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CHANGWON/Republic of Korea – Today cities are often planned around the car rather than the needs of their residents.EcoMobility promotes sustainable transport options, focusing on the needs of people in our cities and offering real choices on how to get around our cities in a smarter way.
The concept of EcoMobility refers to mobility without dependency on private motorized vehicles, such as a car or a motorcycle, and covers both public transport and active means of transport such as cycling and walking. EcoMobility can provide real solutions to the challenges cities are facing in sustainable urban transport.
The EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities, organized by Changwon City and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, is bringing together over 300 participants from all over the world to talk about sustainable transport solutions for cities. Changwon, also known as the environmental capital of the Republic of Korea, is taking the lead, for example, through its innovative Changwon NUBIJA bicycle sharing system.
Gil Penalosa, former Director of Parks and Recreation of Bogotà, Colombia and Executive Director of 8-80 Cities, underlined in his inspiring keynote address: “EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these 3 systems clicking together: connectivity is the key”.
The economic and social benefits of EcoMobility were also highlighted. “‘Eco’ does not have to mean difficult or inconvenient: in most cases, it will also mean significant financial savings. Right now we prioritize cars. When we get our priorities right, we will get our systems right”, according to Debra Efroymson, Regional Director of Healthbridge.
The congress reached a resounding consensus: a paradigm shift of planning processes in cities is needed to achieve successful EcoMobility. Urban sustainable transportation plans should focus more on moving people rather than moving vehicles. Stephen Yarwood, Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Australia, highlighted that cities, as places for people to live, work and play, should aim to reduce car dependence and encourage walking and cycling. To encourage this green movement, the city has implemented Solar-Powered Public Transportation. These buses are 100% solar powered and are free of charge to the delight of inhabitants and tourists staying in the center of Adelaide. It allows everyone to travel easily around the city while protecting the environment and saving money.
The congress also showcased examples from a number of pioneering EcoMobile cities around the world, including Tokyo, Boulder and Utrecht, highlighting outstanding examples of bike sharing systems, intermodality and EcoMobility innovations.
EcoMobility Changwon 2011 is also hosting the officially launch of the new EcoMobility Alliance. Changwon City and ICLEI have select pioneer cities from all over the world which are eager to take on the challenge of becoming cities of EcoMobility excellence. The vision is that of vibrant cities where citizens can enjoy a high quality of life and access goods, services, people and information in a sustainable way.
Credit Photo : Mario Roberto Duran