European Commission publishes 3rd Mobility Package in a bid to bring ambitious vehicle safety elements into EU legislation

The proposals can significantly improve road safety through crash avoidance and in-vehicle technologies as well as vehicle design and infrastructure safety.  The update to the General Safety and Pedestrian Protection Regulations sets minimum safety standards for all new vehicles placed on the EU market. New safety measures include an intervening Intelligent Speed Assistance, Automatic Emergency Braking, and better direct vision for large vehicles.

The Road Safety Infrastructure Management Directive will also be updated. The proposal by the Commission will look to expand the scope of the Directive from TEN-T funded roads only to now include all national roads as well with procedures taking into account the needs of vulnerable road users. Cycling and road safety campaigners have welcomed the package and encourage a swift adoption of the proposals.

Also relevant for cities is a new communication for tackling air quality which addresses air in cities and cleaning the transport emissions as a priority. The document cites EU Commission plans for ‘’preparation of non-binding guidance with recommendations and best practices that can support local administrators in addressing aspects concerning urban vehicle access restrictions’’, creating a link with Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. Polis is working closely with its members and the European Commission on this topic and will follow-up on these plans.

Another element relevant for cities is the communication for automated mobility. This strategy lays the ground for future work that the EC will want to undertake especially in the areas of in-vehicle data provision and standardisation.

Finally, a proposal for regulating emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDV) has been published. This is a long awaited proposal that can only be seen as a positive step towards decarbonisation of the road freight industry. According to the EC, CO2 emissions from trucks, buses and coaches, account for about 6% of total EU emissions and 25% of EU's road transport CO2 emissions but they are currently not regulated at EU level. Environmental NGOs welcome the proposal but argue that the 2025 target of 15% reduction falls short of the ambition demanded by businesses and what’s needed to hit the EU’s own climate goals.

Polis will study the different proposals and their relevance for the urban level to engage in a discussion with other European stakeholders and come up with a position on the topics that concern cities and regions.