Eurocities members Valongo and Tampere scooped up two top prizes at the European Commission’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Awards.
Valongo won the latest European Mobility Week Award in the smaller municipalities category (with less than 100,000 inhabitants). Judges were impressed by the Portuguese city’s efforts last year to turn into a green mobility haven.
Tampere walked away with the Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning award for linking public health with active mobility in 2021 and for its focus on safety and accessibility.
Germany’s Kassel was crowned winner of the European Mobility Week Award for larger municipalities. The Greek city of Rethymno ranked first in the EU Urban Road Safety category.
Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility, announced the four winners during a hybrid in-person and online ceremony in Brussels.
The prizes recognise municipalities’ outstanding initiatives and are part of the annual European Mobility Week cycle. Established in 2002, European Mobility Week promotes sustainable modes of transport.
“With the new EU Urban Mobility Framework, we will support better planning of sustainable urban mobility, putting public transport, walking and cycling at the core of local authorities’ efforts to improve people’s everyday lives”, Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport remarked.
European Mobility Week takes place every year the week of 16-22 September and attracts participants from Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Accessibility, health and local engagement
During last September’s edition of European Mobility Week, Valongo stood out from the crowd for its extensive transport infrastructure as well as awareness-raising activities.
The city features new and improved pedestrian areas, cycling paths, bike parking and battery car chargers, ticking all the boxes of 21st century mobility. It also boasts a network of wheelchair ramps and an inspiring multi-modal transport model, setting an example for others to follow.
Ultimately, though, such an innovative system could only be successful if it inspired and prompted locals to embrace a switch in the way they move from place to place.
For Valongo, that meant encouraging people’s active involvement: surveys prompted residents to make their voice heard; meanwhile creative initiatives such as a pedal-powered eco-car and theatre shows further drew children and organisations into the city’s mobility plan.
The Portuguese city bested impressive runners-up Alimos (Greece) and Miajadas (Spain) in the European Mobility Week Award smaller municipalities category.
Tampere won over jurors for “interlinking health, equality, the environment and poverty by highlighting the role of mobility within quality urban spaces.” The Finnish city finished ahead of worthy Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning contenders Madrid (Spain) and Mitrovica South (Kosovo).
Elsewhere in Europe, Kassel was praised for drawing up a partnership between local and regional transport operators and for its activities inspiring behavioural change among residents of all ages.
In the EU Urban Road Safety category, Rethymno convinced judges with its inclusive approach to road safety. The city sketched out a plan to upgrade the public transport system, encourage behavioural change and establish a collaboration with local partners.
European Mobility Week prompts municipalities to create innovative sustainable mobility plans, promote new infrastructure, and raise awareness among local communities. A total of 3,184 cities from 53 countries took part in the September 2021 edition.