Sustainable mobility still a way off
About a hundred Slovenian municipalities are joining European Mobility Week again this year to promote sustainable ways of travel. However, despite the many initiatives and incentives to make public transport more accessible, Slovenians still largely opt for cars and the country's roads are ever more crowded.
Data from the Statistics Office shows the number of passengers in public transport declined over the past decade; numbers in urban transport dropped by 21% last year compared to 2013, those in long-distance public transport were down by 3% and the number of railway passengers fell by 13%.
Meanwhile, the number of registered cars went up by 14%, going from 516 per 1,000 people ten years ago to 571 in 2022, when each Slovenian household owned 1.4 cars on average.
Official statistics also show that people in Slovenia used sustainable ways to travel for only 29% of their daily commutes in 2021. Cars are used for two-thirds of daily commutes.
The national motorway company DARS has noted that motorway traffic is increasing by a few percent each year. Traffic is particularly busy on the Ljubljana ring road and main throughfares where some sections see over 80,000 cars a day in both directions on average.
The newspaper Dnevnik has quoted data from the online app Tomtom, which measured that motorists in the Ljubljana area lost 44 hours to congestion last year, spending €100 more in extra fuel.
Slovenian households are generally spending an increasing proportion of their budgets for travel, with official statistics showing the rate going up from 16% in 2000 to nearly 20% in 2018.
The common theme of the 2023 European Mobility Week, running between 16 and 22 September, is Save Energy, but city officials have also highlighted the need for safe journeys.
Ljubljana, a regular participant in the initiative, has more than 80 daily events and 17 weekly measures planned for the week, along with ten permanent measures.
The latter include renovations and adaptations of several streets in the capital, for instance with wider and safer pavements and bike lanes or additional lanes for public transport.
Cycling will be furthered with the opening of a new bike park in Podutik, a borough in the north-west of the city. This will be the sixth bike park in the capital.
An additional 15 bus stops in Ljubljana will get green roofs and a strategic plan is to be adopted to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
Like every year, the mobility week will wrap up with a car-free day in the capital, with several roads being closed to traffic and the use of buses being free of charge, just like parking in P+R car parks.
A packed programme has also been announced for the country's second largest city Maribor, which has been participating in this EU project since its inception in 2002.
In line with the Save Energy theme, the focus this year will be on promoting ways of travelling that are healthier, less harmful and less wasteful than driving.
Roller skating, running and cycling events are planned, promotion events for car sharing, workshops for young people, as well events catering to the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities.