Safer streets and cleaner air: wrapping up a month of sustainable mobility actions

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As the world faces a growing climate crisis, there is no longer time to sit back and discuss solutions. It’s time to act.

Looking back, September 2019 will forever be remembered as a month of action.

While millions of young people around the world took to the streets, urging policy and decision makers to do better at fighting the climate crisis, hundreds of decision makers and city leaders came together in New York (USA) for the UN Climate Action Summit, which focused primarily on that one word, easier said than done: “action”.

The transport sector represents 40% of CO2 emissions in our cities. So how can we get to a net carbon footprint of zero emissions as quickly as possible? Through our ‘One Planet, One Plan’ campaign, UITP launched its Climate Action Manifesto, outlining a four-step plan to cut transport emissions. Each step of our plan is supported by concrete climate actions and initiatives taken by our members from cities around the world. These are ready-to-implement solutions that can help address local emissions, thereby addressing the climate crisis.

What better opportunity to release a campaign that pushes city-level climate action to reduce transport emissions, than in parallel with the launch of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2019 (16-22 September). Always a week full of sustainable mobility actions, this year’s theme, ‘Walk with us!’, centred on safe walking and cycling, which fits perfectly with Step 1 of our Climate Action Manifesto: prioritising breathable and walkable streets through urban planning.

A record-breaking number of towns and cities registered MOBILITYACTIONS for the week, clocking in with a total of 2,363 registered actions from 3,089 registered towns and cities. As usual, this week has proven that climate-friendly transport initiatives CAN be easily implemented and CAN make a significant impact on climate change. Check out the full list of Mobility Actions submitted this year and get inspired for your own town or city!

At the kick-off event of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, in Brussels (Belgium), the European Commission launched the EU Urban Road Safety Award. This award will be granted to the city or town that has implemented innovative long-term safety improvements, in the spirit of the “Safe System” concept. Such an initiative promotes safe and accessible walking and cycling areas, which can improve the number of pedestrians and cyclists in cities. The winner of this award, along with the annual EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and SUMP award winners, will be announced in spring 2020.

One of the most popular initiatives during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is the internationally recognised Car-Free Day, which took place on Sunday, 22 September this year. In Paris (2015), emissions dropped by 40% on car-free day, while in London (2018), local emissions dropped by nearly 89% when cars were prohibited from entering the city centre. The results are still coming in for 2019, but the trend is undeniable: when reducing private car use, local emissions plummet.

UITP is not just a proud supporter of Car-Free Day, and the positive benefits it has on city living around the world, but this year we stepped forward to participate in the debate surrounding its impact. Our Senior Director of Strategy Sylvain Haon was a speaker during the World Car Free Day Summit (London, 20 September) discussing “The return of public transport and 2030 mobility in traffic-free cities”. Alongside Sian Berry, the co-leader of the Green Party in England and Wales and Ben Rogers, Director of the Centre for London, Sylvain discussed the push for more efficient land use and traffic-free city centres – the important role public transport plays in making our cities healthier and more liveable is key: “there aren’t solutions without cities designed where people are enabled to walk more, cycle more, and have better access to more public transport.” says Sylvain Haon.

If you’d like to submit your city for one of these prestigious awards, head here to find out how. The call for submissions is now open!

Join our #ONEPLANet campaign and use our four-step plan in your climate action plans!

Follow us on Twitter (@UITPnews), where we will be sharing more case studies over the next few months highlighting climate actions that reduce emissions!

Missed our news from the UN Climate Action Summit? Catch up here!

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