Three cities paving the way towards climate-neutrality win Europe’s top mobility awards

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Representatives from the City of Aachen throwing their arms in the air in celebration of their award win.

Europe’s leaders in sustainable urban mobility and transport were honoured yesterday at the CIVITAS Awards 2021. The cities of Parma (Italy), Aachen (Germany), and Gdynia (Poland) were recognised in three distinct categories, winning Europe’s most prestigious prizes for sustainable approaches to urban mobility. The ceremony also acknowledged the accomplishments of runner-up cities Heraklion, Greece and Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni, Greece (Climate-neutral Award), as well as Cascais, Portugal and Budapest Hungary (Transformation Award).

To reach its climate goals, Parma put in place its most ambitious sustainable mobility project: a new Low Emission Zone. It is for this reason that Parma was declared the winner of this year’s “Climate-Neutral” award.

Reflecting on the win, Tiziana Benassi, Deputy Mayor for Environmental Sustainability from the City of Parma expressed: “Our ambition, shared amongst the public and private organisations that are partners of the Parma Carbon Neutrality Alliance, is to reach carbon neutrality by 2030: a very ambitious yet achievable goal if we all believe change is possible and we work every day to fight climate change. We want to promote a new mobility culture, centred on our citizens’ needs, while being more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Limiting access for the most polluting cars with the introduction of a Low Emission Zone across the entire urban area is our first step in the systemic transformation to make Parma a green and carbon-neutral city. The Green area, whose heart is the historical city centre (Blue area), will contribute to a higher quality of life of everyone visiting, working and living in Parma.”

The City of Aachen was selected as the winner of this year’s “Transformation” award in recognition that, since 2020, the city has transformed 4.2 km of cycling routes, built 1076 bicycle racks, built 150 new e-vehicle charging stations, introduced the first hydrogen garbage trucks in Germany, and increased the capacity of its Mobility and Planning Department.

This transformation is something to be truly proud of, as Uwe Müller, Head of the Traffic Planning and Mobility Division, Deputy Head, Department of Urban Development, Planning and Mobility Infrastructure from the Aachen reflected, “The CIVITAS – Transformation Award for Aachen shows that change in mobility happens! Mobility infrastructure does turn towards people: more space for safe, calm and environmental-friendly mobility, creating spaced with a high liveability. The award is both a reward and an incentive: a reward for our young and striving team of mobility-changers, tackling all areas of mobility, and an incentive to continue this sustainable process for all – for citizens, employees, decision-making politicians, visitors and, last but not least, the surrounding region. I’m really proud to be part of this transformation in Aachen!”

For its part, since 2004 when Gdynia joined its first CIVITAS project (CIVITAS TELLUS), the city has taken the lessons it has learnt via CIVITAS and incorporated them widely into their mobility measures and policies. This has influenced its implementation of new bus lanes, cargo bikes, pedestrian-friendly zones, trolley- and clean buses, mobility campaigns, data management and much more. With this track record, it is clear why Gdynia has won this year’s “Legacy” award.

As Marek Łucyk, Deputy Mayor responsible for sustainable development in Gdynia explained, “Since joining the CIVITAS community, we as a city have had the great opportunity to learn, develop and implement innovative solutions, as well as to share our knowledge on sustainable mobility. This has increased the quality and accelerated the process of our city’s development towards a green and people-friendly city. We constantly strive to provide new and better mobility solutions and enhance citizens’ sustainable ways of life and we are happy that this has been acknowledged by the CIVITAS Initiative.”

Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility, made note of the exceptional calibre of work featured among this year’s award winners, saying "A particularly exciting year for me at the CIVITAS Forum, we can see all the work over the years now leading us towards climate-neutral cities. And we hope to see 100 climate-neutral cities across the EU by 2030."

Congratulations to the winners!

Feature image (c) Stadt Aachen / Andreas Steindl

Author: Adrienne Kotler

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