16 to 22 September European Mobility Week 2005
Brussel – Millions of citizens in over 930 towns and cities across Europe and in other parts of the world will be taking part in sustainable transport initiatives as part of the annual European Mobility Week, which runs this year from 16 to 22 September on the theme of â€˜Clever Commuting.â€™ European Mobility Week, now in its fourth year, seeks to promote a lasting shift towards use of environmentally benign modes of transport and to encourage citizens to consider alternatives to private cars wherever possible.
European Mobility Week 2005 will be launched on 16 September at a high-level conference at Londonâ€™s City Hall, organised with the UK Presidency of the EU, which will bring together representatives of all levels of government to share their visions for urban mobility and clean air. Both Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport Jacques Barrot and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will participate. Cities in the Czech Republic, France and Spain are contenders for the European Mobility Week Award which will be announced during the conference. As in previous years, a highlight of the week in many participating towns and cities will be a Car-Free Day.
â€œEurope promotes environment-friendly alternatives to the private car. Commuting and getting around town on foot, by bicycle or by public transport should be made more convenient and safe. European Mobility Week calls on local authorities to create the rights conditions and infrastructure to this end,â€ Commissioner Barrot said.
Commissioner Dimas added: â€œEuropean Mobility Week shows how there are alternatives to the car and how we can all contribute to cleaner air. Even if EU legislation has improved air quality, hundreds of thousands of Europeans still suffer every year from the consequences of air pollution. The responsibility to take action lies with all of us, at EU, national and local level. We can make a difference.
Municipalities in most of the EU-25, the EFTA states, Croatia and Romania, as well as in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Taiwan and Venezuela, plan to hold a Car-Free Day and/or take other initiatives during European Mobility Week to promote â€˜clever commutingâ€™ through the use of low- or no-pollution forms of transport. To date 937 towns and cities have registered their participation and the number is still rising. Local initiatives planned include the introduction of new or improved public transport services, city-centre pedestrian zones, bicycle lanes and rental facilities, zones with a 30 km/h speed limit, new â€˜park and rideâ€™ services between the city centre and suburbs, and car-sharing databases.
The London conference, titled In Motion! Visions for urban mobility and clean air, is being organised by the Commission and the UK Presidency in cooperation with Transport for London, the body responsible for Londonâ€™s public transport system. Besides Commisssioners Barrot and Dimas, speakers include Ben Bradshaw, UK minister for local environment, Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, the mayors of Budapest and Stockholm, and Wang Guangtao, Chinese Minister of Construction and President of the Chinese mayorsâ€™ association.
At a ceremony during the conference, Commissioner Dimas will announce the winner of the European Mobility Week Award for initiatives taken by towns and cities last year. The three finalists are Kromeriz in the Czech Republic, Nantes in France and Donostia-San SebastiÃ¡n in Spain. Representatives from the three municipalities will be present.
At the end of the conference the European Mobility Week Pledge will be opened for signature by organisations. The pledge commits signatories to promote the aims of Mobility Week among their members and customers. The first organisation to announce its intention to sign the pledge at the conference is the Business Leaders Initiative on Climate Change (BLICC). Commissioner Dimas expressed hope that many others would follow suit.
The conference will be preceded on 15 September by a programme of related events in London, including an exhibition about urban mobility and clean air, walking, bicycle and fuel-cell bus tours, workshops and a dinner.
A short video clip with highlights of the conference will be distributed to broadcasters via EbS within a few hours of the conferenceâ€™s close.
Further details about European Mobility Week and the conference, as well as an online registration form, can be found at www.mobilityweek-europe.org/index.php?lang=fr