17th September 2013 – Over 2000 European towns and cities are expected to participate in the 12th edition of European Mobility Week, which began yesterday. This year the week runs until 22nd September under the slogan ‘Clean air – It’s your move!’. The campaign raises awareness about the impact of transport on local air quality, and encourages citizens to improve their health and wellbeing by changing their day-to-day mobility behaviour.
Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said: ”This year we focus on the impact of our daily choices on air and our health. Cities have a great role to play when it comes to improving options for transport. By raising awareness and offering greener alternatives, cities can become more attractive places for people to live. When it comes to clean air, it’s your move!”
Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport and Mobility, said: “This year’s European Mobility Week and the accompanying Do the Right Mix campaign remind us that we all have a part to play in fighting urban air pollution. Changing habits, for example by commuting by bicycle rather than taking the car, or opting for public transport, can enhance our quality of life.”
The 2013 edition takes place at a time when EU policy makers are reviewing air policy with a view to launching a revised strategy later on in the year. Poor air quality continues to have a major impact on the health of European citizens, leading to respiratory and cardiac complications, premature deaths and shorter life expectancy. Air pollution also affects the environment, resulting in acidification, biodiversity loss, ozone depletion and climate change.
Urban traffic is a growing source of air pollution – especially when it comes to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. Local authorities often have the responsibility to develop urban transport strategies that meet mobility demand, protect the environment, improve air quality and make the city a better place to live.
With the slogan “Clean air – It’s your move!” – European Mobility Week is underlining that we all have a part to play, and that even small changes, such as providing more options for people to take public transport, share journeys, commute by bicycle rather than taking the car, or simply walk, can enhance the quality of life in European town and cities.
European Mobility Week is an annual campaign on sustainable urban mobility, organised with the support of the European Commission. The campaign, which runs from 16-22 September every year, aims to encourage European local authorities to introduce and promote sustainable transport measures, and to invite citizens to try out alternatives to the private car.
The European Mobility Week journey started in 1998 with the French ‘In Town Without My Car!’ day. This initiative still runs in September each year to encourage towns and cities to close streets to motorised vehicles for a day. This allows citizens to see a different side to their towns and cities, encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport and raising awareness of the environmental impacts of citizens’ modal choice. The success of this French initiative led to the launch of European Mobility Week in 2002.
Since then, the impact of European Mobility Week has grown across Europe and around the world. In 2012, 2158 cities representing 147.6 million citizens registered for the campaign. A total of 7717 permanent measures have been implemented, mainly focusing on infrastructure for cycling and walking, traffic calming, improving transport accessibility and raising awareness about sustainable travel behaviour.
European local authorities have been invited to sign up to the European Mobility Week Charter and publish their programmes on http://www.mobilityweek.eu/Towns and cities planning a full week of events from 16-22 September, introducing permanent measures and setting up a car-free day can also apply for the European Mobility Week Award and join the ranks of previous award winners Zagreb (Croatia), Bologna (Italy), Gävle (Sweden) and Budapest (Hungary).
Source: European Commission, press release, 16/09/2013