To many motorists, cyclists are a source of annoyance – men and women on two-wheels who travel dangerously close to moving vehicles, slow down traffic, and generally make driving a less pleasant experience. Often cyclists are not perceived as fellow travellers, but rather competitors that take up precious road space. Similarly, buses and trams are also seen as a nuisance, as they too require significant amounts of scarce space.
This competitive mindset is often informed by a lack of personal experience of using other forms of transport. Unfortunately, some policy makers share this “behind the windscreen” view of mobility, meaning private vehicles are favoured over other more environmentally friendly forms of transport.
EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is a chance for citizens and policy makers to try out new forms of mobility, and to see the benefits of opting for more sustainable forms of transport. Citizens are invited to try alternatives to car use and see first-hand how cleaner mobility can benefit them in terms of health, finances, and quality of life, in addition to improving the environment.
Since 2002, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has sought to influence mobility and urban transport issues. It is financially supported by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.
Each town or city, regardless of size, is encouraged to take part in the week, which is held each year from 16 – 22 September.
The final day of the campaign is designated as “Car-Free Day”, in which one or more streets in participating towns and cities are closed to private vehicles and instead opened to pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport.
In addition to awareness raising activities, cities are also encouraged to enact permanent measures that will promote a long-term shift to sustainable mobility. Measures include the widening of pathways for pedestrians, the installation of bicycle parking facilities, and the improvement and extension of the public transport network.
Last year’s EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK was the most successful edition of the campaign yet, involving a total of 2,427 participating towns and cities from 51 countries. It is estimated that EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK’s message reaches around 170 million people in Europe and beyond.
By using shared forms of transport, we can reduce our travel-related expenses and lower our carbon footprint. It also offers a chance to meet new people and turn journeys into a social experience, something beyond the simple process of moving from A to B.
Smart technology, such as apps and online platforms, are already helping to make mobility more efficient, saving us money, and helping the environment.
Studies show that embracing shared mobility can have a positive impact on our towns and cities: each shared car, for example, takes approximately 15 private cars off the road.
Already this year, more than 1,500 towns and cities have signed up to take part in the campaign. Each participating town and city is displayed on the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website.
There is still time to register your town or city! To do so and for more information on the campaign, visit www.mobilityweek.eu
Sean Carroll is a Communications Officer for the EuropeanMobilityWeek campaign.