EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018: Europe gears up, Turkey aims high!

REGISTRATION is now open to towns and cities for the 2018 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign across Europe, not only for the representatives of Turkish municipalities

July 16, 2018 | By Jerome Simpson

Following a slew of launch events across Europe (Portugal, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland to name but a few), in June and July, REC joined campaign kick-offs in Slovakia and Turkey too. The latter, jointly organised on July 10th, 2018, by the EU Delegation there and the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (which was recently appointed national coordinator) drew a flurry of media interest that is estimated to have reached a total audience of around 15 million.

The 17th annual EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK kicks off on September 16, 2018. This is a week-long campaign in European towns and cities that traditionally concludes with the "In Town without My Car" day on September 22.

The initiative works to encourage a modal shift from individual car use to more sustainable modes of transport, such as cycling, walking or public transport. Towns and cities are invited to register their actions at the initiative's website: Over 2,500 cities from 50 countries participated in 2017 - a record year – while 2018 is expected to mark a hat-trick of records, with a third year-on-year increase!  Those who've already registered can be seen here. Encouragingly, the campaign is being picked up around the world and beyond Europe's shores, with North America, South America, Africa and Asia getting involved.

What is particularly exciting about EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is that it gives participating towns and cities the opportunity to experiment with sustainable mobility initiatives that may have the potential to evolve into permanent measures — for example, closing a city centre street, reducing the speed limit, or introducing a low emission zone, as Vienna in Austria demonstrated in winning the 2017 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK large cities award. Besides realising cleaner air and safer streets, the week is also an opportunity to engage with and listen to citizens — and, of course, to promote sustainable mobility, as Igoumenitsa in Greece so aptly demonstrated to win the 2017 small towns award.

This year’s campaign theme reflects Commissioner Bulc’s call for 2018 to be the year of ‘Multi-Modality.’ “This is all about - the mixing of transport modes within the same journey or for different trips,” she recently said whilst addressing Turkish municipalities. “The car may be the best way to take your family to the seaside, for example, but is it the best way to get them to the city centre where space and access is often limited?” The call to action this year is #MixAndMove, thereby encouraging us to diversify our choice of transport. As in previous years, the campaign will also be linked with European Day Without A Road Death (Project EDWARD), which is hosted by the European Traffic Police Network. This occurs on Wednesday 19 September and seeks to realise a day without fatalities on Europe's roads.

Further actions to take place during this year's week include the conversion of car-parking spaces into mini parks and the transition of streets and thoroughfares into spaces for cafes and al fresco dining. New pedestrian and bike infrastructure will also be launched, towns and cities will assist with plans for travelling to the workplace or school, and city walks and bike tours will reintroduce citizens to their urban environments and foster community spirit. Car-sharing and car-pooling schemes will also receive welcome visibility during the week.

A number of participants will also experiment with long-term solutions, including "Traffic Evaporation", which involves access restriction schemes and improved public transport services. Details on the activities to be implemented across Europe's cities can be seen here. If you are a town or a city, please sign up! And if you have an action outside the week or are not a municipal administration, why not consider registering your MOBILITYACTION instead, which entitles you to still use the MOBILITYWEEK label?  

For cities keen to get involved in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, this year our Thematic Guidelines have been combined with our campaigner’s handbook in one cover, and is available here. As usual, national coordinators across Europe stand ready to assist. All are listed at the initiative's website.

Returning to Turkey, Göktug Kara, Transport Sector Head of Unit at the Delegation of the European Union there says “We hope to get a record participation this September and with almost 1400 municipalities being members of the Union of Turkish Municipalities, there is no reason why we can’t rank alongside Austria’s five hundred plus annual registrations!” Certainly, if the keen interest shown by members in the launch event last week is anything to go by, the campaign looks on course for both a domestic and international hat-trick!

The European secretariat is led by Eurocities, and is co-hosted by the REC together with ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability and POLIS – Cities and Regions for Transport Innovation.

TAGS: European mobility week | Smart cities | Sustainable mobility | Safety