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CIVITAS awards were given in Graz: Back to the Future

CIVITAS Forum in Graz
Jakominiplatz in Graz. Photo: Theo Rivierenlaan | pixabay

[Civitas|Richard Adams]At the CIVITAS Forum in Graz, the cities of Antwerp (Belgium), Bremen (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden) and Vinnytsia (Ukraine) walked away with Europe’s most prestigious prizes for clean, green mobility.

At a packed CIVITAS Forum in Graz, CIVITAS awards were given for the most ambitious initiative, exemplary citizen engagement, creating a high-impact legacy through CIVITAS involvement, and transforming a city into a more liveable environment.

By renovating old Czechoslovakian-era tram technologies into clean, efficient trolleybuses, Vinnytsia stepped up for this year’s “Bold Measure” award. The town has slashed electricity use in the vehicles by 40% and reduced CO2 emissions with its ambitious new infrastructure, leading to plaudits from local citizens and Europe’s clean transport community.

Meanwhile, Antwerp scooped the “Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement” award, leading the pack with its public-private collaboration, smart use of data and progressive public communications. Through its Smart Ways to Antwerp brand, it is raising awareness, supporting the development of innovative mobility solutions, and driving real behavioural change.

Already at the vanguard of clean mobility, Stockholm triumphed with the CIVITAS “Legacy” award – with big steps on low and zero-emission vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, and safe walking and cycling paths for citizens. All this forms part of the city’s “clean mobility package”. The Swedish capital’s CIVITAS story began in 2002 with the TRENDSETTER project, whilst it is currently part of the ECCENTRIC demonstration project.

Bremen took home the final prize, the “Transformation” award, after impressive efforts to reduce car use through car sharing and integrated public transport and by offering alternatives to car ownership. In 2009, Bremen adopted the world’s first car-sharing action plan and 80% of car-sharing users own no car.

Bremen has also become a true cycling city. A 2019 German Cycling Federation survey named it Germany’s most cycle-friendly city: over 4,000 safe cycling parking spaces and a network of premium cycling routes have been added in recent years.

The plaudits in Graz also went to the Serbian town of Kruševac, named runner-up in multiple categories. The town is firmly on Europe’s sustainable mobility radar, thanks in part to new cycling infrastructure and the redesign of multiple public spaces.

Aside from the “Transformation” award, whose winer was chosen by the CIVITAS Political Advisory Committee, all winners were selected by a five-person jury made up of prominent local politicians and renowned mobility experts.