Local consumption, 0 km, waste reduction and reuse... It is increasingly clear that the future lies in greater commitment to sustainability in all spheres of our lives. And this certainly includes mobility, urban and long-distance.
Sustainable mobility, also known as ecomobility, is defined as "efficient, safe, equitable, healthy, participatory and competitive mobility" according to the Spanish Instituto Sindical de Trabajo, Ambiente y Salud (ISTAS). Its main goal is to achieve travel that does not generate a negative impact on the surrounding environment. This not only benefits the environment, but can also improve our quality of life through the use of different eco-friendly technologies and the local resources.
Some day-to-day examples of sustainable mobility are issues such as how to ensure that transport is non-polluting, uses renewable energies, and is adapted to the physical needs of everyone, and to develop an efficient, healthy and sustainable interurban transport system. Other more concrete examples consist in allowing foldable bicycles and scooters in public transport; and encouraging the use of these forms of mobility versus other more polluting options like cars, by implementing bus lanes throughout the city among other measures.
Although this type of mobility is still talked about as a goal, it already has a presence in multiple cities around the world. This is because of its many advantages:
- It contributes to and improves health, reducing harmful particles in the air.
- Traffic jams and stress decrease and travel efficiency is increased.
- Noise pollution rates and therefore noise are reduced.
- It achieves less oil exploitation, which represents a risk to the environment.
However, the main aim of sustainable mobility is to reduce the CO2 emissions generated by conventional means of transport. In the European Union, transport accounts for 30% of these emissions, of which 72% comes from road transport. Cars are the main pollutant.
The best cities for sustainable mobility
Arcadis has published its Sustainable Cities Index 2022, which analyses urban sustainability and its impact. It is no coincidence that the top 20 cities include Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Berlin.
Fortunately, more and more cities around the world are already implementing measures to achieve increasingly sustainable mobility. But Europe is the undisputed leader. According to the latest report by the European campaign Clean Cities, which shows the sustainable mobility status of 36 European cities, Oslo, Amsterdam and Helsinki lead this ranking. The top 10 is closed by Barcelona, the first Spanish city on the list with an overall score of 56.90%.
In this study, each city is assigned a score based on 11 indicators grouped into five categories: space for people, road safety, access to sustainable mobility solutions, existence of mobility policies that respect the climate, and air quality.