The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has just released their special report, ‘Sustainable urban mobility in the EU: No substantial improvement is possible without Member States’ commitment’. The auditors examined whether EU support had helped the development of more sustainable urban mobility options and if cities had progressed since the European Commission’s 2013 Urban Mobility Package.
Sustainable urban mobility is one of the main challenges for cities in the EU and improvements can have significant benefits. Road transport is one of the largest contributors to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas, with congestion alone costing society €270 billion a year.
Between 2014 and 2020 the European Union provided € 16.5 billion to improve urban mobility but the auditors found no sign that EU cities are fundamentally changing their approaches, with no clear trend of shifting urban traffic to more environmentally friendly and sustainable modes of transport.
Based on the conclusions drawn from the report the following recommendations have been made:
Recommendation 1 – Publish data on urban mobility
Building on its experience in setting up the ELTIS observatory and its pilot project on developing a set of common indicators on urban mobility, the Commission is required to implement the following measures:
- Having carried out an impact assessment and subject to the positive outcome of this process, propose legislation requiring Member States to collect and submit regularly relevant data on urban mobility and on the adoption of SUMPs in all EU urban nodes of the core and comprehensive TEN-T networks, including their surrounding areas.
- Based on the data that the Member States are required to submit, report regularly on the progress made by the Member States and urban nodes in making urban mobility more sustainable.
Timeframe: (1) by 2022 and (2) by 2024.
Recommendation 2 – Link funding to SUMPs
- For ERDF and CF, the Commission should ensure that programmes make access to funds for urban mobility conditional on the existence of a SUMP (or commitment to adopt a SUMP within a reasonable deadline), as well as on the assurance about the availability of sufficient funding for operational and maintenance costs
- When approving programmes, ensure that relevant Country Specific Recommendations are reflected in a meaningful way, regardless of whether this is a legislative requirement.
Timeframe: (1) & (2) for the programming period 2021-2027.
- For the CEF, the Commission should give higher priority to those projects proposals at urban nodes, which are backed by a SUMP in the relevant city.
Timeframe: the beginning of the MFF period 2021-2027.
Original article first published 03 March 2020 by European Court of Auditors
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