Procedure : 2008/2041(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0252/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0252/2008

Debates :

PV 08/07/2008 - 18
CRE 08/07/2008 - 18

Votes :

PV 09/07/2008 - 5.19
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0356

REPORT     
PDF 230kDOC 163k
12 June 2008
PE 402.655v02-00 A6-0252/2008

on ‘Towards a new culture of urban mobility’

(2008/2041(INI))

Committee on Transport and Tourism

Rapporteur: Reinhard Rack

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on ‘Towards a new culture of urban mobility’

(2008/2041(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Green Paper entitled ‘Towards a new culture of urban mobility’ (COM(2007)0551),

–   having regard to the White Paper entitled ‘European Transport Policy for 2010: time to decide’ (COM(2001)0370),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Keep Europe moving – sustainable mobility for our continent: mid-term review of European Commission’s 2001 Transport White Paper’ (COM(2006)0314),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Towards Europe-wide safer, cleaner and efficient mobility: the first intelligent car report’ (COM(2007)0541),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A Competitive Automotive Regulatory Framework for the 21st Century – Commission’s position on the CARS 21 High Level Group Final Report, A contribution to the EU's Growth and Jobs Strategy’ (COM(2007)0022),

   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘On the Intelligent Car Initiative: Raising Awareness of ICT for Smarter, Safer and Cleaner Vehicles’ (COM(2006)0059),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Freight Transport Logistics in Europe – the Key to Sustainable Mobility’ (COM(2006)0336),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan’ (COM(2007)0607),

   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘On a Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment’ (COM(2005)0718),

–   having regard to the proposals and guidelines of the Commission and the opinions of the European Parliament on the structural funds, the cohesion fund and the 7th Research Framework Programme,

-    having regard to the revised proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles (COM(2007)0817),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on the input for the 2008 Spring Council as regards the Lisbon Strategy(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 July 2007 on keeping Europe moving – sustainable mobility for our continent’(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2008 on CARS 21: A Competitive Automotive Regulatory Framework(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 September 2007 on Freight Transport Logistics in Europe – the Key to Sustainable Mobility(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 26 September 2006 on the thematic strategy on the urban environment(5),

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘Urban Mobility’,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0252/2008),

A. whereas urban centres (cities and their surroundings) are in many ways extremely important for the lives of EU citizens; whereas urban centres face similar problems and challenges with regard to pollution, congestion, noise and road safety as a consequence of urban mobility, in spite of the differences in their size and structure,

B.  whereas there is an urgent need for new thinking and innovative concepts on mobility in cities as urban transport is a major contributor to climate change, pollution and other environmental problems as well as the related negative effects on the quality of life and health of city dwellers; whereas these problems need to be tackled if any overall EU strategy to combat climate change and other environmental problems is to be successful,

C. whereas a suitable division of tasks between the EU and towns and cities must be ascertained, in which the EU should play a clearly defined role; whereas in line with the principle of better regulation and the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, Community action on urban mobility should be taken only when there is clear European added value,

D. whereas the principles of the EU internal market should also be taken into account in the field of urban mobility,

E.  whereas European towns and cities should be able to choose from a wide range of flexible instruments so as to put together a tailor-made policy mix in order to provide integrated, sustainable, socially effective and economically viable solutions to their specific mobility problems; whereas better logistical solutions and a shift towards more sustainable transport modes must be sought in all transport modes and areas (pedestrians, cyclists, public and private passenger transport, freight distribution, and services) to provide for good accessibility of city centres and smooth traffic flows, which is of great importance for residents, visitors, commuters, producers and suppliers of goods and services - particularly SMEs; whereas special attention should be paid to the interoperability of the instruments chosen so as to enable authorities at a later stage to enforce road traffic offences related to urban areas on a cross-border basis,

F.  whereas European policy on urban transport must take into account economic, social, territorial and environment cohesion; whereas special attention has to be paid to the particular problems and conditions in the "new" Member States,

G. whereas attention must be paid to the particular needs of employees (commuters), people with reduced mobility, children (pushchairs), the least affluent and the elderly; whereas it should be kept in mind that the rapid ageing of Europe´s population leads to demographic shifts and to new mobility needs of societies,

H. whereas it is essential to adopt a new approach to strategic planning for urban areas in order to anticipate the environmental, energy, and mobility challenges that will arise within the next few decades,

I.   whereas internalising external costs is an important step towards the goal of achieving real costing in the transport sector; whereas the possibility of cross-subsidisation of sustainable urban transport concepts needs to be assessed in order to ensure fair treatment between the transport of goods and of passengers and between the different modes of transport; whereas efforts must be made to develop new financial instruments and make better and more frequent use of existing financial instruments such as the Structural and Cohesion Funds in the interest of sustainable urban mobility solutions,

