Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

CIVITAS Awards

24th September, Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain

The CIVITAS Awards are Europe’s highest awards for clean urban transport. The award is broken into three categories: Technical Innovation, Public Participation and CIVITAS City of the Year. The awards are an annual event and are held during the CIVITAS Forum’s Annual Conference in this year’s European Green Capital – Vitoria-Gasteiz. The award was founded to recognise cities outstanding in the implementation of ambitious transport polices or activities to achieve clean urban transport.

Images courtesy of CIVITAS

 

In 2011 Utrecht (Netherlands) won the award for technical innovation and the CIVITAS City of the Year. The city, which is the fourth largest in the Netherlands, has successfully implemented solutions for sustainable freight transport. The city has put in place a comprehensive system that relies on its inland waterways through the use of an electric “beer boat”, and is using centrally co-ordinated solar-powered electric vehicle(s) called “Cargohoppers” for city-centre freight deliveries. This and a wide range of other measures including behavioural change and investment in public transport made it a clear choice for CIVITAS City of the Year.

Images courtesy of CIVITAS

Ghent (Belgium) received the award for Public Participant. Sonja Van Renssen, jury member, identified this as the winning city as a result of the “sheer breadth of its actions to engage stakeholders on sustainable urban transport policy.” “From questionnaires and face-to-face interviews to a weekly citizens working group and dialogue cafes, to hearings, letters, social media alerts, public visits and Q&A opportunities, this city has done everything it can on public engagement.”

The current European Green Capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz won approval for its Sustainable Mobility Plan and active measures to promote eco-friendly modes of transport, including improvements to the public transport system, the extension of the city’s “Superblock” with its very low level speed zones (10 km/h) and better management of freight distribution.

The European Green Capital recognises the impact that well planned sustainable transport can have on the overall environment of a city and has listed local transport as one the 12 indicators for the Award. Not only does transportation management reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it also reduces the release of air pollutants that can cause health issues such as respiratory problems. Effective sustainable urban transport means healthier citizens, more accessibility, improved safety, more efficient and cost-effective transport of people and goods.

For more information on the CIVITAS Award click here: http://www.civitas.eu/index.php?id=41

For more information on what Vitoria-Gasteiz is doing click here

For more information about the European Green Capital Award click here

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