Tackling Key Mobility Challenges

26 July 2022 - // Features
Herald Ruijters
Director responsible for Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport, DG MOVE, European Commission

Herald Ruijters (DG MOVE) provides insights on ensuring sustainable mobility beyond cities while supporting behavioral change.

Cities face critical challenges on the path to sustainable mobility but hold the key to action. More than 70% of Europeans live in cities and European cities are home to some of the boldest and most innovative solutions for passenger and freight transit.

We are increasing the sustainability of how we move around in cities from several angles to tackle a variety of challenges such as congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution, road safety, and pressure on urban space.

Last December, we presented a new EU Urban Mobility Framework which emphasizes active mobility and public transportation along with Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) as well as a proposal for a revised trans-European transport network (TEN-T Regulation).

The new TEN-T Regulation will significantly step-up efforts to build a sustainable, seamless, and resilient Trans-European Transport Network of the highest quality.

Cities on this network are the starting point or final destination for passengers and freight. They are points of transfer within or between different transport modes, and points of last-mile connections. We need to avoid capacity bottlenecks and poor connectivity within them.

The European Commission proposes that each of these cities should develop a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) by 31 December 2025. The plan should set out how the city will improve accessibility to the urban area, and mobility within it, for people, businesses, and goods.

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK (16-22 September 2022) is an annual awareness-raising campaign on sustainable urban mobility, which provides towns and cities across Europe, and indeed further afield, the opportunity to try out innovative sustainable urban mobility planning measures, promote new infrastructure and technologies, measure air quality, and get feedback from the public.

Through providing participating towns and cities with an opportunity to test and implement sustainable mobility solutions, the campaign helps facilitate a behavioral shift toward sustainable urban mobility modes, in turn helping reach the EU Green Deal’s carbon-neutrality target. At the same time, it is crucial to involve all stakeholders in planning of sustainable urban mobility solutions, as this involvement and consultation is an integral part of the SUMP approach; if done properly, acceptance and ownership of solutions are much higher, inducing behavioral change.

In parallel to awareness raising campaigns, public and private organizations such as companies, hospitals, schools or tourist attractions, should be encouraged to develop incentive schemes and actions that promote the most sustainable forms of mobility.

To link the European Commission’s urban mobility initiatives and in cooperation with EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK taking place in over 3000 towns and cities in 50 countries worldwide, this year’s edition of the Urban Mobility Days will address key mobility challenges faced by European cities with a theme dedicated to moving people and goods more sustainably.

Participants will traverse the length and breadth of sustainable urban mobility, examining the latest challenges and solutions. In light of the European Year of Youth, Urban Mobility Days puts the spotlight on young voices and views, to involve Europe’s young people on the path towards climate resilience.

Topics will cover active modes and public transport to reduce oil dependency, funding and financing climate-neutral and energy-efficient urban mobility, as well as smart urban mobility, zero-emission urban logistics and the power of behavioral change

Herald Ruijters
Director responsible for Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport, DG MOVE, European Commission

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