The Role of the European Union

1.   Welcomes the above-mentioned Green Paper as a suitable basis for discussion; welcomes also the comprehensive involvement of those concerned in the process of opinion-forming and the shaping of future EU policies on urban transport;

2.   Considers a clear delineation of areas of responsibility of the EU to be necessary, in line with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles laid down in the Treaties; recognises the principle that local authorities are free to adopt their own mobility policies provided that they do not infringe the relevant national and Community legislation; expects at the same time that - applying the principles mentioned above - the Member States, towns and cities are aware of their own responsibility towards the better organisation and planning of urban mobility; acknowledges, however, that concerted action on urban mobility within the Community can bring a clear added value in some areas;

3.   Believes that the EU should define an overall strategy on urban mobility leading to a reduction in the high use of private cars and promote modal shift towards sustainable modes of transport, to support the EU's commitments on environmental protection and on cutting greenhouse gas emissions;

4.   Believes that action must be taken at European level in the following areas and calls for

-   the development of an integrated European global approach to urban mobility which will serve as a common frame of reference for European, national, regional and local players (municipalities, citizens, businesses and industry); this approach should be based on the principles of the EU internal market in sustainable mobility and should take into account the economic viability of cities and the effect on demographics (outmigration from cities); underlines, that this should give a clear stimulus to cities and urban areas to establish integrated and comprehensive Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, with an emphasis on long-term city planning and spatial planning;

-   reliable, comparable data on all aspects of urban and suburban mobility to be gathered and effectively disseminated, taking into account future changes in the framework conditions (e.g. demographic changes, economic growth, climate change);

-   a complete list of Community rules currently in force which affect urban mobility, directly or indirectly, with the potential for improvement and simplification being considered in each case;

-   an evaluation of the implementation and application by Member States of European legislation affecting urban transport, in particular public passenger transport;

-   a list of the local initiatives to tackle some of the problems referred to in the Green Paper (e.g. road charging, green zones, safety on public transport, protection of cyclists etc.); hopes that this list can form the basis for the exchange of best practice in these areas;

-   the monitoring of local measures related to access to city centres in order to avoid new trade barriers within the EU internal market;

-   a "European Platform for Urban Mobility" or any other effective forum that brings together all data, best practices and policy information on urban mobility in a comprehensible way to allow citizens and policymakers easy access to vital information needed to develop urban mobility policies; stresses that such a platform should draw as much as possible from existing databases, resources and institutions, in order to avoid red tape and bureaucracy;

- an evaluation of the external costs of the various modes of transport and assessment of the possibility of internalising these;

5.   Calls on the Commission to work with Member States to overcome national barriers to urban schemes without however proposing EU legislation, which could limit the local flexibility that is required to solve mobility problems;

Legislation

6.   Considers it necessary for the EU to take into account the particular needs of urban transport in the policy areas where it has legislative power (e.g. budget policy, environment policy, social and labour market policy, competition policy, industry policy, regional and cohesion policy, transport and road safety policy, energy policy);

Standardisation and harmonisation

7.   Calls for specific European rules and/or guidance for the standardisation and harmonisation of the following:

- design and functioning of green zones and road pricing; considers that the decision on whether to introduce these measures should be taken at local level taking account of the specific situation of each conurbation; whereas following the principles of the EU internal market, special emphasis should be placed on their interoperable structure so as to enable a free flow of traffic and to avoid the establishment of divergent initiatives in different Member States;

-    technical and organisational requirements for the interoperability of the various modes of passenger and freight transport;-  mobility of people with disabilities, the elderly, people with young children and the least affluent;

- improvement of road safety according to European and national legislation;

–    accessibility and interoperability of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technologies for EU-wide applications;

Dissemination and exchange of best practices;

8.   Calls also for suitable measures to promote the exchange of best practices, particularly concerning:

- optimising the use of available infrastructure, for example through flexible road use concepts,

–    adoption of multimodal transport and mobility solutions (road, rail, water),

-    integrated ticketing and billing systems that simplify access to, and the co-modal use of, different transport modes,

-    drawing up customised sustainable mobility plans and supporting measures for regional and urban planning (‘city of short distances’), a process in which all parties concerned should be involved from an early stage,

-    innovative solutions for efficient goods transport, particularly for local goods distribution in cities, including reliable loading and unloading systems to facilitate last-mile operations,

-    sustainable transport services to ensure tourist mobility in urban and peri-urban areas,

-    guidelines for an environmentally aware public procurement policy,

-    improvements in clean public local passenger transport with a focus on efficiency, attractiveness, emissions reduction and accessibility, including for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, as well as on safety and security,

