European Mobility Week takes place every year from 16 to 22 September, with the aim of encouraging sustainable transport measures and inviting people to try out alternatives to car use.
Since its introduction in 2002, EMW has steadily grown, both across Europe and around the world. In 2015, almost 1900 cities from 45 countries participated and organised activities during EMW. Over half of the participating cities implemented permanent measures, amounting to a total of 5657, primarily focusing on mobility management, accessibility and new or improved bicycle facilities.
The refurbishment of Wellington Front, the new Gibraltar Bus Tracker Web App and the soon to be launched “Redibike” scheme are all examples of permanent measures here in Gibraltar. The week culminates in the Car-Free Day, where one or several areas are set aside solely for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport for a whole day.
This year, the initiative in Gibraltar is being spearheaded by the Department of the Environment & Climate Change and the theme is 'Smart Mobility. Strong Economy'.
The DECC is organising an “In Town Without My Car Day” this Sunday 18th September. The event will involve the closure of a main stretch of road from the Referendum Gate to the south all the way down Line Wall road as far as the junction with the Piazza. Access will only be permitted for public service and emergency vehicles.
Activities will be held in the area between 10am and 2pm including a treasure hunt, a cycle safety course with the RGP, free bicycle checks with the Raleigh shop, interactive demonstrations with the Alameda Gardens team, artisan market stalls and a raffle in aid of the GBC Open Day.
The DECC is also asking people to spend some time this week thinking about their travel choices. People who travel by active transport modes, such as walking and cycling, are not only more productive at work, they also take fewer sick days and spend less time on average in the doctor’s office. And the benefits go far beyond better health. Property values in cities with good cycling facilities and efficient public transport tend to be higher, while children who walk or cycle to school perform better in class.
Every car taken off the road frees up road space for other users, making the experience more pleasant all round. Try walking, cycling or taking the bus to work or school at least one day this week – you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised!