Europe’s leading lights in sustainable transport were honoured yesterday at the 2019 CIVITAS Awards. Our member cities of Antwerp, Bremen, Stockholm walked away with Europe’s most prestigious prizes for clean, green mobility, as did the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia.
At a packed CIVITAS forum in Graz, top mobility experts presented the awards for the most ambitious initiative, exemplary citizen engagement, creating a high-impact legacy through CIVITAS involvement, and transforming a city into a more liveable environment.
Antwerp scooped up the ‘Citizen and stakeholder engagement’ award, leading the pack with its public-private collaboration, smart use of data and progressive public communications. Through its Smart Ways to Antwerp brand, it is raising awareness, supporting the development of innovative mobility solutions, and driving real behavioural change.
Koen Kennis, Antwerp’s Alderman for Mobility, commented: “Antwerp has united all stakeholders and partners behind an ambitious project that is not only solving existing traffic problems, but also changing the way the city looks, feels, moves and lives. Receiving this award for Smart Ways to Antwerp is truly an honour.”
Already at the vanguard of clean mobility, EUROCITIES president, Stockholm, triumphed with the CIVITAS
‘Legacy’ award – with big steps on low and zero-emission vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, and safe walking and cycling paths for citizens. All this forms part of the city’s ‘clean mobility package’.
“We are delighted and proud to receive the CIVITAS legacy award”, commented Eva Sunnerstedt, manager, Clean vehicles in Stockholm, city of Stockholm. “It recognises 25 years of dedicated work to reduce air pollution, cut greenhouse gas emissions and enable travel by sustainable modes. The European cooperation that CIVITAS facilitates helps improve local processes, test new ideas and learn from others.”
Bremen took home the ‘Transformation’ award, after impressive efforts to reduce car use through car sharing and integrated public transport and by offering alternatives to car ownership. In 2009, Bremen adopted the world’s first car-sharing action plan and 80% of car-sharing users own no car. Bremen has also become a true cycling city. A 2019 German Cycling Federation survey named it as Germany’s most bike-friendly city: over 4,000 safe cycling parking spaces and a network of premium cycling routes have been added in recent years.
Dr Maike Schaefer, minister for climate protection, Bremen, said, “The way Bremen combines car sharing with a host of alternatives travel modes to cars is special. Over 5,000 people have already got rid of their cars, whilst reclaimed street space makes the city more liveable. We are thrilled that CIVITAS has recognised our achievements.’
By renovating old Czechoslovakian-era tram technologies into clean, efficient trolleybuses, Vinnytsia stepped up for this year’s ‘Bold Measure’ award. The town has slashed electricity use in the vehicles by 40% and reduced CO2 emissions with its ambitious new infrastructure, leading to plaudits from local citizens and Europe’s clean transport community.
The clutch of success stories at this year’s awards were warmly welcomed by Herald Ruijters, director, Directorate general for mobility and transport, European Commission.
“These inspiring successes show that Europe can lead the way with bold, ambitious action in sustainable mobility and clean transport. Sustainable mobility of course means reducing carbon emissions and at the same time creating new business opportunities for our industries”, he said. “But most of all, sustainable mobility implies that Europe is home to people who can move and connect in a high-quality environment in a manner of their choosing. These stories from around Europe show that we want that quality of life for everyone.”Our involvement in CIVITAS projects over the years has allowed EUROCITIES members to share and discover best practices in mobility and to shape European mobility policy for the better. These awards are yet another confirmation of the great strides our members are making as mobility leaders, and the centrality of cities in determining the success of Europe’s sustainable mobility ambitions.