-    promotion of sustainable mobility chains: walking-cycling-carsharing-carpooling-taxi-collective/public mobility,

- better organisation of short-distance transport,

-    traffic management measures to optimise logistics and mobility management in favour of transport reduction and/or avoidance, such as teleworking or flexible starting times at workplaces and schools,

–    measures to promote virtual mobility, for example e-learning, e-banking, teleshopping and teleconferencing,

-    introduction of green zones and road pricing,

-     parking policies and practices, such as the introduction of parking guidance systems,

-     improving and extending the use of ITS;

9.   Calls for the broadest possible dissemination of data on issues relevant to urban mobility, such as the statistics of Eurostat and CARE (Community database on Accidents on the Roads in Europe); requests that access to the CARE database be opened, which would be a powerful tool for exchanging information and expertise among transport professionals;

10. Calls on the Commission to support local authorities by promoting pilot and experimental projects, in particular those aimed at applying an integrated approach to the issue of urban mobility and providing assistance for research in the field of urban planning;

Research and development

11. Stresses the need for research and development in the field of sustainable transport, particularly to promote technological progress in the development of cleaner vehicle technologies; calls on the Commission and the Council to invest in clean, more efficient, consumer oriented and safe urban transport systems, and to take measures to create a market for such systems;

12. Points out that the EU has a role to play in the development and promotion of ITS and in funding innovative technologies, as they can make a significant contribution to, for example, improving road safety and the flow of traffic and logistical efficiency; considers, therefore, that the further development and, above all, increasing adoption of ITS in the EU should be promoted;

13. Calls on the Commission to set up accessible and compatible lists of research and development projects on urban mobility under the different EU framework programmes, indicating examples applied in practice;

Coordination between authorities

14. Underlines that exchange of best practices concerning mobility governance and better co-ordination is essential for improving urban transport and mobility, as shortcomings such as a lack of appropriate allocation of responsibilities, a lack of co-ordination between various local, regional and national authorities and insufficient co-ordination between the planning of urban, suburban and rural transport systems are becoming apparent; points out that poor coordination between local authorities results in higher delivery costs, more traffic and hence more environmental pollution;

15. Calls urgently for better coordination between neighbouring local authorities in order to ensure a certain degree of consistency and to provide for sustainable and harmonious development of local and regional transport infrastructures in cross-border areas and elsewhere;

Integrated approach

16. Considers it necessary for urban development and planning to be carried out on an integrated basis, taking account of present and future urban transport needs; the introduction of fast train connections between city centres and river, rail and airport terminals and in particular outlying regions should be a priority for the purposes of large-scale urban development and modernisation:

17. Recalls that, in view of increasingly rapid urbanisation, greater attention should be paid to the suburbs, peri-urban zones and conurbations;

Individual responsibility

18. Emphasises citizens´ individual responsibility and considers it necessary to encourage them to assess critically their behaviour as road users and, if possible, participate actively in local urban mobility forums; believes that almost every citizen can change his/her habits, for example regarding use of private car use and alternative means of transport (walking, cycling, or public transport), and thereby make an individual contribution to improving the cleanliness and quality of life in urban areas; calls for alternative mobility options to be provided by national, regional and local authorities to facilitate these changes; furthermore calls on European, national, regional and local authorities to step up education and information campaigns to make citizens more aware of their traffic behaviour; stresses the particular importance of education campaigns for the younger generation;

19. Highlights in this connection the importance and growing success of the ‘Car-free Day’ in the context of EU Mobility Week; notes that, in 2007, 1909 towns from 23 Member States participated in this initiative; calls on the Commission and Member States to continue to encourage this initiative and work towards its widespread adoption;

20. Considers that a study should be drawn up which throws light and contains detailed information on all aspects of citizens’ urban mobility options (private versus public transport); calls for new and standardised data-gathering on lesser studied issues such as pedestrian and cyclist behaviour and citizens' motivation when making use of certain transport modes and not others;

Financing

21. Finds that the EU can make an important contribution to financing urban passenger and freight transport measures, for example by using the Structural and Cohesion Funds, and calls on the Commission to honour its responsibility in this respect; recalls the financing responsibility of Member States for measures affecting the environment and transport prescribed in Community law;

22. Calls on the Commission to draw up specific market economy-oriented instruments to create a balanced and favourable framework for sustainable mobility in urban centres;;

23. Calls, in the context of the forthcoming review of the EU budget, for the financing of projects from EU funds to be more closely linked to conditions and requirements relating to sustainable transport and environmental protection in future and considers this to be a suitable instrument for promoting environmentally friendly and widely accessible transport concepts;

24. Calls on the Commission to work, alone or together with the European Investment Bank, for example, on examining the current and future possibilities for financing urban transport; suggests drawing up a comprehensive guide setting out in a systematic manner all funds available for urban transport; calls, in addition, on the Commission to examine the question of cross-subsidisation in the field of transport to ensure fair treatment between all modes of transport and between the transport of passengers and of goods; moreover all aspects of public private partnerships and their possible contribution to sustainable urban mobility concepts should be evaluated;

25. Calls on the Bureau of the European Parliament and its services to set an example by implementing its own decisions and boosting mobility management measures for Members, staff and visitors with the aim of integrating sustainable mobility into the application of the EMAS Regulation by the Parliament;

                                                                            o

                                                                 o                    o

26. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0057.

