September 18, 2020, Tashkent. Within the framework of the European Mobility Week, a virtual Roundtable was organized on the prospects for achieving zero emissions and road safety in Tashkent. The challenges and their solutions were discussed online in connection with the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main theme of European Mobility Week 2020 is “Zero Emission Mobility for All”. Despite the different climatic, geographic and socio-economic conditions in urban areas, measures can be taken to create an environmentally neutral and inclusive urban environment. As such, European Mobility Week 2020 calls on people and cities to take steps to achieve the long-term goal of a carbon neutral continent.
The event, co-chaired by the Deputy Khokim of Tashkent city Durdona Rakhimova, Deputy Minister of Transport Davron Dekhkanov, Deputy Minister of Public Education Dilshod Kenjayev and Charge d'Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Uzbekistan, Jussi Narvi, initially aimed not only to draw public attention to the problems of safety and mobility on the capital's roads, but also to outline the ways for their solutions, taking the first steps towards working out a plan for future development.
During the round table, Deputy Khokim of Tashkent city Durdona Rakhimova noted the important work carried out by the Khokimiyat together with the involved ministries in the implementation of the Concept for the development of the transport system of Tashkent, which provides for the interconnection of buses, metro and other modes of transport. It was noted that, in accordance with the Concept, it is planned to cover 173.8 km of cycle paths in 12 directions, which will affect a significant reduction in harmful emissions into the atmosphere of the capital. Commenting on the event, Durdona Rakhimova noted: “Today's discussion has become an important incentive for continuing the ongoing activities in the implementation of the Concept and strengthening interdepartmental and international cooperation in this direction. Today we have managed to identify a number of initiatives, the implementation of which will significantly reduce the number of casualties on the roads and improve the city's infrastructure”.
Deputy Minister of Transport of the Republic of Uzbekistan Davron Dekhkanov noted, “It is encouraging that such formats are becoming a tradition. Last year, we witnessed the successful holding of the European Mobility Week for the first time in Uzbekistan. It is the regularity of such sites that allows us to hope that the ideas expressed will find their embodiment. This EMW week is a vivid proof of the successful dialogue between the state, civil society, public and international organizations. "
Deputy Minister of Public Education Dilshod Kenjaev noted, “Raising awareness of children, schoolchildren and their parents is a key of preventing road deaths. The learning modules of the Road Safety Rules have been introduced into the compulsory educational program this year. It is necessary to create a pilot project in a number of schools with the introduction of bicycle parking, so that in the future the bicycle will become a regular and common mode of transport for schoolchildren. "
“The EMW challenges people to think about how they could satisfy their need for mobility with fewer negative consequences and to debate concrete solutions for tackling challenges such as air and noise pollution, congestion, traffic accidents and health problems. The EMW encourages local authorities to organize awareness-raising activities around given topics and a theme, as well as to launch permanent measures that will improve the situation of sustainable transport in their city. ” - said Chargé d'Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Uzbekistan Jussi Narvi.
Special guests of the Roundtable were Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of the European Commission for Mobility and Transport, Goktug Kara, Program Manager of the European Union in Turkey and Dr. Adnan Rahman, an international expert from the Netherlands.
“The theme of European Mobility Week this year is ‘zero-emission mobility’ that brilliantly captures the green deal that we are trying to deliver in Europe – a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050. This aim sets for the set of questions, such as – how can we limit the negative impact of transport on citizen, limit congestion, road crashes and improve the climate? How can more sustainable and efficient sustainable urban transport model can be ensured and what does it mean in practice? In addition, there are 44% of growth of cyclists in Brussels as a result of COVID-19. It means, first of all ensuring the relevant infrastructure that invites more people to choose alternative modes of mobility, such as cycling and walking, leading to better air quality and less carbon emission. But it also means a continuous work on establishing long-lasting partnerships between the Government, professional organizations and civil society, working together and sharing the efforts in addressing the road safety issues,” pointed out Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General on Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.
“Cities are complex environments in terms of transport therefore it requires a careful balance of needs of various user groups, such as pedestrians and cars, private transport and public transport, mobility and accessibility and the road safety. The question is – how do we achieve this? First of all, properly designed infrastructure is very important factor in meeting the needs of various user groups. Secondly, enforcement is the second most important issue. That means to control and manage the speed properly throughout the city and road network. Finally, the education is critical in ensuring the people understand how to use roads, how to drive, what is proper road behavior. Knowing how to derive car is contributes only 10% towards the road safely. One of the standard pillars in safe system approach and understanding the problem in all its entirety, is availability of data. We are talking about the data regarding the road safety in the cities, such as data about accidents and fatalities – how do they occur, where do they occur and what events led to that? Furthermore, there must be a political support and capacity at the local level to implement what needs to implement to improve the road safety. Finally, the road safety issue should be integrated and must be a part of wider policies, such as for instance, environmental policy,” explained Dr. Adnan Rahman, an international expert from the Netherlands.
A significant contribution to the organization of the fruitful discussion was made by the Transport Department of the city of Tashkent, Road Safety Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as the Cycling Community of Uzbekistan.
Administrator of the Cycling Community of Uzbekistan Iskander Akhmedov presented a thorough analysis of the city's cycling infrastructure, paying particular attention to the connectivity of tracks, international standards and efficiency of use. This information turned out to be very useful to all the participants of the meeting, which was transformed into a solution for further mutually beneficial cooperation.
To recall, European Mobility Week -2020 takes place from 16 – 22 September and aims to raise awareness about cycling as rapidly growing zero-emission urban mobility mode, as well as about the road safety education of the children.
European Mobility Week is an initiative of the European Commission for the sustainable development of urban mobility, annually since 2002 uniting millions of people around the world. Last year, over 3,000 cities responded to the ENM's call to devote 7 days to promoting healthy and sustainable lifestyles.
The first European Mobility Week in Uzbekistan was held in 2019 and was organized by the Tashkent City Khokimiyat, the Ministry of Transport of Uzbekistan with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Uzbekistan. The 2019 campaign focused on commuting and walking as safe and sustainable ways to get around in cities. Some of the events in Tashkent last year included the Free Metro Day on September 19 and the Car-Free Day street festival on Lutfiy Street on September 22.