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2013 Polis Conference calls for Greater Coordination of EU policies related to urban and regional transport

09 December 2013

PRESS RELEASE: 350 mobility professionals from across Europe came together to debate on urban and regional mobility at last week’s 2013 Annual Polis Conference in Brussels. Participants call for greater coordination of European policies that affect urban and regional transport.

“We need coordination between European environment, climate, research, energy and transport policies as these have a direct impact on urban and regional transport”, said Javier Rubio de Urquía, new Polis president. “This is required to deliver the best sustainable urban and regional transport systems in Madrid as well as anywhere else in Europe.” The city of Madrid was elected prior to the Conference as the 2014 president of Polis, the network of cities and regions working on sustainable transport.

Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas said at the Opening Plenary of the conference: “The choices that Europe makes now regarding urban mobility will have a huge impact on the worldwide use of resources – particularly oil – as well as greenhouse gas emissions. … But technology on its own is not enough. Only a small part of making a city "smart" is a technical challenge. It is mostly a multi-disciplinary task of solving "soft" issues. That is why increased cooperation is the key to future success, as we design and adapt cities into smart, intelligent and sustainable environments.”

The 2013 Polis Conference “Innovation in Transport for Sustainable Cities and Regions” demonstrated to be the platform which, uniquely, brought together all relevant stakeholders: Politicians and planners of local and regional governments, as well as representatives of the EU institutions, industry, research and interest groups, exchanged on the most relevant challenges for sustainable urban and regional transport.

“Unlike at many other conferences there was a unique mix of people, who could talk and exchange. This is a key driver for the changes we are seeing in cities”, concluded Michael Aherne from the Irish National Transport Authority in Dublin during the closing plenary session.

The debated challenges include financing local transport, better planning as well as innovative policy approaches to parking, electromobility, open data in transport, urban freight, and transport & health.

Central to the debate on these topics was the role of the European Union, and specifically the coordination of urban and regional mobility with other policies. Olivier Onidi, director at the European Commission’s DG Move, stressed that the integration of urban nodes into the Trans-European Transport Policy is an important step forward: “It has been a very important sign that we finally convinced all actors to include the urban dimension into the Trans-European network – about one year ago that was seen as something quite esoteric by some”, Onidi said in the closing plenary session.

Photos from the conference are available upon request!

[Download the press release]

For more information, please contact Polis:

Dagmar Röller
Polis Communication Manager
Rue du Trone 98, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
+32 (0)2 500 56 72

Notes to editors:

The 2013 Polis Conference:

The Polis Conference is an important annual highlight for urban mobility professionals. It provides an opportunity for cities and regions to showcase their transport achievements to an international audience, and for the wider transport community to engage with representatives of city and regional authorities on innovative transport solutions. Technical sessions at the conference cover innovative topics identified by Polis members.

More information on the 2013 Annual Polis Conference: