The European Commissioner for transport, Violeta Bulc, opened this year’s SUMP conference on ‘Planning for multimodal cities’. Speaking via a video message, Bulc welcomed the attendees to Nicosia describing the conference as ‘maybe the most important annual conference on European urban mobility’.
The commissioner highlighted the importance of this year’s conference as it coincides with the European Commission’s ‘Year of Multimodality’ - an opportunity to reconsider mobility from a system approach, using resources efficiently and meeting the needs of customers. The motivation to focus on improving transport systems in the EU is clear when you consider the numbers, the Commissioner pointed out. Transport in the EU accounts for one-quarter of GHG emissions, and air pollution is responsible for 400,000 premature deaths each year. Aside from the environmental impacts of transport, congestion is also costing EUR 100 billion every year, or 1% of EU GDP.
To promote and facilitate multimodality the Commission will focus on digitalisation, interoperability and standardisation, which will form part of the Third Mobility Package. Also included in this Package is a revision of the vehicle safety and pedestrian safety directives, which should include a better protection of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The ambition of the Commission in this field is supported by significant financial backing:
- EUR 43 million of the last CEF call will be spent on multimodal projects, leveraging a total investment of EUR 352 million.
- EUR 450 million is available for multimodality and passenger mobility as part of the new CEF call, which launches this week.
- The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) have a total budget of €18.5 billion over the period 2014-2020, which can be used for urban mobility.
- The Horizon 2020 fund has an estimated €200 million available for urban mobility pilot projects
Commissioner Bulc then went on to consider the important role of SUMPs.
“Multimodality requires planning mobility as a system: break out of the silo approach and develop nodes where people can conveniently switch between different modes; plan for the convergence of networks, transport, energy, payments”, said Bulc.
Since launching the SUMP Guidelines for cities in 2013, around 1000 cities in the EU have adopted SUMPs and in the second half of 2019, it will be possible to objectively measure the difference between cities that have SUMPs and those that don't when it comes to coherence of mobility projects.
Bulc concluded her opening speech by mentioning this year’s Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning that went to Turda in Romania for their achievements in shared mobility.
Read the full speech here.
To read more about this year’s Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning, click here.