you're reading...
PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Urban mobility: Shifting towards sustainable transport systems

Written by Ariane Debyser

Urban mobility is confronted by many challenges, the key one being traffic congestion: urbanisation and a high dependence on cars having led to congestion in urban areas. Traffic congestion adversely impacts the urban environment itself in a direct way, leading to poor air quality, noise emissions, high levels of CO2 and road safety problems. It also affects current and future economic competitiveness, social cohesion and the continent’s sustainable growth.

Tackling urban mobility while minimising its undesirable impacts on the economy, society and the environment i.e. improving sustainable urban mobility goes beyond focusing on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of transport systems, also covering in particular demand-orientated measures, such as promoting walking, cycling, and a reduction in the need to travel.

Urban mobility in the EU

© trekandphoto / Fotolia

While many cities are experiencing serious mobility issues, the effects of demographic and socio-economic changes such as ageing populations, migration, processes of suburbanisation and urban sprawl touch them in different ways and thus confront them with different mobility challenges. The ability of local entities or cities to act on mobility issues is also dependent on their regulatory and funding powers as well as their situation in terms of wealth and resources. Though dealing with urban mobility is primarily the responsibility of local, regional or national authorities, the EU has for many years placed urban mobility at the top of the EU agenda.

The EU’s response in this field can be delivered by several EU policies and instruments. These range from the adoption of legislation to the definition of guidelines and recommendations, applying in particular to the urban level and/or urban transport, or funding of urban mobility projects. While urban transport systems fall within the scope of European transport policy, several other EU policies such as the Cohesion Policy, the Trans-European Networks policy, environmental policy, health policy, and research policy have to take into account the urban dimension, including mobility, to reach their objectives.

The most recent European Strategy in the area of transport – the 2011 White Paper – in particular underlined that urban mobility called for the setting-up of a mixed strategy embracing land-use planning, pricing schemes, efficient public transport services and infrastructures for non-motorised modes, charging/refueling of clean vehicles and that cities above a certain size should be encouraged to develop urban mobility plans.

In December 2013, the European Commission adopted an Urban Mobility Package. With this it intends to intensify its support in the areas where the EU adds value and to encourage Member States to create the right framework conditions for local authorities to develop and implement comprehensive and integrated urban mobility strategies.

The European Parliament has, on several occasions, highlighted its support for initiatives in the field of urban mobility, underscoring especially the importance of sustainable and integrated mobility plans, of tackling the mobility needs of certain groups e.g. the disabled, the elderly or the least affluent, and of providing alternatives to car use such as walking, cycling, and public transport so that citizens can change their habits. The new EC urban mobility package is to be examined by the EP under the new legislature.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read the whole In-Depth Analysis here

Leave a Reply

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,539 other subscribers

RSS Link to Members’ Research Service

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: