Stakeholder meeting on Sustainable Urban Mobility
From the outputs given by Karima Delli in her draft report, Polis gave its views towards mobility. in that perspective, Polis welcomes the report on sustainable urban mobility, as presented by Ms Delli. It highlights important priorities towards a more sustainable mobility in European cities and paves the way for further action.
Polis particularly welcomes the rapporteur’s call for additional financing for and earmarked funding of urban mobility, notably to:
- Reserve a minimum of 20% of EU ERDF/Cohesion + EFSI transport funds for urban mobility
- Increase H2020 funds dedicated to R&D on smart technologies to manage traffic and low-carbon technologies for urban transport (point 55)
- Earmark 30 % of Eurovignette funds to improve urban mobility (point 45)
Proper use of available funding opportunities can also indeed be further enhanced by providing easily accessible overviews of funded initiatives and funding programmes in the field of urban transport (point 46&47) and promoting networking and cooperation (point 50). With innovation being at the heart of our activities, we also endorse the call to put innovation into the core of research policy towards smart mobility approaches.
Polis also strongly supports the rapporteur’s ambitions towards sustainable urban mobility goals, for example through:
- Setting ambitious targets to reduce energy consumption, including increasing the use of bicycles in cities with 10 % by 2030 (point 19) • reviewing the National Emission Ceiling Directive with strong action to ensure current standards are met (point 9)
- Encouraging cities to redesign their parking policies
- Promoting green urban logistics
- Using intelligent transport systems.
We also look forward indeed to seeing COP21 address urban mobility as part of the overall discussions (point 21&22).
At the same time, Polis believes that there is still some room for improvement in parts of this report. For example:
- When it comes to reducing cities air pollution, the need for preventive measures to improve air quality is rightfully mentioned, though we feel that the examples of possible measures given, i.e. free public transport or alternate circulation, are more emergency driven than preventive (point 10). More appropriate examples would include Low Emission Zones and access restrictions, clean vehicles, high quality public transport and the active promotion of cycling and walking.
- With regard to these active travel modes, we welcome the reference to healthy mobility options. In that respect, we would like to stress that a shift to active travel and public transport can yield immediate health and environmental benefits, much greater than those achievable by focusing only on improving air quality and the local environment through greater fuel and vehicle efficiencies. Active travel can help to address WHO objectives in terms of road fatalities and prevention of cardiovascular diseases due to lack of physical activity. We call upon the European institutions to come to effective cross-sectoral action in the field of transport and health, to realise the multiple benefits of active travel.
- We endorse the call for urban nodes support in CEF measures (point 29) but feel a further clarification of urban nodes and a common understanding of what urban nodes really are is needed. Furthermore, Polis suggests the rapporteur could introduce a concrete bottom-up approach in the CEF methodology by calling for a meeting between cities in the CEF and their corridor coordinator on a regular basis, twice a year for example.
- Polis is a strong supporter of electric mobility as part of a multimodal integrated approach towards clean urban mobility. We agree that the definition and introduction of EU/national/local authorities electric mobility plans (point 13) should reflect a balanced approach, and in that respect we underline the need of also making explicit reference to the potential of electric buses as well as electric freight vehicles.
- We fully agree that member states and local authorities should be encouraged to define requirements regarding environmental performance in public procurement procedures, in particular when purchasing vehicles. On that note, however, we look forward to the outcomes of the revision of the Clean Vehicle Directive to see it become more performant and have a focus which goes beyond energy efficiency and CO2 and also properly incorporates air quality concerns. In that respect, a common definition of what a clean vehicle actually constitutes, is required.
- Polis would be interested in and willing to support drawing up a list of cities that introduced default 30 kph speed limits and related effects. We agree that making best practice and research more available would also be helpful for cities, but at the same time would like to stress that there is a need for further European funding of urban road safety policies and measures, currently underrepresented in H2020.
- One element that we feel is missing from the report, is the Smart cities concept, which has been promoted by the European Commission as an integrated approach to urban mobility, ICT and energy. Polis believes that the Smart Cities approach and EIP should be duly taken into account as part of the overarching and integrated approach of this report, and reference should be made to the European initiatives in this respect.
- Finally, Polis was one of the pioneers to promote and develop guidance for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. We therefore share the conviction that SUMPs are indeed the backbones of sustainable cities and serve as an important tool to reach EU targets in an integrated way. However, regarding SUMPs being a pre-condition for EU-financing of urban transport projects (point 29), Polis seeks clarification on whether the rapporteur would like to establish the condition of pre-existing SUMPs to obtain EU funds, or whether the proposed approach would also include the possibility of developing SUMPs with part of the EU budget allocated to a certain project. The latter option would be warmly welcomed by Polis in order to create a true level playing field across cities in Europe.