A unique event is taking place  in Sandton, Johannesburg from 1 to 31 October this year, during South Africa’s Transport Month. The City has organised the world’s second-ever EcoMobility World Festival – a month-long car-free city district event. The project visualises an ecomobile future for residents and visitors in Johannesburg.

“We want to close off certain streets in Sandton, our second largest Central Business District (CBD) to car traffic and instead use these lanes for public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of EcoMobility during the entire Transport Month in October”, announced the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Parks Tau.

Alternative transport

He also said: “We want to show residents and visitors that an ecomobile future is possible and that public transport, walking and cycling can be accessible, safe, attractive and cool!” mayor Tau also ensured that the city will provide alternative transport in and out of Sandton during this month. The city will host discussions, fun runs, cycle rides and other events to attract people to the Sandton CBD to experience the car-free environment.

The EcoMobility World Festival will mobilise and raise local and international support for ecomobile alternatives to fossil-fuel transport. The EcoMobility World Festival will showcase the new Rea Vaya bus rapid transport scheme and public transport, cycling and walking friendly infrastructure that the city is constructing in the Sandton CBD.

“Driven by ICLEI, we will partner with local organizations and stakeholders to make the Transport Month and the EcoMobility World Festival a success and a beneficial experience for all those involved,” added Tau.

ICLEI is a worldwide movement of cities committed to changing their future towards a sustainable path. The City of Johannesburg is a long standing member of ICLEI. One of ICLEI’s key programs is EcoMobility – travel through socially inclusive and environmentally-friendly transport options, integrating walking, cycling and use of public transport.

Business opportunities

The first EcoMobility World Festival was organised in 2013 by the city of Suwon, South Korea and ICLEI. The month-long event attracted over one million national and international visitors. The event also gave local innovators and businesses a chance to demonstrate their mobility alternatives to conventional fossil fuel vehicles.

ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin said: “The concept of an EcoMobility World Festival is the chance for a city to demonstrate to the entire world that citizens and city leaders can make a difference in addressing climate change, urban emissions and urban livability through transport. The way we move defines the future of our cities. EcoMobility supports a future transport system that is attractive, affordable, healthy and environmentally-friendly.”

For more information on the EcoMobility World Festival, visit www.ecomobilityfestival.org or watch the documentaries at www.theurbanidea.com/festivalfilms.html