AUSTRIA – Europe’s sustainable transport pioneers were celebrated this week at the prestigious annual CIVITAS Awards in Graz.

The cities of Antwerp, Bremen, Stockholm and Vinnytsia were the big winners for the strides they are making in accelerating innovative clean, green mobility solutions. Awarded by leading mobility experts during the sold out CIVITAS Forum, which we were media partners with, gongs recognising ‘most ambitious initiative, exemplary citizen engagement, creating a high-impact legacy through CIVITAS involvement, and transforming a city into a more liveable environment’ were presented to the winners.

The Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia won the 2019 Bold Measure title. In ‘renovating old Czechoslovakian-era tram technologies into clean, efficient trolleybuses, Vinnytsia has slashed electricity use in the vehicles by 40% and reduced CO2 emissions with its ambitious new infrastructure, leading to plaudits from local citizens and Europe’s clean transport community’.

Serhii Morhunov, Mayor of Vinnytsia, said: “Thank you for this commendation and recognising our progress in sustainable urban mobility. Retrofitting our trolleybuses into energy-efficient vehicles is one of many measures to modernise our infrastructure. This forms part of our vision to create an eco-friendly and green city in which we prioritise the development of public transport and cycling.”

Antwerp walked away with the Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement award, thanks to its ‘public-private collaboration, smart use of data and progressive public communications’. While ‘through its Smart Ways to Antwerp brand, it is raising awareness, supporting the development of innovative mobility solutions, and driving real behavioural change’.

“The City of Antwerp has united all stakeholders and partners behind an ambitious project that is not only solving existing traffic problems, but also changing the way the city looks, feels, moves and lives. Receiving this award for Smart Ways to Antwerp is truly an honour,” said Koen Kennis, Antwerp’s Alderman for Mobility.

Stockholm won the CIVITAS Legacy award – ‘with big steps on low and zero-emission vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, and safe walking and cycling paths for citizens. All this forms part of the city’s “clean mobility package”. The Swedish capital’s CIVITAS story began in 2002 with the TRENDSETTER project, whilst it is currently part of the ECCENTRIC demonstration project’.

”We are delighted and proud to receive the CIVITAS Legacy Award,” said Eva Sunnerstedt, Manager, Clean Vehicles in Stockholm, City of Stockholm. “It recognises 25 years of dedicated work to reduce air pollution, cut greenhouse gas emissions and enable travel by sustainable modes. The European cooperation that CIVITAS facilitates helps improve local processes, test new ideas and learn from others.”

The Transformation award went to Bremen. The city has excelled in its ‘efforts to reduce car use through car sharing and integrated public transport and by offering alternatives to car ownership. In 2009, Bremen adopted the world’s first Car-Sharing Action Plan and 80% of car-sharing users own no car. Bremen has also become a true cycling city. A 2019 German Cycling Federation survey named it Germany’s most cycle-friendly city: over 4,000 safe cycling parking spaces and a network of premium cycling routes have been added in recent years’.

Dr Maike Schaefer, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban and Housing Development, Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, said: “The way Bremen combines car sharing with a host of alternatives travel modes to cars is special. Over 5,000 people have already got rid of their cars, whilst reclaimed street space makes the city more liveable. We are thrilled that CIVITAS has recognised our achievements.”

The Serbian town of Kruševac also merits a mention, having been named runner-up in multiple categories. In progressing new cycling infrastructure, and by redesigning multiple public spaces, it is very much a rising star of Europe’s sustainable mobility movement.

Welcoming the impact being made across the continent, Herald Ruijters, Director, Directorate General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission, said: “These inspiring successes show that Europe can lead the way with bold, ambitious action in sustainable mobility and clean transport. Sustainable mobility of course means reducing carbon emissions and at the same time creating new business opportunities for our industries.”

He added: “But most of all, sustainable mobility implies that Europe is home to people who can move and connect in a high-quality environment in a manner of their choosing. These stories from around Europe show that we want that quality of life for everyone.”