Congratulations to the three winning cities that have won Europe's most prestigious accolades for clean urban transport at the annual CIVITAS Awards competition on 2 October, an event which was held during the CIVITAS Annual Conference in Brest, France. These cities have shown exceptional progress and innovation in sustainable transport in 2013 under the EU-funded CIVITAS initiative. The three awards, each in a different category, are no simple achievement and represent a giant step in making urban transport more environmentally friendly and more efficient than ever before, positioning the winning cities into vibrant, sustainable metropolises of the future. In addition, each category also boasts second and third runner-up cities that have also made excellent progress and deserve to be highlighted. The categories are Technical innovation, Public Participation and the CIVITAS City of the Year. 1. Technical Innovation: Nantes, France The city of Nantes has revolutionised its ticket fare structure with a smart card system, encouraging the use of public transport for everybody, and particularly for occasional users. It has also shown great stakeholder involvement in the project and has managed to integrate different transport services seamlessly. In the second place is the city of Sabadell in Spain which has implemented its Gran Via project, creating a combined smart traffic control system. Also noteworthy in third place is the city of Kocaeli in Turkey which has introduced dynamic new tools to improve the quality of public transport and make the lives of its citizens easier. 2. Public Participation: Bologna, Italy Having created an innovative cycling challenge that connects communities in surrounding cities to stimulate cycling, Bologna has effectively adopted one of the greenest modes of transportation worldwide. This interactive and highly participatory project has gone beyond the city limits of Bologna in spreading the benefits of cycling, using new media channels to connect communities in no less than ten different cities within its region. In second place is the city of Gdynia in Poland, which has created a joint scheme that involves the public in encouraging walking to school. In parallel, in third place, CIVITAS recognised the town of Aranjuez for launching a challenging yet successful forum for mobility, providing citizens the opportunity to participate in furthering sustainable urban transport on a grand policymaking scale. 3. City of the Year: Funchal, Portugal Armed with a comprehensive, long-term approach for sustainable urban transport, the city of Funchal has integrated the bus and bike system to make the city more cycle friendly. Funchal has also launched a tourist kit to promote its green transport initiatives and render its historic city more attractive to tourists, setting an example to visitors from the rest of the world. There were two second runners-up within this category, Italy's Bologna and the UK's Brighton & Hove, with the latter having proved its ability to maintain momentum regarding sustainable transport beyond the measures introduced in CIVITAS. In third place are Denmark's Aalborg and Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain's Basque region, both being key cities that have worked diligently for advancing green transport options. Overall 11 cities applied for the various awards this year, positioning the top three as model cities in Europe, showcasing important successes for the rest of the world to appreciate and learn from. Nonetheless, all the other above-mentioned cities showed excellent examples of policymaking and action in raising the standard of living for citizens through better and greener transport. The annual competition is open to all cities that have signed the CIVITAS Declaration and are a member of the CIVITAS Forum Network. Prizes include formal acknowledgement by the European Commission of each city's noble efforts, pan-European media coverage, invitations to EU conferences and workshops on sustainable mobility, and high visibility on the CIVITAS website. The clock now ticks for the next round of annual awards, an event which is open to all cities who are members under CIVITAS. Any city worldwide can apply to join the CIVITAS initiative, now in its 11th year.
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