New York (January 2023) — The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and the Sustainable Transport Award Committee are proud to announce Paris, France as the winner of the 2023 Sustainable Transport Award (STA). Paris will receive the award in a live broadcast ceremony held on 8 February 2023, and the City will join in the STA’s Sustainable Transport Award Series programming throughout the year. This honor recognizes 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 capitalizes 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 utilizing bike lanes since before the pandemic. To support this transformation, 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 ($290 million USD) into Plan Vélo with the vision of building a safer, fully-cyclable city in the next few years.
To complement these efforts on cycling, 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. Under the plan, 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 utilizing recycled materials and tactical measures that place an emphasis on sustainability.
With the 2023 STA honor, Paris is being 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.
This year, Paris will be also joined by two STA honorable mentions — the City of Bhubaneswar, India, and the State of Jalisco, Mexico (inclusive of the cities of Guadalajara, Zapopan, and Tlaquepaque):
Bhubaneswar is being recognized for its efforts to modernize its public transit systems with a focus on improving rider experience, advancing gender equity, and offering more integrated trip options. Improvements made to local bus and e-rickshaw services aims to provide riders with safer and more connected multi-modal trips, while offering more employment opportunities for women. The State of Jalisco is being honored for its commitment to reducing emissions while building a more integrated transport network that supports last-mile connectivity needs. In Guadalajara in particular, the expansion of its BRT system with a second line (Mi Macro Periférico) is bringing improved transit service to hundreds of thousands of residents.
ITDP is eager to celebrate the achievements of these cities and to collaborate with them for the Sustainable Transport Award Series in the upcoming year. ITDP would also like to extend its gratitude to the STA Committee and to all those that submitted nominations for the 2023 program.
“The work that the 2023 STA Nominees have put into building more resilient and accessible cities is outstanding, especially as the pandemic challenged our urban systems,” said ITDP CEO Heather Thompson. “It is an honor to have a historic city like Paris as the winner this year — their efforts to promote sustainability, care, and active mobility were some of the boldest seen during the pandemic. The political leadership shown in re-imagining public space and streets in Paris, despite adversity, has been truly inspiring, setting an example for other cities for decades to come.”
“We are living in a historical inflection point. Paris, like most major cities, is shifting towards becoming a more walkable and cyclable city, and we want to accelerate this revolution,” said Paris Deputy Mayor David Belliard. “It is a public health issue and a response to climate change. This paradigm shift concerns all of us: whether you are a driver, a cyclist, a pedestrian, or a public transport user. Nowadays, polluting vehicles occupy 50 percent of Paris’ public space, yet they represent just 13 percent of trips. We have to correct this anomaly and reclaim this space for other needs — enlarging sidewalks, creating cycling lanes, and beyond. It’s a kind of “Robin Hood” policy, giving back to everyone the street space that is now occupied by only the few.”
The Sustainable Transport Award Program is the annual celebration of select cities implementing innovative sustainable transportation projects in the preceding year. Learn more at STAward.org.
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy is a global nonprofit that works with cities around the world to design and implement high quality transport systems and policy solutions that make cities more livable, equitable, and sustainable.
The Sustainable Transport Award Committee is comprised of representatives from: Asia Development Bank, AMEND, Bus Rapid Transit – Centre of Excellence, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, CAF Development Bank of Latin America, Clean Air Asia, Despacio, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Institute of Transportation and Development Policy, World Resources Institute, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, and the World Bank.