(2)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0345.

(3)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0007.

(4)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0375.

(5)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0367.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Introduction

When the mid-term review of the Transport White Paper was presented, the European Commission announced, in 2006, its intention of producing an Urban Transport Green Paper. After a wide-ranging public hearing in the first half of 2007, it published a Green Paper entitled ‘Towards a new culture for urban mobility’ (COM(2007)0551) on 25 September 2007. Publication of the Green Paper signals the start of the consultation period, which will end on 15 March 2008 and during which the parties involved are invited to state their views on the Commission’s proposals. The Commission will then, later in the year, present an action plan containing specific measures.

The rapporteur welcomes the publication of this comprehensive Green Paper, which endeavours to address and summarise as many aspects of urban mobility as possible. The rapporteur considers that, in contrast to the Commission’s approach setting out the individual points according to subject (flowing traffic, greener cities, urban transport which is more intelligent, more accessible and safer), there is one central question to be addressed and this is therefore made the focus of a new classification: ‘What role can / should / must the European Union play in questions of urban transport, and how can / should / must it proceed?’

The role of the European Union

Accordingly, the first section aims to list the areas in which activities at European level can achieve clear added value(1). In this context, the rapporteur would like to stress the importance of an overall, integrated European concept of urban transport. The importance of obtaining reliable, comparable data should also be emphasised; these not only show the actual state of affairs but also take account of future changes in the framework conditions (e.g. demographic changes). Listing and analysing the rules currently in force in the area of urban transport – in particular regarding possible deregulation – is also important. Last but not least, an assessment of external costs and the possibility of their being internalised must be undertaken.

Hard law / Soft law

A second section examines the role of the EU as legislator. Urban transport is a horizontal issue, meaning that it is affected by a number of policy areas which are already regulated EU-wide. These include environment policy, social and labour market policy, competition policy, industry policy, regional and cohesion policy and transport policy. Against this background, the legitimate interest of the European Commission in this subject can be clearly understood.

Reference should also be made to the added value which the EU can provide in improving urban mobility: namely, the opportunity it has to formulate fundamental standards and norms when developing new outline solutions. These should to some extent correspond to the same principles across the Community, so that citizens and industry in the individual Member States are dealing with structures which have been mutually agreed upon.

Whilst there are very close similarities between the problems encountered with urban transport, the heterogeneity of European cities means that nowhere are they exactly the same. It would therefore be useful if instruments which vary in their detail but are essentially similar could be made available to towns and cities so they can overcome their transport problems. Municipalities should be in a position to make their own choice of the outline solutions suitable for them – and which they would subsequently implement – from a structured range. First and foremost, this would entail enabling municipalities to create an individual policy mix on the basis of basically standardised solutions. One-off solutions should be avoided at all costs.

In order that citizens, industry and business within the Community may enjoy comparable basic conditions, green zones, low emission zones and urban road charging facilities should be installed/structured in an essentially similar way throughout Europe. In this context the interoperability of technical solutions is of prime importance. The principle of maximum feasible compatibility must, however, also be considered in other areas which are not dependent on technology (e.g. the introduction of vignettes or stickers enabling special access). Particular attention should be paid to weaker road users such as persons with restricted mobility, children and the elderly. A related question is that of road safety, which should be seen as an integrated concept taking account of and affecting all areas of transport and infrastructure.

Alongside hard law measures such as these, the implementation of soft law measures, i.e. disseminating and exchanging best practice, is possible in many other areas. An important point in overcoming urban transport problems is making optimal use of the available infrastructure, not least because space, being so limited, is the most valuable resource in urban areas. Innovative solutions such as road use concepts tailored to different times of day can contribute to solving traffic problems in this context. Multimodular transport concepts also offer a range of possibilities. For example, the potential for integrating inland waterway transport into urban transport concepts has barely been exploited. The European Commission could also offer its support to issues of regional and urban planning. The importance of tailor-made mobility plans, in particular, should be more widely discussed. This area covers, for example, the problematic area of commuting and ‘artificial traffic creation’ (e.g. large shopping centres on the edges of towns vs. the ‘city of short distances’). In terms of the economic performance of an urban area, special attention should also be paid to a sophisticated logistics concept, primarily in the form of efficient, well-organised goods and freight transport.

