“Investing to help develop new sustainable urban mobility solutions in empowered European cities is about everything that the EU stands for.”
A group campaigning for sustainable urban transport has published a paper that requests the European Commission (EC) to increase funding on the issue, arguing that a more ambitious stance will enable it to meet climate change and energy efficiency targets sooner. The Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP), or International Association of Public Transport, has appealed for more funds to be directed to sustainable transport ahead of the next long-term EC budget that will set the finances for the European Union (EU) from 2020.
The 2020 budget will be particularly significant because it will be the first in the EU’s history that won’t include the UK, after it narrowly elected to leave the EU in May 2016 as part of the Brexit referendum.
The UITP, which counts among its membership 1,500 companies and 18,000 people from across 96 countries, has said that now is the time for the EU to lead the way in the fight against climate change, a fight that can be more easily won by adopting “more concrete actions and important investments”.
The latest UITP campaign is set out in a document with five main recommendations from the group, including financial incentives for transport operators to transition to low-emission mobility and developing a market that encourages smaller, more mobile start-up companies to get involved. The four-page document also calls for combining all transport modes and corridors in “one strategic nexus”, supporting the “long-awaited completion” of the trans-European transport (TEN-T) network.
Referencing the “budgets are about priorities and ambitions” mantra delivered by the EC president, Jean-Claude Juncker, as a source of inspiration for its latest sustainability campaign, the UITP said now was the time for a more proactive approach to sustainability. With 60% of Europeans now living in urban areas with more than 10,000 inhabitants, it said, the EC needs to shift its focus related to public transport services.
“Investing to help develop new sustainable urban mobility solutions in empowered European cities is about everything that the EU stands for: inclusions, equality, innovation, well-paid jobs, sustainability and fighting against climate change,” said Ulrich Weber, chair of the UITP European Union Committee.
The UITC appeal came a week after it signed an agreement with the International Union of Railways to promote sustainable urban mobility around the world. The UITP’s motives behind the partnership are to “share knowledge and exchange views” with the rail transport body to find new ways to improve rail transport and advance sustainable mobility.
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