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Brussels, 15 September 2010

European Mobility Week 2010: 'Travel Smarter, Live Better'

From 16 to 22 September 2010, hundreds of towns and cities across Europe and beyond will take part in European Mobility Week, the biggest global event dedicated to sustainable urban travel. The 2010 campaign theme – Travel Smarter, Live Better – recognises the detrimental effects that current urban transport trends have on citizens' health. The aim is to encourage local authorities to promote alternatives to the car and highlight their positive impact on public health and the environment.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Most of the world's people live in urban areas. Most of our daily journeys start and end in urban areas, so we really depend on urban transport systems. We all suffer from the negative effects of urban transport such as congestion, accidents, poor air quality or noise, which clearly diminish our quality of life. These problems are not local matters but concern the EU as a whole. By working together, I am certain we can come up with innovative and sustainable ways to tackle the mobility problems in cities and give people more alternatives that would suit their needs."

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Too many Europeans rely on their cars for short journeys. This is a concern: more driving means more accidents on the road and more air pollution. The theme of European Mobility Week 2010 – Travel Smarter, Live Better – should be a wake-up call to local authorities to think more about the impact of travel policies on the urban environment and quality of life and help people make smarter, healthier choices."

Travel Smarter, Live Better

The heavy use of vehicles in cities, particularly private cars, creates many health challenges for citizens. These include injuries and fatalities due to road accidents, respiratory infections and diseases from air pollution, and chronic conditions such as obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Other risk factors to physical and mental health include social isolation and community breakdown triggered by traffic congestion and reduced public space, and noise pollution leading to sleep disturbance and stress.

Mobility Week is intended to change people's travel behaviour by offering environmentally-friendly alternatives to the car. The public get the chance to sample alternative forms of transport and local authorities have the opportunity to test-run new services and infrastructure. A lasting legacy is ensured as participating cities are encouraged to launch at least one permanent practical measure. The week culminates in a Car Free Day, officially designated as 22 September, when participating towns and cities set aside areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

Mobility Week highlights for 2010

Among the many events being organised in Bologna, Italy, is an auction of second hand bicycles found abandoned around the city. The event is being managed by a university students' association in collaboration with the Municipality of Bologna. Lucky bidders will receive safety tools, brochures about road safety and other promotional material and gadgets.

London's Smithfield Market is the venue for the capital's first City Cycle Style event on 17 September celebrating cycling as a fashionable form of transport. Participants are invited to turn up in their best cycling outfit and meet cycle fashion designers, try on outfits and sit on the saddles of some of the latest two wheel designs. Part of the money raised from the event will go to a charity which collects second-hand bikes and ships them to Africa.

The city of Brno in the Czech Republic has developed a range of activities promoting Nordic walking, cycling and inline skating. The programme includes guided city tours, training and public exercises accompanied by open air music performances.

Growing participation

Mobility week has seen a continuous increase in the number of cities taking part since its launch in 2002. Last year, a record 2,181 cities representing some 237 million people registered to take part. More than 4,440 permanent measures were introduced as a result of the week-long campaign. European Mobility Week's successful model is also increasingly being adopted by countries outside Europe including Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Japan and Taiwan.

European Mobility Week is coordinated by three non-governmental organisations specialising in urban environmental issues: Eurocities, Energie-Cités and Climate Alliance. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Environment provides financial support and organises the annual European Mobility Week Awards for the best programme of activities and measures.

For further information visit the European Mobility Week website:

www.mobilityweek.eu


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