Another issue is environmental responsibility in transport policy. Important considerations concerning the quality of life and health are among the main reasons for drawing up this Green Paper. This is directly linked to an environmentally aware procurement policy, for example, the significance of which can then be seen in the question of internalising external costs, as this can be an important (financial) influence on more environmentally friendly mobility. Further steps must be taken in the area of local public transport. This must be made more efficient, attractive and accessible, thereby encouraging a modal shift among citizens and avoiding a situation where it is mainly the socially weaker members of society who are ‘forced’ to make journeys within the urban area using public means of transport which may have little appeal. An additional measure would involve exploiting the potential represented by alternative means of transport such as the bicycle. Better organisation of short-distance transport can usually contribute to easing the burden on urban areas, especially at peak times. Measures aimed at avoiding the use of transport altogether, such as wider use of teleworking concepts, should not be underestimated. Efforts should also be made to reduce the load on transport by attempting to reduce the volume of traffic at peak times in the morning or late afternoon by, for example, introducing flexible working hours for employees. Small variations in the start of the school day might also prove effective here.

The area of research and development harbours considerable, as yet unexploited potential, for example in terms of the improved organisation of traffic flow or road safety. Technological progress also enables more environmentally friendly vehicles to be built. A special effort needs to be made to promote new developments and implement concepts/solutions such as these as much as possible.

Citizens in towns and cities should, however, also realise that they have a vital role to play in determining cleanliness and quality of life in urban areas. They should, on the one hand, be encouraged to assess their own behaviour as road users critically, including, for example, questioning whether the use of a private car is really necessary in each case. Driving habits might also be geared to environmental criteria, at little inconvenience to the individual. This presupposes, however, that public transport offers an alternative means of travel which is competitive. Finally, people must be encouraged to cover short distances, in particular, on foot – and not only for reasons of a more healthy lifestyle. One of our primary goals must be ensuring that this can be done in ‘fresh’ air.

Financing

Funding from the structural and cohesion funds or the Research Framework Programmes is available to the Commission for financing. The particular importance of urban transport for everyone concerned and the fact that, as was mentioned above, there are already many European rules concerning urban areas means that the Commission must be called on to honour its responsibility with respect to financing. The investment required to improve urban mobility and the corresponding compliance with European regulations means that there is a broad need for financing which must be met primarily by the local authorities concerned. Reference should also be made to the financing responsibility of Member States for measures concerning the environment and transport which are set out in Community law. This means that Member States must guarantee towns and cities the financial means with which to implement Community law in this context.

The rapporteur also attaches great importance to developing and setting up new financial instruments, for example in cooperation with the EIB. In this regard the potential inherent in cross-subsidisation in the field of transport should not be overlooked. Tying support to obligations undertaken is another financial – and therefore important – steering mechanism. For example, the implementation of environmentally friendly solutions can be made a condition for the granting of funding.

(1)

It should be noted at the outset that the lists in this draft report are not to be taken as exhaustive, and that they serve primarily to illustrate the basic principles described.


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (8.4.2008)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on Green Paper: towards a new culture for urban mobility

(2041/2008(INI))

Draftsman: Justas Vincas Paleckis

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Points out that more people than ever before are concentrated in urban areas and their conurbations; stresses the need to aim to make urban transport sustainable, environmentally friendly, accessible and user-friendly, particularly for users with reduced mobility, such as the disabled and the elderly;

2.   Considers that the increase in traffic means that the streets in large towns are operating at the limit of their capacity and often beyond it, meaning that the road network of large towns is extremely sensitive to disruption and lacking in flexibility, which results in traffic jams forming very quickly in the event of even minor problems. Reducing the sensitivity to disruption of the road networks of large towns (e.g. with intelligent transport systems (ITS), by introducing and supporting new driving and transport habits) is therefore very important;

3.   Points out the need to adopt and implement a global approach taking account of all aspects of accessibility and covering all means of transport;

4.   Stresses that access to mobility for all (including those without access to a private car) is a social factor requiring consideration;

5.   Draws attention to the importance of constructing parking facilities in the suburbs, in view of the increase in commuter numbers, with flexible access to other means of transport from there;

6.   Considers green public transport to be a means of reducing emissions in urban areas where the air quality affects the health not only of city residents but also of visitors and people working in cities;

7.   Points out that tackling traffic congestion will improve air quality and reduce noise pollution; believes that this can be achieved effectively by controlling physical access to roadways through access policies and by influencing road travel to particular areas through parking policies;

8.   Points out the need to dissociate the development of urban transport from negative environmental impact by adopting coherent policies in the context of the Commission's climate action and renewable energy package;

