The European Union identifies mobility as a critical aspect of social inclusion and as an important determinant of human well-being. The urgent need to mitigate the impact of climate change and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for cities to have more resilient, smarter, and more sustainable mobility systems. Such systems are key in creating resilient economies and robust transportation systems.
To meet these needs, The New EU Urban Mobility Framework seeks to achieve the transition to safe, accessible, inclusive, resilient, and zero-emission urban mobility. The transition requires a clear focus on increasing the use of active, collective, and shared mobility with zero- or low-emission solutions. The urban mobility framework outlines guiding principles and actions for reinforcing TEN-T urban nodes (an urban node means an urban area where the transport infrastructure of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) is connected with other parts of that infrastructure and with the infrastructure for regional and local traffic), developing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), increasing the attractiveness of public transport, increasing the share of active modes, supporting digitalisation, and encouraging new mobility services. It also outlines the changes in governance, funding, and finance required to implement the urban mobility framework.
Reinforced approach to TEN-T urban nodes
Focus area: At present, the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) faces challenges relating to missing links, bottlenecks, and poor connections between suburban and urban regions. The New EU Urban Mobility Framework acknowledges the need for efficient and inclusive connectivity between rural, peri-urban, and urban areas while planning the TEN-T network. The resulting actions and infrastructure are planned to include multimodal hubs that are interconnected with all transport modes, park-and-ride facilities, and recharging stations. With respect to freight, the focus is on improving last- and first-mile connections for the smooth functioning of the TEN-T network.
Proposed action: The Commission proposes to revise the TEN-T regulations. The revision proposes (a) the adoption of SUMPs to facilitate sustainable longer-distance transport flow; (b) the collection of mobility data on carbon emission, urban pollution, traffic congestion, road crashes, and the modal share of transport; and (c) the development of multimodal interchanges for passenger and freight transport.
Reinforcing the approach to SUMPs
Focus area: A review of the European Commission 2013 Urban Mobility Package highlighted the lack of EU-wide uptake of SUMPs, the cornerstone of the EU’s mobility reforms. The evaluation found that many cities do not have SUMPs, and in the cities that do have it, there is significant variation in the quality. These deficiencies largely have to do with what has until now been the non-binding approach. The revised TEN-T regulations will mandate the adoption of SUMPs and will propose improvement in both the scope and requirement of SUMP.
Proposed action: By the end of 2022, the European Commission will ask Member States to each prepare a national long-term SUMP support programme with a national programme manager. The programme will contain legal, financial, and organisational measures to help build capacity and to implement SUMPs.
Monitoring progress through sustainable urban mobility indicators
Focus area: At present, the EU lacks a standardised indicator for measuring the progress towards achieving sustainable mobility. The Commission has tested a few indicators in pilot cities. These indicators include affordability of public transport, road deaths, emissions, congestion, and modal split. The results of the pilots highlight the need for improvement and for the simplification of methods to capture these indicators.
Proposed action: To increase the uptake of indicators, the Commission will improve and standardise 19 indicators for urban mobility and related benchmarking tools by the end of 2022. In 2023, the Commission will launch a support programme under the Connecting Europe Facility to collect data from Member States and to assess the progress achieved by the TEN-T urban nodes.
Increasing the attractiveness of public transport services
Focus area: The New EU Urban Mobility Framework emphasises the importance of increasing the share of public transport as a central strategy for the achievement of the mobility framework. The data show a decline in public transport ridership due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities and authorities need to take actions to regain lost public transport ridership, to provide information on multimodal systems to commuters, and to adopt smart ticketing. The mandate of the New EU Urban Mobility Framework will be reflected in the revised SUMP framework. The urban mobility framework emphasises the need for supporting the deployment of refuelling and charging infrastructure to encourage the transition to zero-emission vehicles. The Clean Bus Europe Platform will assist cities in their transition to clean bus fleets. The urban mobility framework further underlines the need for the digitisation and automation of tram, bus, rail, and metro services. The digital mode solutions will also include the adoption of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), with public transport as the backbone.
Proposed action: The Commission will reinforce and increase funding and policy support for public transport (and for the SUMP concept). The Commission will mandate the sharing of real-time data from operators. It will also propose that the TEN-T urban nodes be required to make information available to passengers and to allow ticket booking through multimodal digital mobility service apps.
