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% 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 2 km children’s ring road along the bank of river Po, creating a safe route closed to road traffic to get to school, library, gym and downtown; campaigners from Spain, Sweden and the UK joined forces to ride 2000 km 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.
So far, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has attracted a total of 2231 cities from 50 countries, that officially registered for the campaign. Over 889 participating towns and cities are celebrating a Car-Free Day.
Making urban transport greener is essential to reach the EU's ambitious decarbonisation objectives, as 75% of Europeans live in cities. This is one of the priority areas of the European Strategy for low-emission mobility adopted by the Commission on 20 July.
Every year local authorities are also able to compete for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award which rewards the towns and cities that were the most successful in raising awareness of sustainable mobility issues and actively worked towards achieving a more sustainable urban transport model. Local authorities can apply for the next edition of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award between 22 September – 1 November 2016: http://www.mobilityweek.eu/emw-award/
*European Commission webpage on ‘Clean transport, Urban transport’: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/urban/urban_mobility/index_en.htm This figure includes the value of wasted time and fuel spent in traffic jams.
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