Over 2000 European towns and cities are expected to participate in the 13th edition of European Mobility Week, an annual European campaign about getting around town in a sustainable way. Starting today, national and local campaigners are organising various events. The aim of this year’s European Mobility Week, with the slogan “Our streets, our choice”, is to encourage citizens to ‘reclaim’ urban spaces to create the city they want to live in.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: “For too long, private cars have determined how cities are planned. But nowadays, €100 billion are lost to our economies every year due to congestion, not to speak of the effects on people’s time and health. Therefore, I’m very pleased to see the enthusiastic uptake of this year’s European Mobility Week. I’m sure there are plenty of good ideas around on how we can better shape where we live.”
Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said: “Mobility Week reminds us that when it comes to personal mobility, we really do have a choice, and good choice makes a tangible difference to our health and our quality of life. So let’s make a stand for cleaner air and for urban spaces that are built for people. Cities are for citizens – let’s keep them that way!”
During the European Mobility Week, an annual action coordinated by a consortium backed by the European Commission, citizens in more than 2000 cities in 43 countries will be able to participate in sustainable commuting challenges, teleworking campaigns, flash mobs, car free day events, creative competitions, festivals and many more activities.
Information on local campaign programmes can be found at:
This year’s events include the following:
Valencia, Spain – Compas Centre
When the Valencia city walls were demolished in 1865, the area gave way to a shared space for bicycles, public transport and pedestrians moving between the city centre and outlying districts. Recently however, the area was transformed into a ring road for motor vehicles. The aim of this action is to revert this inner ring road back to a car-free public space for sustainable mobility, first for a single day, and eventually permanently.
Austria – “Blooming streets” painting competition
During European Mobility Week, municipalities across Austria will give children the opportunity to reclaim the streets by allowing them to paint them the way they would like to shape them. This initiative is organised through schools and with the best effort given a prize at the end.
Aarhus, Denmark – Rolling Mobility Lab
One of the highlights of this year’s European Mobility Week in Aarhus will be a small caravan called the “Rolling Mobility Lab” as part of the smart mobility project. Where the caravan appears, citizens will have the chance to co-create new measures such as making cycle lanes safer, so that they benefit them directly, making them attractive enough for them to change their travel behaviour.
European local authorities are invited to sign up to the European Mobility Week Charter and publish their programmes on www.mobilityweek.eu . Towns and cities planning a full week of events from 16-22 September, introducing permanent measures and setting up a car-free day can also apply for the European Mobility Week Award and join the ranks of previous award winners Ljubljana (Slovenia), Zagreb (Croatia), Bologna (Italy) and Gävle (Sweden).
Prize for sustainable city planning
At the same time, the EU is launching the 2014 Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) award within the framework of the ‘Do the Right Mix’ campaign. In its third edition, the award recognises outstanding work being carried out by cities and local authorities across Europe to meet the transport needs of their communities in an effective and sustainable way. The winning region or local authority will receive a prize of € 10, 000 and international recognition for its initiatives.
Applications are being accepted between 16 September and 3 November 2014 on the Do the Right Mix website, where details on eligibility and evaluation criteria can also be found. The award theme for 2014 is “monitoring implementation to improve the SUMP”.
In 2013, the SUMP award went to the city of Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain).
The European Mobility Week journey started in 1998 with the French “In Town Without My Car!” day. This initiative still runs in September each year to encourage towns and cities to close streets to motorised vehicles for a day. This allows people to see a different side to their towns and cities, encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport and raising awareness of the environmental impacts of the choice of transport mode. The success of this French initiative led to the launch of European Mobility Week in 2002.
Since then, the impact of European Mobility Week has grown across Europe and around the world. In 2013, 1.931 cities representing 176 million citizens registered for the campaign. A total of 8.623 permanent measures have been implemented, mainly focusing on infrastructure for cycling and walking, traffic calming, improving transport accessibility and raising awareness about sustainable travel behaviour.
The European Commission supports European Mobility Week with around €300, 000 a year, in particular for Europe-wide coordination and the Mobility Week Award. The cities which take part have to find their own funding; they cooperate with public authorities, NGOs and other partners.
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