European Mobility Week 2019: Imagine how city space can feel like when there are no cars

3,087 cities in 51 countries united for European Mobility Week 2019.
How can the perception of public space be improved when there are no cars? 3,087 cities in 51 countries gave back streets to their people and made sustainable urban mobility visible during the European Mobility Week (EMW) 2019.

During the 18th edition of the EMW, from 16th to 22nd September 2019, cities around the world promoted clean mobility and sustainable urban transport. Within a one-week-program they showcased sustainable mobility alternatives to their local residents with different activities, such as tactical urbanism projects to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists in Cuenca, Ecuador or transforming an entire square to recover public space in Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

The annual European Mobility Week is not only a unique concept that makes it possible for citizens to experience how streets and public spaces can feel like when there are no cars, but also, it allows cities to showcase and experiment on practical mobility solutions tackling current urban challenges. In cooperation with many cities, GIZ on behalf of BMZ, BMU and EUROCLIMA+ was glad to expand this concept around the world and to offer a wide range of events and activities, as shown below.

Be inspired by some examples of the international activities from the European Mobility Week:

“Complete Streets and Tactical Urbanism” was a temporary project implemented by the city of Cuenca, Ecuador in cooperation with GIZ on behalf of BMZ. The project incorporated all transport modes, from pedestrians, cyclists and public transport until private motorized vehicles. The message was that “complete streets” represent more happy cyclists and pedestrians, more road safety and less traffic congestion and environmental pollution. The entire week, the city showed a colorful range of activities aimed at promoting the recovery of public space for people.

Cuenca also showed creative resources to get its message across to people through the making of a video with the local football team, who invited the inhabitants to participate in the mobility week using sustainable means of transport (Figure 2).

What city do we want to live in? That was the question raised during the European Mobility week in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. The U-LEAD Programme with Europe supported the event in which people recovered public space, usually used for parking, through activities such as yoga, chess, skating, debates and talks about sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, and economic and spatial development. The objective of the project called Sobornyi PARKing Day (Figure 3) was to invite the residents of Zhytomyr to talk about what the central square, Sobornyi, should look like and whether it is really a square or a road.

Western Balkan countries

Through the Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy efficiency (GIZ ORF-EE) program, the GIZ supported the following actions during the mobility week in the western Balkan countries.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Ministry of Transport of the Sarajevo Canton presented activities under the title Safe Roads to Schools with the aim of surveying parents and children to identify and mark roads to schools that are of greatest safety concern.

A promotional bicycle ride was organized in Sarajevo on September 22 as part of the Car Free Day, together with many promotional activities along Wilson’s promenade, which closed during the European Mobility Week.

Prishtina, Kosovo

In Prishtina, walking and cycling were promoted through the projection of the movie “Speed of Life”, a demonstration on safe cycling and walking campaigns (Figure 5).

Bitola, North Macedonia

Another example was an intervention in Bitola, North Macedonia which consisted of promoting a Zone 30 and repainting the crosswalks to spread the message that school’s surrounding areas and crosswalks belong to the children and not to the vehicles (Figure 6).

Tirana, Republic of Albania

In Tirana was held a workshop on pedestrian and cyclist safety. The workshop promoted the map of cycle lanes, the cyclist ”street codes” and the rules and map of the public transport in Tirana. In addition, a car-free day was celebrated on September 22 with a promotional bicycle ride, limiting vehicle traffic on the city streets (Figure 7).

Podgorica, Montenegro

In Podgorica, BYPAD (Bicycle Policy Audit) and PARKPAD (Parking Policy Audit) workshops were held to evaluate cycling policy conditions and the parking system and management. Podgorica is the first city in the Western Balkans and the fourth in Europe to assess parking management using the Parking Policy Audit methodology. In addition, the results of cycling and parking conditions were presented along with the results of traffic analysis to develop the SUMP of the city (Figure 8).

Rozaje, Montenegro

In the Municipality of Rozaje, Montenegro, with the support of the GIZ ORF EE, many activities were organized within the European Mobility Week. It included the promotion of walking and cycling, the introduction of permanent measures such as the construction of bicycle parking lots, a total ban of traffic of motor vehicles on a pedestrian and bicycle path and the placement of eight traffic warning signs near elementary and high schools (Figure 10).

