Transport policy was included as one of the common policies in the Treaty of Rome. In 1992 a Trans-European network policy was added by the Maastricht Treaty to help achieve the EU internal market and cohesion objectives.
In that same year, 1992, the European Commission (EC) published the White Paper on Common Transport Policy, which focussed on the opening of the market, in line with the priorities of that time. From the mid-1990s onwards, the EC started its ‘sustainable urban mobility’ impulses with its first pricing initiatives focusing particularly on public transport and the initiation of the ‘best-practice’ and information exchange approach.
In 2001 the White Paper ‘European Transport Policy for 2010: Time to Decide’, emphasised the need for managing transport growth by achieving sustainable transport and a more balanced use of all transport modes. This White Paper recognised the importance of urban transport, however, the EU role was seen as limited at the time. The mid-term review of this White Paper in 2006 concluded that efforts needed to be stepped up inter alia in the field of urban transport in order to reach key objectives set by European Union (EU) transport policy.
In 2007, the Commission presented the Green Paper ‘Towards a New Culture for Urban Mobility’. This Green Paper marked the starting point for a broad consultation process with all relevant stakeholders on the possible role the EU could have and the possible actions it could take. The consultation confirmed the added value of EU-level intervention in a number of urban transport-related areas. As a consequence, the EC published an Action Plan on Urban Mobility (APUM) in 2009, with 20 concrete EU-level actions to be implemented by 2012.
The Europe 2020 Strategy of 2010 highlighted the importance of an efficient and effective transport system for the future development of the EU. Subsequent to the APUM, several initiatives were announced on urban transport in the 2011 Transport White Paper ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a Competitive and Resource Efficient Transport System’. The present White Paper takes on the challenge of seeking a thorough transformation of the present transport system, promoting independence from oil, the creation of modern infrastructure and multimodal mobility that is assisted by smart management and information systems. It has been put forward together with a communication, providing a Roadmap to a low-carbon economy by 2050 and a new Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 and forms an integral part of the ‘Resource Efficiency’ initiative of the Commission.
With the urban mobility package the commission aims to reinforce the support to European cities for tackling urban mobility challenges. A step change in the approach to urban mobility is needed to ensure that Europe's urban areas develop along a more sustainable path and that EU goals for a competitive and resource-efficient European transport system are met. It is also crucial to overcome fragmented approaches and develop the single market for innovative urban mobility solutions by addressing issues such as, common standards and specifications or joint procurement. Transforming urban mobility requires coordinated action by decision makers and competent authorities at all levels of government.
The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan concept considers the functional urban area and proposes that action on urban mobility be embedded into a wider urban and territorial strategy. Therefore, these plans should be developed in cooperation across different policy areas and sectors (transport, land-use and spatial planning, environment, economic development, social policy, health, road safety, etc.); across different levels of government and administrations; as well as with authorities in neighbouring areas – both urban and rural.
Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans are about fostering a balanced development and a better integration of the different urban mobility modes. This planning concept highlights that urban mobility is primarily about people. It therefore, emphasises citizen and stakeholder engagement, as well as fostering changes in mobility behaviour.
Note that Panteia was one of the founders of the EPOMM (European Platform on Mobility Management).
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