Talking urban mobility with Commissioner Bulc

  • environment
  • mobility

The chair and vice chair of our mobility forum met Violeta Bulc, European commissioner for transport, on 20 April.

Milan Obradovic, vice mayor of Malmo and chair of our mobility forum; and Lisa Trickett, Birmingham city councillor and vice chair of the mobility forum, met Commissioner Bulc to discuss urban mobility. They briefed the commissioner on our position on sustainable urban mobility, and stressed the need for closer cooperation with cities in general. The politicians discussed the close link between sustainable urban mobility and the EU's broader objectives. 

We stressed the need for cities to retain the appropriate flexibility to adapt policies to their local contexts, for example those set out in the Urban Mobility Package and the Transport White Paper. When it comes to Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), road pricing and access restriction schemes, we would like to see EU actions that support and enable local solutions that work under local circumstances, rather than imposing one-size-fits-all or top-down solutions. 

On alternative fuels, the politicans stressed the need for cities to be able to use these in the way that best fits in with their local strategies. We also pointed our that a shift away from car use is necessary to relieve congestion and parking space, as well as promoting quality of life and road safety. We want to see more support for sustainable modes of transport, such as public transport, cycling and walking. Our politicians presented this vision to the commissioner, and we hope that it will be mainstreamed into future EU strategies. 

We pointed out how the Commission can help by involving cities more effectively in the development and implementation of major initiatives, such as the member states' expert group on urban mobility, and the design and implementation of TEN-T projects. 

Another area in which we would welcome greater support from the EU is on the implementation of air quality measures. More ambitious national and European policies are needed to make real progress, and we recommend strengthening the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive to guide member states' efforts on air pollution. We also called for the rapid finalisation of the real-world driving (RDE) test procedure for the Euro 6 emission standards. At present, real-world emissions are often much higher than those indicated by the official type-approval test results. 

Commissioner Bulc outlined her priorities for urban mobility, which as well as making progress on the smart cities initiative, focus on reducing CO2 emissions, promoting the use of alternative fuels, and improving noise management. Other priority areas for the commissioner include congestion, road safety, social inclusion, and the internationalisation of European solutions.