One of the central activities of Auto*Mat is watchdog function. As a „watchdog“ we check the activity of Prague politicians at the town halls and municipal authorities. In our scope of work we study the professional materials, statements, press releases etc., in order to find out whether a municipality or town halls are planning projects that could harm the public interest or public space. In addition, we are lobbying for improvement of transport policies in Prague and persuading politicians to create from Prague a modern city of a Western type.
A few years ago, the Prague policy focused only on car traffic. Thanks to lobbying work and our project „watchdog“ we managed to change this. With regular meetings with politicians and officials and participation in technical working committees of municipal institutions, we managed to achieve the fact that the conditions for pedestrians and cyclists are nowadays perceived as a relevant issue.
For news from our watchdog activities check www.auto-mat.cz (czech only).
Different City Experience
Do you feel that your neighbourhood is currently not for people but rather for cars and that you rarely meet outside with neighbours and friends? Neighbourhood festivities „Zažít město jinak“ (Different City Experience) open the streets to the people of Prague for one day. Thanks to them you can see the city where cars are not parked on pavements, but where coffee houses have their tables and where children play in the streets.
Different City Experience was a very first project of Auto*Mat. It was held in 2006 on Smetana riverside for the first time and its central idea, to experience the city unoccupied by cars, is still with us. Every year Different City Experience is growing and more local clubs, associations and businesses are taking part in the preparations.
More information and program can be found on Different City Experience website.
Bike to Work Campaign
The campaign „Bike to Work“ is intended to promote a bike as an ideal means of transport for going to work. Following the example of urban-type Berlin or Copenhagen we want also in Prague to encourage companies and employees to experience cycling to work at least for a month.
The long-term intention of Auto*Mat is that more people living in the cities are transported to work by combination of public transport, walking and riding a bike or a scooter. These modes of transport make full use of urban qualities and at the same time are friendly to the city and its inhabitants. Along with the efficient use of cars, this is the way how to avoid negative effects associated with excessive individual car use in the cities.
More info on the campaign website www.dopracenakole.cz.
We educate at schools
We’re in it. Prague transport and its dismal state only reflect a deep-seated habits and stereotypes of the inhabitants of Prague. Auto*Mat is fighting exactly against these social conventions.
To solve the problem of excessive car traffic is not possible without changing the daily transport behaviour of those who drive a car around Prague. And to change the behaviour can be ultimately done only by education. Therefore we think in the education of children at schools and we make efforts to eliminate the transport stereotypes from the Czech education system, which as a result leads to a crowded city full of cars.
Since 2009 Auto*Mat have developed and expanded an unique methodology designed for teachers of primary and secondary schools, and thanks to this method, the sustainable transport was introduced into the lessons of standard school subjects. So far, two hundred schools were involved throughout the Czech Republic. Thanks to it, driving habits of future generations will be different than ours.
The education project has its own website in Czech.
Prague by bike
The Website Prahou na kole (Prague by bike) is an information and assistance centre for everybody who is moving through Prague by bike or would like to start with it. You will learn about the latest news from the world of urban cycling, you can easily find your route on the detailed cycle map or to search for it. We will advise how to do it – how to start riding a bike around the city or how to solve a problem.
Selection of the website Prahou na kole:
- News from cycling events in Prague
- Routes search engine for cycling in Prague
- Bicycle map of Prahou na kole
- Instructions on how to cope with everyday problems of urban cyclists
- Instructions on how to safely and effectively cycle in the traffic
- Cyklisté sobě – citizens improving conditions for cycling
Previous Auto*Mat activities in public space
Angels in the Streets
In Auto*Mat, we love the power of images. One morning, the city woke up to find dozens of white angels in the streets. Everyone met them on the way to work. The police were puzzled to discover white creatures on their security cameras, radio comentators tried to find out what it all meant.
These white angels with veils covering their faces simply helped pedestrians to cross at difficult places, they appeared at unexpected places in the middle of the traffic jungle or they stood on the roadside and looked at passing cars. Some were happy, some were sad, but they definitely made people think about their city that day.
A traffic obstacle: a pianist playing and singing his song on a grand piano, the choir and string players on the sidewalk. Again, a negligible few minutes of disturbance in the flow of the city made people wonder. Was it totally inappropriate for a pianist to play his song in the middle of a highway, or did the pianist actually belong to the space and it was the highway that was totally inappropriate in the heart of the city?
A Perfect Walk
We invited people to take a walk with us. First, the procedure of putting one leg in front of the other was carefully explained then we set off to the streets of Prague. Strange things happened on the way. It was as though the city was a theater, yet all the performers seemed to be doing nothing special, just using the city for ordinary activities such as walking, lying down and having a rest or talking.
Once again the participants were reassured that if streets were interesting, walking was a pleasurable and effortless means of transportation.