Tuesday, September 22, 2009

European Mobility Week- Promoting Sustainable, Green Transit

Even though Europe is light years ahead of the United States in sustainable transportation, sadly the car still ranks by far as the most used method of transport. For the past eight years European Mobility week, (http://www.mobilityweek.eu) promoting sustainable transport - walking, biking, train and bus – has worked to spread the word about the benefits of non-car transit. The week runs every year from September 16-22 and there are over 1600 cities and towns participating, with Austria and Spain at the top of the list of countries with the most participating towns. This year’s campaign will conclude Tuesday September 22 with Car-Free day.

Some cities already use a high percentage of sustainable transit including Copenhagen, Denmark and Gronningen, Holland with the highest level of bicycle usage comprising 55% of the principal transportation mode. Amsterdam, Holland and Munich, Germany clock in at 40%, with other cities using less, but climbing in numbers. On the low end, in Seville, Spain, bike transport makes up only 8% of the main method of transport, but the city is working on promoting bike use including their cheap Sevici bike rental program.

In Madrid, not known for being a bike friendly city, Trixi (http://trixi.com) bike rental is offering bikes at 1 euro/hour. ConBici is a Spanish organization promoting bike use throughout Spain (http://www.conbici.org). At their web site you can get biking information for over thirty cities in Spain. ConBici is also the driving force behind increasing the number of trains that allow bicycles.

I have found bike rentals to be cheap and easily accessible throughout French and Spanish cities so as a green traveler you can make every day car-free day when you visit these countries.

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