Ambato, Ecuador

Ambato, Ecuador, in cooperation with GIZ on behalf of EUROCLIMA+, conducted several conferences and activities to raise awareness among authorities and citizens about the benefits of using more sustainable and inclusive transport modes. The activities included a children’s contest that awarded the best custom with recyclable materials, a forum called “Citizen Culture Change”, and the recovery of public space with a market for food and handicrafts. See more:

Antofagasta, Chile

The city of Antofagasta, Chile, in cooperation with GIZ on behalf of EUROCLIMA+, conducted the “Climate change and sustainable urban mobility” seminar which promoted a more integrated, connected and inclusive city. The seminar was addressed to local and regional government authorities, academics, technicians and inhabitants. In addition, Antofagasta’s implemented a citizen’s forum, public space appropriation activities, information stands and competitions with the aim of promoting a sustainable urban mobility.

Other worldwide projects:

Guadalajara, Mexico

Guadalajara, Mexico, celebrated the mobility week through activities such as research of female Mibici users, a theatrical presentation called “Monologues on bicycle”, artistic interventions in public space, a massive bicycle ride, and exploratory walks to define the location of “Puntos Púrpura”, which are spaces that will provide safe mobility for women.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

The city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, carried out an interactive activity and transformation of public space with the aim of promoting, in a humorous way, the rules of circulation and teach the importance of giving priority to pedestrians when crossing the road. The action focused on orientation, education and safety of the most vulnerable in traffic.

In addition, the embarkation and disembarkation areas of vehicles were signposted, with the aim of making it easier for passengers of private vehicles and users of mobility applications to locate the place where they should wait for the vehicles.

See more on

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the tactical urbanism project “Zone 30 Confisco” was launched with a musical show for children with songs on the importance of active mobility and road safety. With various activities, residents were able to experience how public space can be recovered while improving road safety.

Naucalpan, Mexico

In Mexico, the district of Naucalpan and the Faculty of Acatlán of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), conducted an awareness-raising activity with the aim of promoting road and social education among its inhabitants.

Beykoz, Turkey

In Beykoz, Turkey bicycle training courses for all ages were conducted and people were introduced to “Bicycle Taxi” and “Cargo Bicycle” practices to allow them to familiarize themselves with these vehicles.

Summary / Take away:

Overall, the European Mobility Week was once again an opportunity for cities around the world to be creative and experience livable, safe and inclusive cities. The colorful and vibrant activities allowed participants to move in healthy and eco-friendly transport modes, as well as reclaim public space for people. Therefore, what are you doing to improve sustainable urban mobility? Save the date for next year’s activities and join the EMW from 16-22 September 2020.

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ContactItzel Garcia Mejia, Jasmin Reinhard

Cuenca, Ecuador (Photo above by: LlactaLAB, 2019)

Mobility Week 2019 in Cuenca, Ecuador (Photo by: EMOV EP Cuenca, 2019)

Sobornyi PARKing Day (before and after) in Zhytomyr, Ukraine (Photo by: Schaefer, M., 2019)

Presentation of the project in the Canton Sarajevo (Photo by: Balkans Green Energy News, 2019)

Promoting SUMP Maps -Pedestrian, Cycling, Traffic Management and Safety in Prishtina (Photo by: Balkans Green Energy News, 2019)

Pavements and crosswalks to schools are for children, not for vehicles (Bitola, North Macedonia) (Photo by: Balkans Green Energy News, 2019)

European Mobility Week in SEE (Photo by: GIZ ORF EE, 2019)

European Mobility Week in SEE (Photo by: GIZ ORF EE, 2019)

Bike tour in Municipality Rozaje, Montenegro (Photo by: Kljajic, Marija, 2019)

Mobility Week 19 (Photo by: Grupo FARO, 2019)

World Car Free Day (Photo by: Plataforma de Movilidad Urbana Sostenible en LATAM, 2019)

Monologues on bicycle (Photo by: AMIM, 2019)

Mobility Week (Photo by: Ciudad de Sao Paolo, 2019)

Zona 30 Confisco (Photo by: Muñoz, M., 2019)

Awareness-raising activity (Photo by: Dirección de Movilidad de Naucalpan, 2019)

Mobility Week (Photo by: Beykoz Belediyesi, 2019)