isabelmoranvidal By / February 15, 2014

Urban mobility

European cities and their populations are facing everyday problems related to transport and mobility: congestion, air and noise pollution, inefficient…

© Rudie / Fotolia

European cities and their populations are facing everyday problems related to transport and mobility: congestion, air and noise pollution, inefficient public transport services, accidents…

Urban mobility
© Rudie / Fotolia

The European Union is aware of the issues and has proposed initiatives to tackle it from different aspects since the mid 90’s. But the organization of urban mobility is primarily a responsibility of the competent authorities at the local level. They have to deal with the double challenge of improving mobility while making urban transport more sustainable in order to improve the quality of life of its citizens. But the circumstances and needs of these cities are not all the same. Thus, local authorities need to set up projects and plans that fit their particular situation.

The European Commission provides the tools needed to address the challenge of sustainable urban mobility and facilitate policy making at local level, as it has recently done with the Urban Mobility Package. Back in 2009, the European Commission, for the first time, launched a comprehensive support package on this topic: the Action Plan on urban mobility.

An appropriate and sustainable mobility in urban areas is an element to boost economic growth and employment, while also helping to build social integration. A shift towards greener transport in urban areas is also required to cope with climate change issues. Cities need to prioritise a better integration of the different urban mobility modes and encourage commuters and urban citizens to change their mobility patterns.


The future of urban mobility 2.0: imperatives to shape extended mobility ecosystems of tomorrow / Arthur D. Little, December 2013, 4 p.

The mobility maturity and performance of 84 cities worldwide is assessed using 19 criteria. Europe achieves the highest average score of the 6 world regions surveyed.

Urban transport problems / Jean-Paul Rodrigue. In: The geography of transport systems, 3rd. ed., Chapter 6, 2013.

Overview of the challenges faced by cities on urban transport.


Rethinking urban mobility: sustainable policies for the century of the city / Shin-Pei Tsay, Victoria Herrmann. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2013, 68 p.

Booming cities need contemporary mobility systems capable of transporting increasing numbers of people while doing the least possible harm to the natural environment. Multiple stakeholders, including local governments, must work together to create environmentally and financially sustainable urban transport systems.

Factors affecting modal choice in urban mobility / Yannis Tyrinopoulos, constantinos Antoniou. In: European Transport research Review, March 2013, vol.5, n°1, pp.27-39.

This paper addresses the urban transit sector investigating variables affecting the habitual modal choices of commuters aiming to gain insight into the key factors affecting these choices and the reasons that discourage them from using public transport services.

Innovation in Urban Mobility: Policy Making and Planning / European Commission. DG Transport, TRIP Policy Brochure, 2013, 28 p.

The brochure highlights the contribution of research and innovation to integrated and sustainable urban transport systems.

Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility: Global Report on Human Settlements 2013 / UN – HABITAT , 2013

This report argues that urban planning and design should focus on how to bring people and places together, by creating cities that focus on accessibility, rather than simply increasing the length of urban transport infrastructure or increasing the movement of people or gods.

Integrated Urban Transport Plans and Cohesion Policy: study / Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies, November 2012, 74 p.

The study deals with the interaction between integrated urban transport plans (sustainable urban mobility/transport plans, SUMP) and the cohesion policy of the European Union.

Zones d’activités économiques et déplacements. / Institut d’Amenagement et d’Urbanisme, September 2012, 150 p.

L’accès aux zones d’activités économiques est devenu un levier d’attractivité de l’espace régional. Les logiques économiques et immobilières ont cependant conduit à l’éloignement en périphérie de ces zones d’emploi tandis que leur conception et leur aménagement interne ont favorisé l’usage de la voiture.

Study on Urban Freight Transport / MDS Transmodal Limited and CTL, April 2012, 156 p.

The aim of the study is to review existing and planned practices and measures relating to the urban section of the freight transport chain across the Member States of the EU with a view to determine whether, to what extent and in which form, action at the European level can be envisaged to promote successful solutions and improve the performance of freight transport.

Urban practice guide: the do’s and don’t of sustainable urban mobility policy in a peer-to-peer practitioners approach / European Metropolitan Network Institute 2012, 52 p.

Report presenting lessons learned that can be shared with practitioners of other European cities that are interested in applying similar measures to or implementing comparable projects in their cities.

The State-of-the-Art of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in Europe / Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, September 2011, 42 p.

The report describes the situation regarding Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, including current levels of awareness as well as training needs, in more than thirty European countries.

The future of urban mobility: towards networked, multimodal cities of 2050 / Arthur D. Little, 2011, 28 p.

This report assesses the mobility maturity and performance of 66 cities worldwide and finds most not just falling well short of best practice, but in a state of crisis.

Active ageing: local and regional solutions, Committee of the Regions, May 2011, 101 p.

In this report, the impact of population ageing is analysed with respect to five main policy areas, mobility and accessibility of transport being one of them.

