European Mobility Week 2019, how active mobility can benefit our health and the environment

Today sees the start of the 18th edition of European Mobility Week, the European Commission’s flagship campaign promoting clean and sustainable urban transport. Running from 16-22 September, almost 3,000 towns and cities from about 50 countries will join with their activities promoting safe walking and cycling with the call to action “Walk with us!”. European Mobility Week culminates each year in the well-known Car-Free Day, when streets close for traffic and open for people.

The advantages of walking, on foot or by bicycle, are overt, not only for the environment but also for our body. Walking is good because it improves health, reduces stress, helps to relax muscle tension and improve sleep quality. The benefits are not only for the body, therefore, but also for the mind. To benefit from the exercise is our physical and psychological health, so it is essential to dedicate some time to yourself, taking the time to go for a walk.

Speaking about European Mobility Week 2019, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “This year we would like to remind EU citizens that walking is enjoyable, healthy and completely free of charge. Many times it’s also a connecting mode for a smooth multimodal journey. The EU has invested a lot of effort to make it safe as well. So put on your walking shoes and walk with us!”

Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “When it comes to clean transport, walking is the most environmentally friendly way to move around our towns and cities. Local governments can do a lot to encourage walking in urban areas, pedestrianising streets, creating low-emission zones, and allocating more space to walkers. It’s great for your health, but walking also means doing your bit for your city’s air quality, one step at a time.”

In Italy, 83 cities organize events and prepare measures for the 2019 edition, including Milan, Genoa, Rome and Turin, and several small towns, such as Cernusco sul Naviglio (Mi), Mesagne (Br) and Dolianova (Ca). In Europe, Spain with 519 participating cities ranks first among the most committed countries, followed by Austria (463) and Hungary (291).