European Mobility Week 2010, 'Travel Smarter, Live Better'

Between 16 and 22 September 2010 hundreds of cities in Europe and outside celebrate European Mobility Week. This year, under the theme 'Travel Smarter, Live Better', the campaign recognises the detrimental effects that current urban transport trends have on citizens' health, and encourages local authorities to take action for sustainable urban transport.

European Mobility Week is intended to change people's travel behaviour by offering environmentally-friendly alternatives to the car. The public get the chance to sample alternative forms of transport and local authorities have the opportunity to test-run new services and infrastructure.

Besides, a lasting legacy is ensured as participating cities are encouraged to launch at least one permanent practical measure. The week culminates in a Car Free Day, officially designated as 22 September, when participating towns and cities set aside areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

The heavy use of vehicles in cities, particularly private cars, creates many health challenges for citizens. These include not only respiratory infections and diseases from air pollution, and chronic conditions such as obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, but also injuries and fatalities due to road accidents. Further to it, other risk factors to physical and mental health include social isolation and community breakdown triggered by traffic congestion and reduced public space, and noise pollution leading to sleep disturbance and stress.

'Travel Smarter, Live Better', more and more cities joining for sustainable urban mobility

Mobility week has seen a continuous increase in the number of cities taking part since its launch in 2002. On Mobility Week 2009, a record 2,181 cities representing some 237 million people registered to take part. More than 4,440 permanent measures were introduced as a result of the week-long campaign, and the Swedish city of Gävle won the 2009 European Mobility Week Award. European Mobility Week's successful model is also increasingly being adopted by countries outside Europe including Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Japan and Taiwan.

European Mobility Week is coordinated by three non-governmental organisations specialising in urban environmental issues: Eurocities, Energie-Cités and Climate Alliance. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Environment provides financial support and organises the annual European Mobility Week Awards for the best programme of activities and measures.