It’s a well-known adage that cooperation is a key to success, but it’s also been a red thread during my last five days of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK outreach in Warsaw and Chisinau, the respective capitals of Poland and Moldova. The environment and transport ministries of both countries realise that a truly successful campaign depends on their collaboration; and, encouragingly, all concerned parties have expressed interest in establishing inter-ministerial working groups that would involve NGOs and international organisations, in addition to municipal associations and the private sector.
Another plus is that neither country is a stranger to the EC’s sustainable urban mobility campaign. In fact, both harbour ambitions to score high levels of city interest in 2016.
Adrian Mazur, Deputy Director of the Transport Strategy and International Cooperation Department at Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction, is looking to better the number of town, city and community registrations in 2016 over the previous year. In Moldova, Viorica Staver, Head of the International Relations and European Integration Division at the Ministry of Environment, is seeking to convey as quickly as possible the typical responsibilities of a national coordinator to her respective minister, recognising that a formal appointment will boost Moldovan campaign prospects.
The week’s outreach also highlighted the importance of allying more closely with those campaigning on matters of road safety and equitable access. Along the lush, leafy, tree-lined streets of Chisinau, it’s clear that the car is king, while pedestrians and cyclists bow in deference. Those with impaired mobility face even greater challenges, but their interests are the same: safer streets, better audio and visual information, accessible public transport, stricter parking regulations, pedestrianised areas, speed reduction programmes and more.
A welcome boost to the campaign will be the September 21 launch of EDWARD (‘European Day Without A Road Death’), a joint initiative of TISPOL (European Traffic Police Network) and the European Commission. Transport ministries are showing increased interest in the initiative, while the week’s MOBILITYACTIONS series saw NGOs eager to register their activities. As REC representative of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Secretariat, I returned home with the belief there’s much to look forward to in these countries as this year’s campaign gets underway.