Position Paper of the Urban Transports Community on the EU Public Consultation on Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

The Urban Transports Community is participating in the European Commission public consultation on the EU Green Deal, with a specific focus on “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy" by publishing a Position Paper.

The Urban Transports Community is participating in the European Commission public consultation on the EU Green Deal, with a specific focus on “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy". The project partnership, featuring the Urban Transports Community, has identified in this public consultation an important opportunity to promote a common stance on the future of sustainable tourism, grounded on the results of its seven territorial cooperation projects.

To succeed in drafting a Position Paper representing the whole Community, we have organised an internal consultation process and a brainstorming meeting. More than 30 participants attended the meeting on 16th September 2020, which featured the intervention of Curzio Cervelli (Coordinator, Interreg MED Programme Joint Secretariat) and Ivo Cré (Director, POLIS Network), moderated by Laia Vinyes (MedCities), Claudia Ribeiro (POLIS Network) and Ermete Mariani (UNIMED).

At the end of the process we have drafted the “Position Paper of the Urban Transports Community on the EU Public Consultation on Sustainable and Smart Mobility” that we invite all the organisations associated to the Urban Transports Community to share and attach to the survey for the Public Consultation.

The full text is available below and in PDF at this link

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Who is the Urban Transports Community

The Urban Transports Community (UTC) is an Interreg MED Programme initiative launched in November 2016 and renewed in October 2019 until June 2022. The Community is promoting sustainable urban mobility planning in the Euro-Mediterranean region as an effective tool to reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life of the population and the environment.  UTC includes 120 partners, with 1 horizontal project and 7 modular projects, namely, Camp-sUmp, EnerNETmob, LOCATIONS, MOBILITAS, MOTIVATE, REMEDIO and SUMPORT.

Our stance on the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced during her State of the Union speech, plans to reach a cut of 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in the scope of the EU Green Deal, making it the most ambitious climate initiative in the world.

The Public Consultation is an effort to steer the sector towards the sustainable and digital transitions, building a resilient and crisis-proof transport system for generations to come and delivering on the ambition set out in the European Green Deal and Europe Fit for the Digital Age Communications. As a community of projects promoting sustainable urban mobility in the Mediterranean, we believe that having a say in this public consultation is in line with our goals to further promote the replication and transferability potential of our solutions while contributing to the foundations of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.

For this ambitious goal to be achieved, transport and, particularly, urban mobility play an essential role, with the sector needing to step up its game to cut emissions. For the Strategy for a Sustainable and Smart Mobility to be successful in achieving the ambitious targets of the EU Green Deal, urban mobility needs to be at its core. Too often has urban mobility been relegated to a secondary position in the policy priorities promoting a more inclusive, green package for mobility. Cities and regions are the main representatives of urban mobility and essential hubs for economic, social and technological breakthroughs.

Therefore, it is the Urban Transport Community position that the following principles should be accounted for in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy:

1/ Sustainable and Smart Mobility should focus around a series of interconnected principles, such as innovation, equity, efficiency, affordability and inclusiveness.

2/ Place urban mobility front and central: Urban mobility is not subsidiary to other sectors, but central for other sectors to achieve goals. Different sectors cannot be taken separately, but rather interconnectedness is essential for efficient action.

3/ The importance of resilience:

3a/ COVID-19 came to show that mobility systems and public transport need to be sufficiently resilient to deal with all sorts of challenges, both relatively expectable and unpredictable. Urban mobility needs to be resilient and ready for the future, able to withstand any unexpected shocks of different natures (social, economic, environmental), moving away from a planning logic to an implementation rationale, covering all types of transversal mobility aspects: in governance/regulations, energy, digital, active travelling, etc.

3b/ Fostering the trust and use of the Public Transport system should be a priority in EU policy.

4/ Account for seasonality/tourism across the Mediterranean: How can Public Transport planned to meet the demand of tourism can work following a potential foreseeable logic of on and off tourism due to COVID? We need to ensure Public Transport offer and frequency, even when there is less demand, to a) allow for the resilience of the existing structures and b) not to create/enhance inequality in mobility in certain areas of the MED. In this sense, addressing Demand management is essential. It is the UTC’s experience that the link between tourism and transport is one worth looking at, with transport being central for many other sectors. Authorities must be helped to reach energy goals and carbon neutrality, and mobility should be addressed with this in mind.

5/ Readiness for future innovation in view of infrastructure(s) (digital, energy and physical), planning tools and regulatory frameworks: investment in infrastructure is particularly welcome as an essential factor to contribute for readiness and the quick uptake of innovative and groundbreaking solutions. There is a need to support local and regional authorities for the implementation of infrastructure and small-scale investments activities alongside the purchase of equipment for sustainable mobility initiatives (i.e. e-mobility solutions).

6/ An encompassing bet on more sustainable transport modes and regulations is paramount to reach the climate targets, including the promotion of active travel modes (walking and cycling), create interregional networks of electromobility and increase number of charging points, enhance low-emission zones, create mobility hubs, bet on zero-emission vehicles in logistics, among others.

7/ Importance of territorial and cross-border cooperation (including EU neighbouring countries): The Urban Transport Community, with over 120 partners from across the region, is a living proof of the added-value of cooperation with the ability to bring together different stakeholders and creating synergies between players from different European countries and fields of action. The numerous good practices captured by the Handbook on Sustainable Mobility in the Med Area produced by the community is evidence and source of inspiration. 

8/ There is no one size fits all solution: Thus, the increased importance of different EU Funding Programmes and Cohesion Policy for the MED: Funding schemes that address issues specific to given EU regions are essential in addressing micro-level challenges (specific examples are the matter of Insularity and hinterland connections between ports and cities). Further, several regions in the MED area are convergence regions and sufficient funding should be allocated to them so that regional development levels do not continue to lag behind more developed European counterparts.

We are currently living in the age of GUBU with “bizarre happenings, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation, an almost unbelievable mischance”. The Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy needs to be specific, but also flexible enough to account for shocks that we cannot even start to predict.

It is the UTC’s position that enhanced territorial cooperation on sustainable mobility where urban areas must play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable development at the regional level and are essential to reach the target of the EU Green Deal

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