Paris, France has won a top award for its efforts to create a sustainable transport system.
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and the Sustainable Transport Award Committee have chosen Paris, France as the winner of the 2023 Sustainable Transport Award (STA).
The city will receive the award in a live broadcast ceremony held on 8 February 2023 with the award recognising the city’s progress over the past year to improve its transportation and urban development models with policies that promote sustainability, accessibility and inclusion.
Paris has been working on targeted efforts to create multi-modal and wholly integrated transport networks that improve the quality-of-life for all Parisians. The COVID-19 crisis of the previous two years has underscored the need for healthier, more active modes of mobility alongside accessible public spaces that are designed for all types of communities. The pandemic allowed the City to test policies and interventions that directly address issues of transport emissions, noise pollution, and public health, all the while creating infrastructure that is more reflective of the needs of its people now and for years to come.
Paris’ vision for a comprehensive cycling network is core to its forward-looking mobility policies. Building on the landmark Vélib bikeshare system that helped the City win the 2008 STA, Paris adopted new updates to its citywide cycling plan that capitalises on the surge in cycling that arose during the pandemic. Plan Vélo 2021-2026 aims to turn ‘pop-up’ lanes created during the pandemic into permanent infrastructure, while also adding over 130 kilometers of protected lanes to the city’s existing Vélopolitain network.
The first phase of the expansion is already well-received, with a reported 60 percent increase in people utilising bike lanes since before the pandemic. Paris has also been redesigning its streets to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists alike. By 2026, the City plans to reclaim one out of every two on-street parking spaces for new trees, playgrounds, and bike and shared mobility facilities. Overall, the City has committed €250 million into Plan Vélo with the vision of building a safer, fully-cyclable city in future.
Paris has also set its sights on creating a more inclusive city by addressing issues of personal safety and gender equity. The City developed a Gender and Public Space plan with guidelines for creating safer and more accessible urban spaces that highlight the needs of women, children, people with disabilities, older populations, and beyond. More than 175 streets surrounding local schools are being transformed with new physical barriers, plants, and artwork to provide pedestrian-only spaces for families and youth. The City also demonstrated that these high-impact types of interventions can be low-cost by utilising recycled materials and tactical measures that place an emphasis on sustainability.
Paris was commended for its political will, resource investments, and policy commitments to reshaping streets and public spaces for the needs of people, rather than cars. Looking forward, Paris will continue to build on its progress of the past year by sharing lessons with other global cities and demonstrating that sustainable mobility is core to a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable urban future.