As every year since 2002, the time has come for European cities to show their commitment to sustainable transport. From 16-22 September, local councils are organising activities to raise awareness on sustainable urban mobility. But this year will be different.
2020 is different; we have learnt many new things. Or maybe not that new… European Mobility Week local campaigners have known it for many years: Public space is precious, public transport workers deserve our recognition, air and noise pollution from daily transport are (or have been) unbearable.
Taking the brightest side of every situation, the COVID-19 pandemic has come with some insights: Respiratory health and an active lifestyle are now more important than ever; 30 km/h speed limits in urban areas will increase safety and quality of life; working from home is an option to take into account if we want to reduce unnecessary trips.
But we also have to keep an eye on new habits: buying online comes with more deliveries, and cargo-bikes have a big potential to reduce the impact of these; digital tools are key for an efficient use of transport systems, but they have to be accessible to all.
And it is this inclusiveness aspect that makes the European Mobility Week 2020 theme special: ‘Zero-emission mobility for all’. Europe has the ambition to become a carbon-neutral continent by 2050. And it has to leave no one behind.
European towns and cities are aware of this and to highlight their commitment thousands of them are hosting activities (online and offline) during European Mobility Week: Essen is exploring in a workshop how local business can become bicycle-friendly employers, Gdansk will offer free public transport for car drivers who decide to leave their car behind, Lahti is organising guided walking tours, Cesena is taking the opportunity to get feedback from local residents on their recent Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), Zaragoza is offering technical checks of bicycles and proposing walking tours and games for children and adults.
These are just few examples of what cities can do in such an unusual year to promote ‘Zero-emission mobility for all’. Your city has a last chance to join the movement!