In May 1997, the first European Conference on Soft Traffic and Railways Paths (held at Val-Dieu Abbey , Belgium) voted for the European Greenways Association (EGWA). This association was created by many local, regional and national associations active in the scope of sustainable transport, willing to share their knowledge and objectives at a European level.
A greenway is defined as a stand-alone road for non-motorized traffic, developed with the following objectives: to integrate facilities and increase environmental value and quality of life. Greenways encompass the following characteristics: suitability of width, slope and surface to allow secure, appropriate use for a wide range of users.
Objectives of the EGWA
- To support the preservation of infrastructures , such as disused railway corridors, towpaths and historic roads ( Roman roads , pilgrim paths , droveways …) in the public domain to develop, along them, non-motorized itineraries .
- To encourage the use of non-motorized transport, draw up inventories of potential roads and write technical reports.
- To promote and coordinate the exchange of expertise and information among different associations and national and local bodies which are currently developing these initiatives in Europe.
- To inform and advise local and national bodies on how to develop non-motorized itineraries.
- To collaborate with European bodies to support their policies in sustainable development, environment, regional balance and employment .
The EGWA is active at different levels: To provide information on all aspects of the development of a greenway. This includes technical info, political & administrative info, … many studies have been performed by the association.