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LIFEnews features 2009

LIFE and sustainable mobility: a vehicle for tackling climate change

(photo:LIFE05 ENV/IT/000870) Goods brought in and out of Lucca
(Italy) pass through the CEDM
transitpoint.
(photo:LIFE05 ENV/IT/000870)

Last month’s European Mobility Week generated a raft of successful environmental actions promoting sustainable mobility approaches and LIFE projects have been instrumental in supporting the aims of this increasingly popular EU initiative.

‘Improving City Climates’ was the theme for this year’s European Mobility Week, which ran from September 16th to 22nd and stimulated environmentally-friendly transport actions in hundreds of towns and cities across the EU. Marking Mobility Week’s eighth consecutive year, the 2009 activities aimed to underline the importance of local level efforts for tackling climate change.

Particular attention was paid to promoting the quality of life benefits that can be gained from alternative transport modes to the car, such as cycling, walking, and public transport. Greater use of car-sharing and car-pooling schemes was also encouraged for their contributions that EU citizens can make to the high levels issues being discussed at the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in December.

Originating from the French LIFE project ‘In town without my car’, European Mobility Week has now grown into a fully fledged EU initiative that involves a seven day public programme of innovative activities and events.

This year’s emphasis on promoting sustainable urban mobility saw a wide range of novel schemes including: Portugal’s ‘Trips for trash’ scheme in Almada, whereby the public were able to exchange recyclable materials for free public transport tickets; Users of park-and-ride schemes in France’s Nantes were treated to car cleaning services in an attempt to reduce congestion concerns; Children’s perspectives on car-free days featured prominently in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava; Authorities in Brussels organised a series of ‘My village in the city’ events dedicated to local solutions for addressing urban transport challenges; and Polish authorities in Krakow endorsed a large scale effort to increase cycling among the city’s residents.

Sustainability forms a key aim of the Mobility week, both in terms of promoting environmentally sensitive activities and also long term commitments from the participating regions to maintain at least one permanent mobility measure after the week has finished.

Almada Logo Almada Logo

These objectives stem from continuation work that reinforced the original in town without my car LIFE project’s outputs. Its successor, the SMILE initiative, received LIFE funding to build on the previous project’s pioneering progress and raise awareness about good practice approaches in sustainable urban mobility. Technical assistance was provided to 10 different demonstration projects and a series of studies resulted in publications covering guidelines for road traffic noise abatement, sustainable mobility related recommendations for local authorities, and advice concerning socially inclusive transport management approaches.

SMILE received recognition for its inspirational work by a ‘Best of the Best’ LIFE Environment project award, and its promotion of good practice approaches to urban mobility represent useful contributions to the LIFE programme’s portfolio of project expertise that now exists concerning sustainable transport activity.

A great many different examples exist such as:

  • LIFE05 ENV/IT/000870, which has also received a LIFE ‘Best’ project award and established the ‘Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution’ in Italy’s historic town centre of Lucca;
  • LIFE02 ENV/UK/000136, where the UK project team facilitated an integrated package of measures to improve ambient air quality in Liverpool using sustainable mobility policies; and
  • LIFE05 ENV/IT/000839, involving work to reduce commercial vehicle traffic flows by improving connections between demand and supply-side information systems.

Further information about LIFE’s collection of good practice projects concerning sustainable mobility can be found on the website’s urban transport section, energy transport list, bio fuels feature and the ‘Automotives Industry’ download link in the industry & production thematic pages.


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