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Raising Citizens Awareness and Appreciation of EU Research on Sustainable Transport in the Urban Environment

State of the Art - Background

Developing sustainable mobility is, more than ever, a challenge for congested urban areas across Europe. Through targeted policies and research, the European Union endeavours to meet this objective. But are European citizens aware of the impact that EU research programmes have on their daily lives? And conversely, do they realise the impact of their individual choices on urban quality of life?

This double question is addressed by the MOVE TOGETHER project. Accordingly, the objective of the project is to raise citizens' awareness and appreciation of EU research in the field of mobility, and of the overarching goal of improving mobility in the Union's major cities, which means satisfying a complex range of economic, environmental and social demands. This groundbreaking project includes average citizens from all EU Member States, working to ensure that people in high places get the message from down on the streets.


MOVE TOGETHER aims to enhance citizens' involvement and direct contribution to urban sustainable mobility by:

- raising their awareness of European targeted research and policies which will help to solve urban mobility problems;

- anticipating the knowledge of the impact that such EU research programmes may have on their daily life;

- making them conscious of how far more responsible individual choices can help to achieve better urban mobility and quality of life;

- stimulating a more active support to and participation in planning and implementing European projects, including the related innovations and sustainable mobility policies, in their cities.

The key message of the project is that citizens' involvement is essential to create a new urban mobility culture in our cities, and citizens' participative approaches should be widely disseminated and implemented across Europe.

Citizens and decision-makers should be more seriously and permanently committed together - 'moving together towards a new culture of urban mobility' - to realise the objectives of the EU Green Paper on urban mobility. Ultimately, MOVE TOGETHER will contribute to favour a global behavioural change and the emergence of a new urban mobility culture that will preserve the quality of life in our urban centres, which are home for about 80% of European citizens.

Description of Work

In the first year of the project (2008), the MOVE TOGETHER concept and a digest of the results of relevant EU-funded research projects on urban sustainable mobility have been presented and discussed with two groups of citizens:

- An international focus group of 27 citizens randomly selected from each EU country. These people have been involved in two workshops, in Brussels and Paris, during spring 2008, and a MOVE TOGETHER launch conference on 16 June, at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.

- A local group of 24 citizens randomly selected from each district of the Rome metropolitan area in Italy. These people have been involved in two workshops, during autumn 2008, and a MOVE TOGETHER local conference on 27 November, hosted by the City of Rome.

In the second year of the project (2009), the MOVE TOGETHER concept and citizens' experiences are going to be communicated to the wider European public by means of the exhibition 'Better Mobility - Move Together towards a New Culture of Urban Mobility'. The exhibition will travel to five locations: Vienna (AT), Rome (IT), Budapest (HU), Nice (FR) and Brussels (BE).

In parallel, the MOVE TOGETHER consortium will organise poster exhibitions to be held during the European Mobility Week of September 2009 in a number of cities across Europe, selected through an open call for proposals.

Expected Results

The two groups have summarised their deliberations on the topic of urban sustainable research and citizens' involvement producing two Move Together Citizens declarations, at an EU-wide level and at local level in the Rome city area. The declarations provide a coherent set of key messages showing the citizens' appreciation of EU research on urban transport and its applicability in their daily life.

Besides the city and poster exhibitions, the project has organised two conferences, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels: a launch conference, held in June 2008, and a final conference planned for 7 December 2009. The latter is with the participation of EU level policy-makers and stakeholders, representatives of the cities hosting the exhibitions, and a number of citizens that have been involved in the MOVE TOGETHER panels.

Relevant project deliverables include the citizens' declarations, a video of the overall process, a citizens' digest of EU urban transport research, methodological guidelines to help local authorities to implement the move together participatory approach at local level, and a final report to the European Commission focusing on the impact that the project methodology could produce if extended to other Seventh Framework Programme fields to raise citizen awareness of EU research goals, outcomes and impacts.