9.   Stresses the need to reduce passenger fares for all public transport, according to social criteria, in order to enhance their daily use by a growing number of citizens and therefore reduce the use of polluting private means of transport;

10. Points out the need for a strategy to halt the decline in public transport use in new Member States and the increase in individual car use;

11. Proposes a yearly shift of at least 1% in passenger kilometres from individual transport, such as cars, to sustainable transport methods, such as public transport and cycling, as mentioned in the European Parliament's resolution of 26 September 2006 on the thematic strategy on the urban environment(1);

12. Underlines that all public transport should become more accessible and friendly to citizens with disabilities;

13. Stresses that encouraging the use of public transport is one of the most effective ways of reducing transport-related noise and air pollution and traffic congestion in urban areas, especially in the case of off-road systems such as underground and surface rail systems;

14. Points out that cycling and other non-motorised modes of transport, particularly in cities, save on energy and space, are noise-free, CO2 release free, do not cause air pollution, and are very effective in combating obesity and diseases linked to a lack of physical activity; stresses also the need to promote those alternative methods of transport by creating special, appropriate zones, such as cycling lanes and pedestrian-friendly areas as well as the need to promote pedestrian mobility and cycling in travel awareness campaigns and travel plans and the distribution of maps with area networks and existing bicycle routes;

15. Calls on the European Commission and local authorities to take immediate action to increase education and information campaigns to make citizens more aware of their traffic behaviour, particularly emphasising education campaigns for the younger generation;

16. Stresses that a Sustainable Urban Transport Plan (SUTP) should be required by Community law for every town having more than 100 000 inhabitants; considers that such legislation could include clear deadlines and binding targets set at local and European level;

17. Considers that SUTPs could include the means by which local authorities intend to:

- promote non-motorised modes of transport such as cycling and walking, by building an extensive network of bicycle lanes and by providing safe lanes and ground-level intersections for pedestrians;

- promote public transport by using European funding for the development of public transport infrastructure, and disseminate information on existing good examples, such as the introduction of integrated pricing and ticketing systems and the development of 'Park and Ride' schemes;

- tackle growing individual car use through parking restrictions and congestion charges, as well as low-emission and car-free zones;

18. Stresses that NGOs and other stakeholders should be involved in the preparation of the SUTPs, which should be made available to the public; considers, furthermore, that regular evaluation of progress made and dissemination of the results of such evaluations are also essential;

19. Supports the Commission in its efforts to promote green public procurement, while respecting the subsidiarity principle, and considers that this may set an example and have a spillover effect into other areas; is convinced that the use of strict environmental standards as a key selection criterion is an appropriate way to promote sustainable urban transport;

20  Encourages the Commission to provide help and information to cities which promote the new culture of urban mobility;

21. Underlines that sustainable cities are also responsible for the development of their surrounding areas; stresses that urban transport development should therefore comprise also the development of sustainable inter-regional transport connections, and asks the competent authorities to give special attention to neighbouring cross-border urban areas;

22. Agrees with the Commission that public transport in urban areas should be improved through a mix of policies whereby supply-side oriented economic measures are supported by appropriate policies aimed at creating sustainable demand, with specific attention being paid to those measures capable of reducing car use and increasing telecommuting actions, such as:

- demonstration or pilot projects for local and regional public authorities;

- urban planning of transport axes other than for cars;

- campaigns to discourage car transport and propose alternative modes of transport;

- tax incentives;

- training campaigns for eco-driving;

23. Highlights the need to promote discussion and cooperation between local authorities in all Member States in order to exchange best practice, experiences and measures;

24. Commends the work accomplished as a result of the 'City-VITAlity-Sustainability' (CIVITAS) initiative(2) and stresses the role of the Commission in the active dissemination of the experience gathered and best and worst practices, for the benefit of cities not participating in the initiative;

25. Considers that, in the light of the major regional differences in the quality of transport in the EU, it would be advisable to make know-how in the form of non-binding guidelines available to all local authorities;

26. Calls on the Commission to promote investments in research and pilot projects for energy-efficient, environmentally friendly modes of transport and ITS; encourages the removal of technical barriers to the take-up of green intelligent transport systems through standardisation and interoperability of systems;

27. Points out that the correct internalisation of external costs should be the basis for every sustainable transport system; selection of the method and charges imposed to tackle the external costs (principally traffic jams, air pollution, noise) should, however, be governed by the subsidiarity principle in urban areas, so that it must be made clear that imposing environmental taxes on Trans-European Network (TEN) motorways in urban areas falls within the subsidiarity principle for all vehicles (cars and lorries);