Gender and Sustainable Urban Mobility / Deike Peters, Thematic study, November 2011, 69 p.

Patterns of access and use of transportation infrastructures and means of transport are all deeply gendered. While these patters may vary deeply across different cities and regions, one key fact remains the same the world over: Women’s travel patterns are different from men’s.

New Evidence on Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Territories: First synthesis Report ESPON 2013 / ESPON, October 2010, 108 p.

This report presents a synthesis of results from the major Applied Research projects undertaken by the ESPON 2013 Programme. See p.90-95 Urban sprawl and high energy-use commuting.

Sustainable urban transport plans : note / European Parliament, Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies, 2010, 59 p.

This note provides an overview of the concept of Sustainable Urban Transport Plans (SUTPs) by tying its analysis to the relationship between sustainability and urban mobility. The note presents some key SUTPs experiences in selected European cities, and discusses the role of the European Union in this field.

Falling commuting costs, amenity advantages, and suburbanization / The annals of regional science , 2010, v. 45, n. 2, p. 351-364

The goal of this paper is to understand the direct and indirect effects (through impacting the quantity and quality of local public good in the communities) of falling commuting costs (per unit of distance) on suburbanization.

Study on urban access restrictions, / PWC, 2010, 471 p.

This document reports on the results of a study funded by the EC – DG MOVE to investigate the state-of-the-art of Access Restriction Schemes (ARS) in Europe and identify actions in which the European Union could engage to promote better awareness of this concept.

The future of transport in urban areas: note / European Parliament, Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies, November 2009, 39 p.

Urban mobility is analysed with a systems approach and from the point of view of functionality and service. The concepts and modes that are likely to predominate in 2050 are presented.

Urban revitalization and transport: local factors and driving forces from a stakeholders’ view / Maria Spandou, Camila Garcia, Rosário Macário. CESUR – Center for Urban and Regional Systems (2009?) 23 p.

The objective of this paper is to present the process and outcomes of a the “Imagining Urban Futures” Stakeholders Workshop, aiming at the identification of driving forces and local factors that implicitly and/or explicitly have an impact on urban revitalization policies in Portugal.

Carrots versus sticks: rewarding commuters for avoiding the rush-hour : a study of willingness to participate / Dick Ettema. In: Transport policy , Vol. 16, no. 2 (2009), p. 68-76

This paper deals with the potential participation in a reward scheme to avoid peak hour driving. These results provide behavioural insights to formulating a coherent and flexible policy to implement rewards on larger scales as serious tool in the transportation demand management kit.

Stakeholder views

EU Institutions’ views

European Commission

Commission – DG Transport: Urban Transport Mobility Package / European Commission DG Transport

The Commission reinforces its supporting measures in the area of urban transport with this set of documents dating from December 2013.

The Urban Mobility Package will address initiatives 31, 32 and 33 of the White Paper “Roadmap to a single European Transport Area”. Initiative 31 calls for establishing procedures and financial support mechanisms at the European level for preparing Urban Mobility Plans. Initiative 32 foresees the development of a package for urban road user charging and access restriction schemes; while initiative 33 covers the production of best practice guidelines to better monitor and manage urban freight flows.

Some of the main documents are:

Action Plan on Urban Mobility: State of Play / European Commission; DG for Mobility and Transport, February 2012 , 15 p.

Action Plan on urban mobility, COM(2009) 490

This plan, which runned until 2012, proposed twenty measures to encourage and assist local, regional and national authorities in achieving their goals for sustainable urban mobility. One of the main objectives of this plan is to accomplish (near) CO2-free city’s logistics in major urban centres by 2030.

Green Paper: Towards a new culture for urban mobility, COM(2007)55. 25 September 2007.

European Parliament

European Parliament resolution of 23 April 2009 on an action plan on urban mobility, P6_TA(2009)0307, 23 April 2009.

European Parliament resolution on “Towards a new culture of urban mobility”, P6_TA(2008)0356, 9 July 2008.

Committee of the Regions

The role of urban regeneration in the future of urban development in Europe. CDR 98/2010, Rapporteur Spyros Spyridon. See point 24

Action plan on urban mobility. CDR 417/2008, Rapporteur Albert Bore.

Green paper – towards a new culture for urban mobility. CDR 236/2007, Rapporteur Albert Bore.

European Economic and Social Committee

Action Plan on Urban Mobility. TEN/414, Rapporteur: Mr Hencks, 27.05.2010

Associations’ views

Urban mobility package: support to local authorities’ action in building sustainable local mobility plans: COM(2013) 913 final – Together towards competitive and resource-efficient urban mobility / Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), April 2014, 5 p.

Opinion by the CEMR on the “Urban mobility package”. Among other things it states that mobility should not be limited to urban areas but has to be extended to functional areas and include rural and peri-urban areas, ask for the creation of a Member States expert group on urban mobility in which local and regional authorities can directly take part, also it is opposed to any obligation upon local authorities regarding sustainable urban mobility plans and access restriction schemes, including green zones.

