EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Digital have awarded 240,000 USD (223,000 EUR) to four cities promoting active travel as part of the first Sustainable Cities Climate Impact Challenge, which is sponsored by FedEx.

Throughout this programme, the four cities will develop solutions to accelerate the transition towards cleaner and more eco-friendly mobility.

This announcement follows an open call that was launched in November 2022 for municipalities to submit proposals to decarbonise transport in European cities.

From 43 applications, the cities of Hackney (UK), Espoo (Finland), Olot (Spain) and Karasu (Türkiye) were selected to each receive grants of up to 70,000 USD (65,000 EUR).

Hackney, UK: Expanding Cargo Bike Use

The London Borough of Hackney has been awarded 70,000 USD to expand its Zero Emissions Network (ZEN), which was established in 2012 to support the transition towards more sustainable transport solutions.

Cargo bikes offer an environmentally friendly method for making last-mile deliveries

This programme targets barriers such as road danger, fear of cycling, cycle theft and the perceived high costs of bicycles, electric bikes and cargo bikes.

By partnering with local business associations and e-cargo bike suppliers, the city now aims to build an active network of businesses committed to zero-emissions transport.

Councillor Mete Coban, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, London Borough of Hackney said:

In terms of tackling the climate crisis, Hackney is one of the most ambitious councils in the UK. Our plan is to create a greener, healthier Hackney, to reduce traffic and pollution, help people travel more healthily and create more liveable neighbourhoods.

Espoo, Finland: Immigrant Outreach for Cycle Participation

Espoo has been awarded 60,000 USD to increase cycling participation amongst its immigrant population.

Most Finnish people learn to ride a bike when they’re young, but this is not the case for many refugees and immigrants, especially women and girls.

The City of Espoo’s proposal therefore aims to increase cycling by making it accessible to a group where cycling rates have been comparatively low. This approach also could also lead to a boost to business for local bicycle repair shops.

The city anticipates that this project will help increase business for bicycle repair shops

Espoo is currently expanding its bicycle infrastructure to provide a strong foundation for this project.

Pasi Laitala, Strategy Director of the City of Espoo said:

The project tackles the challenge of making sustainable transport modes such as cycling more attractive, inclusive and available form of transport. The city of Espoo aims to be carbon neutral by the end of 2030, and therefore, a systemic change toward sustainable modes of transport is necessary to make the shift happen.

Olot, Spain: Safe Cycle Parking to Reduce Anxiety and Theft

The Catalonian town of Olot has been awarded 60,000 USD to address citizens’ concerns over the safety of long-term bike parking facilities.

The city plans to install a network of facilities in areas with high transport demand, such as the hospital, sports centres and bus stations.

The city is also in the process of implementing other key measures such as bike lanes and workplace mobility plans to help ensure the success of the project.

Agustí Arbós Torrent, Mobility and Energy Transition Councilor at Olot City Council said:

This will be a great opportunity for Olot, as it will allow us to implement the network of safe bicycle shelters as soon as possible, offering a high-quality service. I would like to highlight the importance of these grants since they validate and reaffirm the importance of municipalities working towards a new mobility model aligned with the energy transition.

Karasu, Türkiye: Creating Safe Travel Corridors

In the coastal town of Karasu, 50,000 USD will help reduce reliance on motor traffic and promote the transition to active travel.

The municipality has partnered with the Sakarya University of Applied Sciences to reallocate street space and create safe and effective active travel corridors for pedestrians, bicyclists and e-scooter riders.

Karasu seeks to promote the transition to active travel and collective sustainable mobility

This project will particularly focus on engaging young people.

İshak Sarı, Mayor of Karasu, said:

Karasu is thrilled that its Climate Impact Challenge proposal has been accepted. This programme will greatly advance sustainable mobility in our town, facilitate pedestrian and bicycle mobility, benefitting citizens, visitors and the climate.

These pilot projects will be implemented throughout 2023 to support the wider climate objectives outlined in the European Green Deal, Urban Mobility Framework and the EU Cities Mission.


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