EcoMobility Open Days: Discussing the future of urban mobility

The third and fourth days of the EcoMobility days brought together transportation experts and local representatives to exchange on numerous key topics to advance sustainable urban mobility under the New Urban Agenda, the outcome of the Habitat 3 conference in Quito, Ecuador.

The third day opened with a high level panel on the future of urban mobility. A rich and lively discussion took on between Monika Zimmermann, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI, Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, Deputy Director General of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation, Johannes Karremans Director Technical Assistance of EUROCLIMA Program, Clayton Lane, CEO of ITDP and Marcelo Narvaez, Director of Planning at the Secretariat of Mobility, Quito, Ecuador.

  • "We have only one shot to get our cities right!” Clayton Lane, CEO of ITDP, highlighted the two narratives that are, according to him, an obstacle to sustainable urban mobility: the fact that electric vehicles are necessary for economic growth and the fact that electric vehicles are all that needs to be done to move towards sustainable urban transport systems.

Beyond its dramatic effects on climate change, air pollution killed 3,7 million people in 2012, particularly in the Global South. This issue is even more crucial as transportation is growing all over the world. Presentations focused on easy-to-implement solutions and quick wins to achieve clean air in cities.
  • “Improving fuel quality is already a huge part of the solution to reduce air pollution linked to mobility” Sebastian Galarza - Researcher and Program Lead for Centro Mario Molina Chile

Benefitting from the presence of many representatives from Latin American cities, the afternoon session focused on sustainable transport in Latin American cities. The session outlined various approaches to mobility as well as some common challenges faced by cities such as the difficulty to ensure accessibility to public transport to all echelons in a city.
  • Eleonora Piriz, Manager of Comprehensive Planning Area of Rosario, presented how Rosario includes citizens in transport planning to get buy-in.

The day ended with a session focusing on safe and healthy routes to school, a theme that was successfully included in the New Urban Agenda thanks to the lobbying work of FIA Foundation (@FIAfdn). Today, road crashes are the number one killer of 15 to 29 years old in the world and soon expected to be the number one killer for 4 to 15 years old children. This issue is of prime importance in all cities where most children go to school by foot.
  • “Let’s make the footpath and the speed hump the polio vaccine of this generation.” Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, presented the chocking reality of children road accidents on their way to schools. He called for urgent action from cities to save lives of children.

The fourth day was the occasion for city representatives and representatives from the private sector to discuss the advantages and risks associated with Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and to share about cities’ experiences and challenges related to Active Mobility.

  • Margareta Rönngren, Deputy Mayor of the City of Umeå, Sweden, that has already accomplished great achievements in terms of ecomobility, presented the challenge for the city to get men to use sustainable transportation means. The city is now trying to plan mobility with gender in focus, for instance making sure that typical men workplaces are also distributed by public transport.

The EcoMobility Open Days ended after this final morning and participants were invited to join the Transport Day that was jointly organized by ICLEI and the Partnership for Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT).