urban mobility crisis in Tunis
The capital city of Tunisia located within the Great Tunis urban area faces a serious trafic issue causing congestion situation every day across the city. Several reasons caused this issue : the degradation of the public transport service, the increase of the private car use and a centralized urban organization that condenses trafic flows. Thus, cars are everywhere all day long on the streets or the sidewalks causing several agressions to the inhabitants (noise, visual pollution, lack of road safety, etc.). Tunisia has been identified as one of the most dangerous country in the mediterranean area regarding road safety, with 24.4 death for 100 000 inhabitants registered in the country [WHO, 2013]. Most of these deaths happen in the Great Tunis area.
Important car use also has a significant impact on air quality and makes Tunis one of the most polluted cities in the mediterranean area. Witnessing a concentration level of PM10 particles higher than 87 ug/m3, Tunis is the second most polluted city behind Cairo. We can estimate CO2 emission in the Great Tunis in 2010 at 9,5 Mt (Estimate from the ANME, the Energy Control National Agency). This pollution has a significat cost echoed for example in the health sector.
In front of this situation, and in order to free the city center from its heavy trafic during one day, the Transport Rotary – an association of agents and executives of the Ministry of Transport of Tunisia – organised with CODATU a Car Free Day on sunday may 21st, 2017. Entitled Tounes Tetnafes 2017 (Tunis is breathing 2017), this event was organised with the support of the Ministry of Transport, Tunis Governorate and Tunis Municipality.
Car Free Days are a global phenomenon
Car Free Day is a day that encourages drivers to abandon their car for a day and consider other travel modes in urban areas such as public transport, bicycle, walk. It also encourage inhabitant to invest public space in a new way.
Many cities across the worl use this concept of blocking sections of streets or avenues to motorized vehicles for a day in order to alert people on the necessity to reduce car use in urban areas There are many examples of weekly and monthly events across the world which allow a new appropriation of public space and a promotion of sustainable urban mobility. In the Maghreb area, Car Free Days or organised each year in cities like Alger, Casablance or Rabat.
The emergence of Car Free Days in Tunisia started later, first in secondary cities. The city of Sfax organized its second edition on September 20th 2015, allowing only buses and cycles to ply in the centre, in order to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable transports. Another Car Free Day was organized in June 2016 in the centre of Monastir, coastal city of Tunisia.
First Car Free Day in Tunis
On Sunday May 21st, form 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, within the event Tounes Tetnafes 2017, Habib Bourguiba and Mohamed V avenues – two main Tunis axis – were dedicated for pedestrian, bicycles, etc. Tounes Tetnafes was an opportunity to rise awareness of the people and authorities on sustainable mobility challenges for an urban welfare in Tunis.
Carrying a message of health, public space valorisation, environnement and promoting alternative mobilities and public transport, Tounes Tetnafes was an original and responsible event in Tunis. Expressing a strong interest in this event, M. Anis Ghedira, Ministry of Transport, M. Hichem Ben Ahmed, Secretary of State of Transport, and M. Seïfallah Lasram, Mayor of Tunis, headed the opening ceremonie and launched the Car Free Day with a bicycle ride on the 14 January Circus, the central circus of Tunis.
After this opening, several activities were organised by several associations on the two main avenues in order to enliven the public space which was released. On Mohamed V, sports activities were held such as volleyball, badminton or football contests. A “duathlon” race was also organised (mixed race on bicycle and on foot) and was followed by bicycle intiation activities. On the Habib Bourguiba avenue, associations and artists were grouped in a Association Village where they set up stands and activities to communicate and sensitize the people on several topics (urbanism, environment, road safety, etc.). A part of the avenue was occupied by IFM Radio Tunisie who broadcasted its program from a studio set up on the street and organised many games concerts. These activites were all organised in partnership with the Transtu public operator, Radio IFM, Tunisie Evenements and the Tunisian Scouts.
Tounes Tetnafes : a new initiative for Tunis and Tunisia
Beyond the Car Free Day, Tounes Tetnafes aims to become an important initiative to mobilize the civile society on sustainable mobilty and urban welfare values. This initiative is born from a common will of the Transport Rotary and CODATU, answering the critical situation caused by abusive use of cars in Tunis and others tunisian cities. Its will carry messages of the following topics :
- Environment, health and welfare with information on dangers of CO2 emissions
- Public space valorisation, accessibility improvement and car aggressions reduction
- Advantages brought by alternative mobility such as walking, cycling or public transport
Though Tounes Tetnafes Initiative aims to sustain the Car Free Day in Tunis first, it also want to plan more regular events monthly or weekly and other activities changing the habits toward mobility and improving living conditions in Tunis. Local authorities awareness actions such as the organisation of workshops or the production of a mobility manifest will also be considered. The Tounes Tetnafes Initiative will be mainly supported by civil society in Tunis, in the field of urban mobilty, urbanism and environment, in order to enrich the social dialogue with authorities.
The Tounes Tetnafes Initaitive will also support other cities of Tunisia to organised events such as Car Free Days and spread its sustainable mobility message.
Program of the Event
Partners of Tounes Tetnafes 2017
IFM / TRANSTU / Tunisie Evenements / Scouts Tunisiens / ANPE / ONSR / Société du RFR / SNCFT / SYSTRA / Poste Tunisienne / Phone Control / Fercam / ICAR / SETCAR / SAYARA / TUS / MAN / SRT Bizerte / CTN / GENMAR / All Seas Shipping / E-Taxi