From 16-22 September, more than 2,000 European cities in 43 countries celebrated European Mobility Week (EMW) 2013. Cities local governments, together with non-governmental institutions, ran activities to create a more sustainable mobility culture. This year’s edition ran under the slogan ‘Clean air – It’s your move!’, raising awareness about the impact of transport on local air quality. Its aim was to encourage citizens all over Europe to improve their health and well-being by changing their day-to-day mobility behaviour.
While European cities’ main focus regarding mobility is the improvement of environmental quality standards, many of the world´s developing cities have other issues to solve. Due to a combination of insufficient or non-existent safety laws, poor infrastructure and a lack of enforcement, low- and middle-income countries account for 48 percent of the world’s vehicles but more than 90 percent of the world’s road traffic fatalities, according to the Bloomberg Philanthropies report. The UN has launched a 'decade for action' to tackle road traffic accidents, which kill more people around the world than malaria, and are the leading cause of death for young people, particularly in developing countries. Statistics on traffic fatalities are gathered in the UN Global status report on road safety 2013.
UCLG is representing local governments’ aspirations and supporting actions for sustainable and just development around the world. This includes sustainable mobility. Mobility is often associated with traffic regulation, mass transport or infrastructure. However, in order to address the challenges mentioned previously, pedestrians need to be put in the spotlight. The UCLG Committees on Mobility, Strategic Urban Planning and Digital and Knowledge-Based Cities are providing expertise and training and facilitating knowledge exchange between their members on the issue of walkable cities. One of the training events – a Walking Audit, will take place in October 2013 at the UCLG World Congress in Rabat.
The Walking Audit, co-organized by the two UCLG committees, the city of Rabat Planning Department and the Walk 21 NGO, is a half day event that will provide an opportunity to learn about the elements of walkability. It includes experiential learning on-street to understand a walker’s perspective in the context of Rabat, a traditional Arab city. This activity will raise awareness about the changes cities can make in order to be safer, healthier, and better-adapted to the needs of their citizens.
Please note that number of participants is limited.