As part of 2011 European Mobility Week, a competition was organised to put to the test three ways of commuting in Budapest: cycling, using public transport and driving a car. Attracting large media-attention, it demonstrated that using sustainable transport modes are not only good for the community, but also for the individual.
Background & Objectives
Local residents and media often tend to challenge the image of sustainable transport modes; they never miss a chance to point out any troubles surrounding these. However the basic facts are often overlooked. For this reason the Municipality of Budapest decided to organise a fun competition among transport modes, to have a reality check. The point of the competition was public awareness-raising; therefore it was organised in such a way as to achieve widespread media coverage.
The competition was implemented as the kick-off to the 7-day European Mobility Week activities. Three teams were formed to reach a given destination: one team used suburban trains and public transport, the second team bicycles, and the third team travelled by car. The routes included pre-arranged control points.
Although the whole activity was organised in a fun and informal way, it – intentionally – had a very serious awareness-raising purpose. Among all the usual mainstream media news concerning problems relating to public transport and sustainable urban mobility, this time a positive message was spread in peak media broadcasts about sustainable urban mobility. Contrary to public perceptions, this competition demonstrated that public transport and cycling are clearly the most reliable and fastest ways of getting around in town during rush hours. News items were broadcast on all major national and commercial TV stations as well as in print media and on on-line news portals.
The first control point was first reached by those who came from the suburbs to the city centre by train. These then continued their journey by local rail-based public transport. The car driver – stuck in a traffic jam – was the last one to arrive at the destination. Adding all journey segments up, those using public transport and travelling by bicycle arrived first at the finish line.