Every year from 16-22 September, thousands of towns and cities across Europe and further afield participate in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, the European Commission’s flagship awareness-raising campaign on sustainable urban mobility.


This year’s theme will see towns and cities organise activities under the title ‘Safe and healthy with sustainable mobility’. The choice of this year’s theme pays tribute to the hardships felt by Europe – and the world – throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reflects on the opportunities for change resulting from this unprecedented health crisis in Europe.

Cities and urban administrations have established creative, resilient responses to the pandemic. This year, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK celebrates the resilience of cities and their achievements, while seeking to sustain this momentum.

How to participate?

Cities from Europe and beyond can participate in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK by carrying out at least one of the following measures: organising activities focused on sustainable mobility during the week; implementing one or more permanent transport measures; or holding a ‘Car-Free-Day’. Cities who carry out all three measures are eligible to apply for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK awards.

Last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,945 towns and cities participated in the campaign, marking it as the second highest participation rate ever witnessed since the campaign began.

Thanks to their commitment to sustainable mobility, Portuguese cities have been consistently recognised through the awards.

20 years of impact

This year marks a special year for the campaign, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. During this time, towns and cities have profoundly impacted sustainable urban mobility across Europe, with impressive results to show for it.

Participating towns and cities have implemented more than 126,000 permanent measures, across a range of categories, including: freight distribution; mobility management; traffic calming; public transport; and pedestrianisation, to name a few.

Examples of just some of the permanent measures introduced to date, as a result of the campaign, include: the introduction of more than 2,700 public bicycle sharing schemes; the creation or enlargement of close to 5,000 pedestrian streets; the extension or creation of more than 2,900 greenways; the introduction of more than 5,000 speed reduction programmes near schools; the installation of more than 3,500 wheelchair ramps; the adoption of more than 2,000 school travel plans; and the introduction of more than 1,000 e-vehicle charging points. These results and achievements will be highlighted later this year when the campaign launches its digital museum in celebration of the 20th anniversary.

Portuguese towns and cities consistently recognised for excellence

Each year, the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards recognise local authorities judged to have done the most to raise awareness of sustainable mobility during the campaign. Thanks to their commitment to sustainable mobility, Portuguese cities have been consistently recognised through the awards.

In 2019, Alfândega da Fé received a top three spot in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award category for smaller municipalities, with the jury praising their diverse and comprehensive activities, which made streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

Ciclo Expresso do Oriente_ Coypright_Parque das Nações Parish Council

In 2018, Lisbon won the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK award for larger municipalities, impressing the jury with its strong vision for a more sustainable mobility culture. During EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018, residents of the Portuguese capital could take their bicycle on board a train for free, giving them a real incentive to try out multimodality. The city also organised museum bicycle trips, free bicycle repair workshops, and a special prize for people and organisations that promoted the use of bicycles. These activities complemented the inauguration of 31 new bicycle-sharing stations, new and expanded bicycle lanes, and 800 new bicycle parking areas. The city also carried out an effective communications campaign, managing to reach both residents and visitors.

Copyright_Oliveira do Bairro

While, in 2018, Oliveira do Bairro secured a top three spot in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards category for smaller municipalities, impressing the jury with their wide range of permanent measures and strong partnerships with local stakeholders.

To learn more about the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign, and to participate, visit: mobilityweek.eu


The publication of this article is part of a partnership between Smart Cities magazine and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and was originally published in the July/August/September 2021 of Smart Cities. Available in Portuguese.