Renewing the focus on active travel and micro mobility
Focus area: The New EU Urban Mobility Framework recognises the importance of walking and cycling in achieving the transition to zero-emission mobility. To support this, the framework suggests supportive policies, funding sources, governance systems, awareness-raising campaigns, non-motorised transport (NMT), safety regulations, and adequate infrastructure. The framework acknowledges the increasing uptake of e-bikes and the need for investing in cycling infrastructure, digitisation, and integration. The revised SUMP guidelines will also prioritise active travel.
Proposed action: The Commission proposes setting down the requirements for multimodal passenger hubs in the TEN-T regulations. The revised SUMP guidelines will emphasise the safe use of micro mobility devices to enable the safe deployment of new devices on the street. By the end of 2022, the Commission will propose guidance on requirements for quality infrastructure for vulnerable road users.
Focusing on digitisation, innovation, and new mobility services
The Commission envisions the use of digitisation to facilitate smoother transit journeys. In the future, both transport operators and passengers will be able to use the European Digital Identity Wallet, which will be issued by Member States to allow citizens, residents, and businesses to exchange and present credentials, including for urban mobility. In addition to the sharing of transport data and the application of MaaS that allows multimodal journeys, the Commission recommends that cities use road charging to regulate congestion and to limit emissions. These goals will be achieved through urban vehicle access regulations (UVARs).
Proposed action: The Commission will propose a legislative initiative in 2022 on the provision and use of commercially sensitive data for multimodal digital mobility services. It also proposes to develop a European mobility data space to enable access to and sharing of mobility data.
Building climate-neutral cities with resilient and energy-efficient urban transport
Focus area: The New EU Urban Mobility Framework proposes that the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy should aim to have at least 100 carbon-neutral cities by 2030. The framework recommends that cities should encourage a faster shift to green mobility through the use of low-emission or zero-emission fuels via public procurement, concessions, or licences awarded for transport service. Public authorities should ensure the availability of efficient, interoperable, and user-friendly recharging and alternative-fuels refuelling infrastructure.
Action: The European Commission will propose obligations relating to the availability of refuelling and charging infrastructure in the revised TEN-T regulations. Under the Horizon Europe programme during the period 2021–2023, the Commission will allocate a funding of EUR 359.3 million for the initial implementation phase of the EU Mission: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. It will also look for funding and finance from other EU programmes such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, the Connecting Europe Facility, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and the European Investment Bank to deploy zero-emission vehicles and to provide supporting infrastructure.
Governance and funding and finance
The New EU Urban Mobility Framework asserts the need for multi-level integrated governance. This will be achieved through a reinforced platform for engagement with cities, regions, and all stakeholders. The reformed Expert Group will design and implement the new governance approach. The Expert Group will work on public transport, shared mobility, zero-emission fleets, and urban-logistic fleets. It will also coordinate actions between the managers of national SUMP programmes and the SUMP Coordination Platform Group
The activities and goals set out in the New EU Urban Mobility Framework require significant amounts of funding for implementing testing solutions and for investing in support infrastructure. In the financing period 2021–2027, several funding and financing instruments at the European and national levels, such as the Connecting Europe Facility, the InvestEU Programme, the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, Horizon Europe (the European Union’s Research & Innovation Programme for the period 2021–2027, also referred to as the 9th Framework Programme [FP 9]), the Digital Europe Programme, and the Recovery and Resilience Facility, are available to support the transition towards sustainable urban mobility. The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) are also available in the enlargement region (regions or states that join the European Union, after they have fulfilled a set of political and economic conditions. The funding will be provided to support the priority sectors identified in the revised SUMP guidelines.
The TEN-T network is the central focus of the New EU Urban Mobility Framework. The strategies and actions detailed in the framework are aimed at improving connectivity to the TEN-T urban nodes through sustainable modes of transport. The framework emphasises the changes required in the SUMP guidelines as well as the governance framework to increase the adoption of these strategies and actions. The common framework across the EU for implementing the shift towards more sustainable and smarter urban mobility will streamline all such efforts across the Member States. The key actions and focus areas identified in the New EU Urban Mobility Framework are digitalisation, multimodal integration, and improved network connections.