28. Calls on the Commission to ensure the compatibility of its policy priorities of sustainable urban transport and CO2 emission reduction with the way the Structural and Cohesion Funds are spent;

29. Calls on the Commission to integrate environmental requirements into the allocation of regional funds for urban mobility projects;

30. Calls on the Commission to encourage local authorities to provide financial and non-financial incentives for business and private users to switch to low-emission modes of transport, and/or to renew existing fleets, or to upgrade them with available environmentally friendly technologies; recalls that, for integrated projects for urban and rural regeneration that may contain transport-related investments, several sources of financing are available at EU level, such as the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and loans from the European Investment Bank; recalls that, for research and innovation, cities and regions can participate in the exchange of best practice and common projects ('Regions of Knowledge' and 'Regions of Economic Change') and projects relating to infrastructure, management of car traffic, mobility management and communication through the EU Framework Programmes on R&D and Innovation (e. g. CIVITAS);

31. Emphasises that the positive impact can only be maximised if local and national authorities have an integrated and systematic approach on urban mobility, putting special emphasis on long-term city planning;

32. Notices with satisfaction that more and more action is being taken by local authorities in restricting the access to cities for the most polluting vehicles to ensure better compliance with the air quality norms on their territory and in setting up areas clear of pollution and congestion known as Green Zones; calls on the Commission to provide guidance on the definition of Green Zones in cities, based on EU standard signposting for Green Zones and harmonised labelling for clean vehicles;

33. Emphasises that the efficiency of urban Green Zones depends on the cross-border enforcement of rules governing these zones; calls on the Commission to take action to facilitate cross-border enforcement of traffic penalties, including decriminalised offences, in order to be able to trace foreign vehicles entering these zones illegally;

34. Stresses that action from the Commission would be particularly useful in helping to set up some guidelines for Green Zones in order to ensure that systems in different Member States and cities of the EU are compatible;

35. Points out that air pollution is still a major cause of health problems in the EU; stresses therefore that cities with high air pollution should consider introducing strict measures, including congestion charges and low-emission and car-free zones; emphasises also that the introduction of 30 km/hour speed limits in city centres not only reduces traffic and air pollution but can also reduce road deaths;

36. Draws attention to the possibilities offered by mathematical modelling (in estimating traffic flow and the emission of pollutants) for more efficient management of the urban transport infrastructure;

37. Calls on the Commission to promote the reduction of polluting forms of transport in historic city centres and the extension of pedestrian zones, whilst guaranteeing accessibility and the preservation of traditional uses;

38. Points out the need to introduce a new culture of urban mobility in the early stages of education, starting from primary school;

39. Stresses the fact that the urban Green Zones should not become new frontiers limiting the mobility of citizens and goods; in this sense, calls on the Commission to draw up guidelines on the ways the Green Zones can remain accessible to mobility (pedestrians, bicycles, public transport and goods); as a first step, calls on the Commission to set up a European website providing information on the rules governing the different urban Green Zones across the EU and the ways to access these zones;

40. Draws attention to the importance of proper vehicle maintenance;

41. Draws attention to the importance of the exchange of best practice between Member States;

42. Draws attention to the general need for increased economy of transport. This can mean not only moving from car to public transport or car to bicycle, but also from a big car to a small car or a car which is not full to a car which is full. Any such switch is to be welcomed and supported;

43. Draws attention to the importance of spatial planning. Town planning is in many respects the key to sustainable transport, so that an EU-level study and EU-level guidance would fill the existing gap.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

2.4.2008

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

[41]

[3]

[0]

Members present for the final vote

Adamos Adamou, Georgs Andrejevs, Margrete Auken, Johannes Blokland, John Bowis, Frieda Brepoels, Hiltrud Breyer, Martin Callanan, Chris Davies, Avril Doyle, Mojca Drčar Murko, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Anne Ferreira, Matthias Groote, Françoise Grossetête, Satu Hassi, Gyula Hegyi, Jens Holm, Marie Anne Isler Béguin, Dan Jørgensen, Christa Klaß, Urszula Krupa, Jules Maaten, Linda McAvan, Marios Matsakis, Roberto Musacchio, Riitta Myller, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Vittorio Prodi, Guido Sacconi, Richard Seeber, Kathy Sinnott, Bogusław Sonik, Evangelia Tzampazi, Thomas Ulmer, Marcello Vernola, Anja Weisgerber, Glenis Willmott

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Christofer Fjellner, Johannes Lebech, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Miroslav Mikolášik, Bart Staes

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

(1)

OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p.182.

