30 Years of Sustainable Mobility

André Muno on mobility as a key to sustainable climate action at the local level

30 years of Climate Alliance also means 30 years of climate action campaigns. From the very beginning, we have focused on raising awareness on climate issues, especially with powerful campaigns. Through the years, the network has placed a focus on one topic in particular: sustainable mobility.

Mobility is a key to sustainable climate action at the local level. How has this aspect changed over the last 30 years and what potential lies therein over the coming decades? We take this opportunity to talk to an expert from our own ranks. André Muno is the project manager for CITY CYCLING, today a Climate Alliance success story and the world's largest campaign on cycling. The CITY CYCLING campaign was initiated in 2008. Since then, a lot has changed regarding sustainable mobility.

“At the beginning we had to do a lot of convincing as to why CITY CYCLING was necessary at all. Local authorities often felt there was no need for soft measures such as public relations for cycling or sustainable mobility. That has changed fundamentally. Municipalities now find themselves in need of explanations if no measures are taken. In general, society has become more demanding on this issue: A simple protective strip applied to roads is, for example, no longer a reason for exuberance according to the motto 'Well, at least something!' People instead expect cycling infrastructure that meets their needs for safety and quality. In the eyes of many, the expansion of infrastructure for cycling (or sustainable mobility) should be given the same importance as that given to the expansion of infrastructure for cars over the last decades,” comments the CITY CYCLING project manager on the development of recent years.

Powerful awareness raising campaigns can help further strengthen sustainable mobility. “This is important because the transportation transformation begins in our minds: people and communities must not only be theoretically convinced that the bicycle is a good alternative to the car, they must be convinced to the point that improvements to bicycle infrastructure meet with sufficient social acceptance,” says Muno. The CITY CYCLING campaign therefore not only addresses citizens but also politicians in order to put promotion of cycling on the political agenda." In order to improve the cycling infrastructure, we help municipalities use their residents’ knowledge as cycling experts in everyday life. Via the RADar! reporting platform, cyclists can easily give their municipal administration tips on how to improve the infrastructure. In the MOVEBIS research project (financed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, editor’s note), the routes taken by cyclists are evaluated and findings are made available to municipalities in an online tool for cycle traffic planning,” André Muno continues.

A look into the future shows that cycling has great potential to further sustainable mobility. "About 50% of the distances travelled by car are less than five kilometres – 25% are even shorter than three kilometres. These figures alone illustrate the enormous potential of cycling,” explains Muno. E-Bikes and electrically assisted cargo bikes can also play an important role in the future. For the CITY CYCLING team, it is clear what needs to happen in the future: “In our opinion, two things are crucial in order to further exploit this potential: entrenched mobility behaviour and old-fashioned attitudes – primarily in municipal administrations and politics – have to change so that the infrastructure can be adapted to new requirements in a future-oriented manner. This is exactly what CITY CYCLING has been working on for bicycle traffic.”