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Making dreams into reality

May 29, 2018 Written by a HealthBridge guest blogger Cycling, Livable Cities, Vietnam Post a comment!


By Tran Thi Kieu Thanh Ha

HealthBridge’s Livable Cities team, together with the City of Hoi An government, recently won the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) Global Urban Mobility Challenge award. The award recognizes a new Livable Cities project that aims to establish a bicycle share program in Hoi An City, Vietnam. Livable Cities Project Manager Tran Thi Kieu Thanh Ha reflects on the award and what it means for active transportation in Vietnam.

I have had the chance to visit and experience cycling and bike share programs in many cities around the world. Barcelona, New York, Paris… I found cycling in these cities to be fun, and safe. The bike share programs were easy to use. 

In Vietnam, we used to have many cycling cities. Cycling used to be the most common transportation in the country. However, following the country’s rapid economic growth and urbanization over the last 20 years, motorized transportation, like cars, trucks and motorbikes, has become more popular. Traffic in cities has gotten worse. Biking has become more dangerous because there are so many motorbikes and cars on the roads. 

We have a dream to make our cities cycle-friendly again. The TUMI Award gives us a chance to make our dream into reality. We are honoured and excited to have received the TUMI Award. 

I recently traveled to Germany to receive the award, where I had the opportunity to meet other awardees and learn about their initiatives in their cities. We have decided to create a network where we can exchange resources and any challenges we encounter while implementing our projects. I am looking forward to sharing our experience with these other organizations. 

I also had the opportunity to attend the WomenMobilizeWomen Conference. This conference was the first ever to focus on the role and potential of women in sustainable urban mobility. All of our conversations explored how we can empower women in the transport sector and change mobility systems to cater to women‘s needs. I heard many stories from successful women about their initiatives to promote sustainable urban mobility. It was an inspiring event. 

My time in Germany made me realize that it is possible to re-prioritize cycling in Vietnam. I saw first-hand how Leipzig removed cars from their inner city to reclaim public spaces for people. It was amazing to learn how Leipzig became a livable, cycling and walking friendly city. I also had a chance to experience the city’s Nextbike bike share program, and chat with its founder, Ralf Kalupner. 

Now that I am back in Hanoi, I can’t wait to put everything I have learned into action. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and the municipal government of Hoi An to make the city bicycle-friendly—and make my dream a reality.

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