(2)

www.civitas-initiative.eu


OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (10.4.2008)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

Towards a new culture for urban mobility

(2008/2041(INI))

Draftsman: Jan Olbrycht

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Agrees with the Commission’s assertion in its Green Paper ‘Towards a new culture of urban mobility’ (COM(2007)0551) that urban mobility is an important facilitator of economic growth and employment, as well as balanced regional development in the EU, thus contributing to the achievement of the goals of the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies;

2.  Stresses that ensuring that citizens enjoy equal and easy access to coordinated quality transport services, including collective transport, in urban and peri-urban areas is vital to EU territorial cohesion; calls for particular attention to be given to the needs of disabled and elderly people;

3.  Stresses that urban mobility plays a significant role in ensuring internal cohesion in urban agglomerations and that urban transport development strategies must therefore be closely linked to wider strategies for spatial development and the development of urban areas;

4.  Firmly believes that, while the quality of transport infrastructures and services is crucial to the attractiveness and competitiveness of urban centres, the effectiveness of transport investment depends on its being linked to a sustainable development strategy for individual urban agglomerations; considers it therefore essential for account to be taken in urban planning schemes at conurbation level of the current and future impact of urban transport;

5.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and regional and local authorities to adopt an integrated approach to transport investment planning for urban and peri-urban areas, taking into account social, economic and environmental factors; stresses the importance of public consultation for developing successful sustainable urban planning strategies;

6.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate the development of an integrated approach by carrying out studies on the benefits of such an approach and highlighting the costs of a non-integrated approach; further calls on the Commission to provide a guide for those working at grass-roots level to advise them on the practicalities of an integrated approach, for example, using check-lists;

7.  Calls on the Commission to review Community legislation and guidelines which directly or indirectly influence the way in which sustainable urban development is pursued, with a view to providing regions and cities with a common frame of reference to make it easier for them to make choices as regards the planning and implementation of development strategy;

8.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a comprehensive guide setting out in a systematic manner all the funds available for urban transport (FPRD, regional funds, Life+, Marco Polo) and the facilities offered by the EIB, along the lines of the guide on cities recently published by the Commission's Directorate General for Regional Policy;

9.  Recalls that the Commission must encourage local stakeholders to set up public-private partnerships;

10. Stresses that the planning of urban development falls within the competence of local authorities; calls on the Commission to support local authorities by promoting pilot and experimental projects, in particular those aimed at applying an integrated approach to the issue of urban mobility, providing assistance for research in the field of urban planning and encouraging the use of the financial resources available in the Member States;

11. Calls on the Commission to illustrate, using examples from the Member States, the benefits of good practice in integrated mobility planning when implementing major projects and to consider introducing a reward system for towns and cities that introduce pioneering solutions to tackle congestion in urban transport systems;

12. Firmly believes that access to assistance from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund should be conditional on the drawing up of an integrated strategy for the sustainable development of urban and peri-urban areas;

13. Stresses the importance of cooperation between cities and regions for the framing of optimal development strategies and calls on the Commission to include urban mobility issues in exchanges of experiences and good practice, in particular under the URBACT programme and the Regions for Economic Change initiative.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

08.4.2008

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

47

0

3

Members present for the final vote

Emmanouil Angelakas, Stavros Arnaoutakis, Elspeth Attwooll, Rolf Berend, Jana Bobošíková, Victor Boştinaru, Antonio De Blasio, Petru Filip, Gerardo Galeote, Iratxe García Pérez, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Gábor Harangozó, Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova, Mieczysław Edmund Janowski, Rumiana Jeleva, Gisela Kallenbach, Tunne Kelam, Evgeni Kirilov, Miloš Koterec, Constanze Angela Krehl, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Sérgio Marques, Miroslav Mikolášik, James Nicholson, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Jan Olbrycht, Maria Petre, Markus Pieper, Pierre Pribetich, Elisabeth Schroedter, Grażyna Staniszewska, Catherine Stihler, Margie Sudre, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Vladimír Železný.

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Bernadette Bourzai, Jan Březina, Brigitte Douay, Den Dover, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari, Madeleine Jouye de Grandmaison, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Ljudmila Novak, Mirosław Mariusz Piotrowski, Zita Pleštinská, Samuli Pohjamo, Manfred Weber,

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Jean-Paul Gauzès, Jacques Toubon.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

29.5.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

27

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Paolo Costa, Arūnas Degutis, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Robert Evans, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari, Brigitte Fouré, Mathieu Grosch, Georg Jarzembowski, Timothy Kirkhope, Sepp Kusstatscher, Jörg Leichtfried, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Erik Meijer, Seán Ó Neachtain, Willi Piecyk, Paweł Bartłomiej Piskorski, Luís Queiró, Reinhard Rack, Brian Simpson, Yannick Vaugrenard

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Nathalie Griesbeck, Zita Gurmai, Leopold Józef Rutowicz

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Astrid Lulling, Rovana Plumb, Bart Staes

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