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

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

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PV 09/07/2008 - 5.19
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Wednesday, 9 July 2008 - Strasbourg
Towards a new culture of urban mobility

European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2008 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 EU 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 to city centres and smooth traffic flows, which are 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 environmental 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 workers (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 in 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 the EU's areas of responsibility 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 more rational 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 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 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 (SUMPs), with an emphasis on long-term city planning and spatial planning; in this regard, calls on the Commission to examine how to link SUMPs to EU-Co-financing of transport projects in cities of more than 100 000 inhabitants and to EU legislation, decisions and targets concerning the reduction of accidents, CO2 emissions, local gas emissions and noise;
   - 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 taken 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;


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, and 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;
   - guidelines to ensure cross-agency cooperation between all departments of local and regional government and the public utility companies when planning schemes within urban areas;
   - 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 suburban 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 a focus on safety and security;
   - promotion of sustainable mobility chains: walking-cycling-car-sharing-car-pooling-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 statistics by 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 the 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 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 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 choices and 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;


21.  Believes 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 as 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

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the 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) OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 182.

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