How cities can motivate mobility mindsets / Anette Enemark, Sally Kneeshaw, URBACT, May 2013, 44 p.

This paper focuses on the ways in which cities can facilitate the transition to a new urban mobility, which is more fundamentally linked to the quality of space, and is built on integration between policy priorities and multi-stakeholder buy-in. Six cities cases are presented.

EUROCITIES statement on sustainable urban mobility plans / EUROCITIES, March 2013, 2 p.

EUROCITIES statement on the Urban Dimension of the EU Transport Policy / EUROCITIES, December 2012, 5 p.

UITP Rome Declaration: Call for action: Transport in big cities can help kickstart the powerhouse of Europe / International Association of Public Transport (UITP), December 2012.

CEOs of Europe’s six largest capital city public transport operators launch a call for action in favour of public transport as a motor for sustainable growth

Joint CEMR-EUROCITIES Statement on Access Restriction Schemes in cities / CEMR, EUROCITIES, February 2011, 6 p.

Policy recommendations on the topic.

Sustainable urban mobility dossier / EUKN

Includes best practices, research and policy overview.

Megacities on the move / FIA Foundation, 2010.

The FIA Foundation has launched ‘Megacities on the move’, a major new study into global urban mobility issues and solutions. (2010) Includes 2025 the future of mobility and our cities

Agenda 21 for urban mobility / United cities and local governments, June 2009, 44 p.

Cities for Mobility is today a global network with over 500 members from 70 countries including universities, companies and international organisations. With its Agenda 21 for Urban Mobility they contribute to develop sustainable mobility: Socially inclusive, environmentally-friendly and economy-promoting.

EU actions for urban mobility: Response to the public consultation of the European Commission on a new action plan on urban mobility / European Federation for Transport and Environment, March 2008, 7 p.

The future of urban mobility: seamless solutions that are transforming 21st century mobility / International Association of Public Transport, 17 p.


Urban Audit / Eurostat.

See Transport: cities and greater cities. Includes indicators as journeys to work by type of transport, people commuting, number of cars or accessibility.

Eurobarometer Special Surveys – Attitudes of Europeans towards urban mobility / European Commission. Special Eurobarometer n°406, 2013, 98 p.

This survey was designed to look at: Europeans’ transport habits, perception about transport problems in EU cities, opinions about some specific measures to improve travel within cities, expectations for traffic improvements within cities and their opinions of who is responsible for these improvements.

Quality of life in cities: perception survey in 79 European cities / European Commission. DG Regional and Urban Policy, October 2013, 151 p.

See p.22 Public Transport

EU projects and case studies

Eltis: the urban mobility portal- Case studies

Eltis facilitates the exchange of information, knowledge and experiences in the field of urban mobility in Europe.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Aberdeen / Aberdeen City Council

Paris, Londres, Berlin, Madrid: Le fonctionnement des grandes gares ferroviaires / Institut d’Amenagement et d’Urbanisme, November 2013, 166 p.

See Chapter 4: Clients, pp. 99-137.

Milan’s congestion charge zone / Eurocities, September 2013, 2 p.

Employer attitudes towards peak hour avoidance / Diana M. Vonk Noordegraaf, Jan Anne Annema. In: EJTIR, Issue 12(4), 2012, pp.373-390.

Peak Hour Avoidance (PHA) is a relatively new Dutch mobility management measure. To reduce congestion frequent car drivers are given a financial reward for reducing the proportion of trips that they make during peak hours on a specific motorway section. This paper investigates the attitudes of Dutch employers towards PHA.

Un actif sur deux travaille à proximité de chez lui. / IAU, Julliet 2012

Activités quotidiennes et mobilité en Île-de-France, du centre au périurbain / IAU Île-de-France, février 2012, 78 p.

Mobility management and commuting: inputs and examples of best practice in German firms: a short survey / Giz, Case Study, n°5, 2011, 30 p.

This study indicates the characteristics of commuting and offers an alternative approach to meet the mobility needs of employees. Through mobility management measures, firms can improve the commuting experience of their employees.

Planning for cycling in Germany : cycling coordinators and offices : a short survey from Frankfurt am Main / GIZ-Transport Policy Advisory Servicces, 2011, 22 p.

This paper gives a brief overview of how planning, organizing and regulating urban bicycle traffic can be achieved institutionally by cities.

Commuting to Brussels: how attractive is ‘free’ public transport? / Astrid de Witte, Cathy Macharis. In: Brussels Studies , issue 37, April 2010.

In Belgium, several cities have been experimenting with ‘free’ public transport based on the concept of a third payer system. This study explores the modal shift potential of this measure for commuters by means of a large-scale survey.

Île-de-France, Vers une baisse de la mobilité résidentielle et une hausse des déplacements? / Institut d’amenagement urbaine, avril 2009

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