Draft Action 2: Promoting sustainable and active mobility behaviour

  • Lea (Communicat... profile
    Lea (Communicat...
    5 February 2018 - updated 1 year ago
    Total votes: 5
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Walking is considered by many as the most basic, natural and independent form of transport, followed by cycling. Walking, in particular, is the backbone of and a prerequisite for every other mode of transport (e.g. walking is required to catch a bus, access a bike sharing facility or reach your final destination after exiting a transit terminal). Despite the above, active modes are still not perceived as serious and fully-fledged as complementary to other modes. This causes many other issues, such as often being neglected in policy, biased allocation of space and funding, and results in rising negative social, economic and environmental costs due to over-utilisation of polluting transport modes.

There are also many definitions what walking means and when do we perceive it as transport mode. Diversity of opinions causes misunderstandings in calculating walking/pedestrian indexes and modal splits in cities. Without detailed research on walking and cycling, it is difficult to prepare solutions to change transport behaviour into more active modes.

Many people also do not change their transport behaviour towards a more active one – even when infrastructure (physical barrier) is in place - due to mental barriers: a lack of knowledge of the availability of options, lack of motivation, lack of positive attitude towards active modes, safety and comfort aspects, perceived travel time aspects, lack of understanding of the benefits, lack of incentives from work / school and general resistance to change. Changing behaviour through soft incentives is often not evaluated, thus its effects are not known and neglected. Positive health benefits of walking and cycling are known for experts, with a lot of evidence supporting it, but often citizens are not aware of them. Sedentary life-style, on the other hand, is not only bad for health but also brings concrete losses to the economy: estimated over €80 bln is lost every year in the EU due to lack of physical activity.

Currently, the EU-wide European Mobility Week (EMW) campaign has as one its main objectives the awareness rising when it comes to sustainable and active mobility. It is used by national, regional and local authorities as an opportunity to encourage cycling and walking in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders such as schools, NGOs and companies. Experiences and best practices of the EMW should be used to reinforce this action.


Unfortunately, a key role of ‘soft’ policies such as sustainable mobility campaigns is often simply to inform people who are using their car for the majority of trips about other modes. A combination of measures, linking ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ transport policies in a co-ordinated strategy, has the greatest chance of success.

Data needs to be systematically gathered on mobility behaviour and preferences as well as barriers and drivers of mobility patterns. Traffic generators such as schools and companies should be primarily addressed because of their high potential for influencing commuting patterns. Children are most prone to transport behaviour change and have a large influence on the transport behaviour of their parents, therefore high focus is needed on introducing mobility plans for schools.


1.   Analysis of the experiences of the European Mobility Week campaign in order to collect relevant best practices and other useful learnings.

2.   Analysis of different types of campaigns (traditional campaigns, image or brand building, social & cultural events, education programmes, bike to work campaigns) and dedicated of active modes application to collect good practices.

3.   Analysis what challenges addressed above can be addressed in upcoming Raising Awareness of alternatives to private car study of DG MOVE 2018.

4.   Development of a toolkit on collecting data (focusing on increasing cycling and walking) to support elaboration of sustainable mobility plans for schools and companies.

5.   Development of a guideline with a set of key indicators for systematic monitoring and evaluation of mobility plans for schools and companies.

6.   Making mobility plans for schools and companies obligatory at relevant level (legal requirement over established employees) – courses & training on active mobility should be included on school level.

7.   Provision of training/capacity building on mobility plans elaboration for schools, large companies (e.g. 100+ employees), institutions, based on the best practices.

8.   Mainstreaming active mobility in national strategies for health, environment, education, transport/mobility and climate change.

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