea of a mobility forum with local governments, a number of whom who had already been introduced to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK the day before at a seminar hosted by the Belarus Transport Union. UNDP agreed to take these proposals forward.

Minsk offers much potential in terms of sustainable urban mobility. Wide streets could accommodate bike lanes, dedicated trolley bus or carpool lanes, and it offers pedestrians wide sidewalks, many of which include bike paths already. However, many residents are committed car owners and reducing speeds on Minsk's roads does not seem to be a local priority. Nevertheless progress is being made as a third metro line in Minsk is now under construction. Local campaigners were also very interested in the potential of cargo bikes.

The country is no stranger to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, with Minsk, Polotsk and Novopolotsk registering in 2015. Anton Rodnenkov of Interakcia Foundation said of Polotsk’s 2016 campaign: "More effort is needed in advertising eye-catching events, especially to pedestrians and drivers but also to businesses. We also need to do more to reach out to citizens online.” A video of 2015 campaign events in Polotsk has also been produced.

It sounds like civil society in Belarus knows what needs to be done. At the same time it expressed its gratitude for the kick-off event and thanks to UNDP for its acting as a bridge between themselves and city authorities. The campaign's European secretariat looks forward to seeing the results.

To view a presentation given by the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Coordination at the event, click here.