Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

European Court of Auditors calls for sustainable mobility in cities

Written by Eric Apim on Wednesday, March 4th 2020 à 16:15 | Read 98 times

European Court of Auditors report denounces cities' reluctance to adopt sustainable mobility (photo: European Court of Auditors report)
European Court of Auditors report denounces cities' reluctance to adopt sustainable mobility (photo: European Court of Auditors report)
EUROPEAN UNION. While the European Union has invested nearly €16.5bn over the 2014-2020 period to help cities facilitate more environmentally friendly travel, the European Court of Auditors finds little change.

In a special report published on Tuesday 3 March 2020, the Luxembourg-based institution notes that "there is no evidence that EU cities are fundamentally reviewing their approach to urban mobility and redirecting urban traffic towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly modes of transport". In particular, it points to "the use of private vehicles (which) has not decreased significantly and in many cities air pollution still exceeds acceptable levels for health".

The €16.5bn package was spent on clean transport (trams and metro), cycle paths and intelligent transport systems. "Real progress in moving towards more sustainable urban mobility may take more time, but above all it is impossible without the commitment of Member States. All stakeholders, at EU, national, regional and city level, should work together to achieve this goal," said Iliana Ivanova, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report.  The recently published, European Green Deal underlines the importance of making this long overdue step change in our cities.

The auditors looked at the cases of eight metropolitan centres in four states: Italy (Naples and Palermo), Spain (Barcelona and Madrid), Germany (Hamburg and Leipzig) and Poland (Łódź and Warsaw). All these cities are affected by EU infringement procedures (except Palermo and Leipzig at the end of 2019) because of their pollution levels being higher than the permitted values.

Congestion on urban roads in the EU is estimated to cost around €270 billion per year, whereas free-flowing traffic in urban areas would boost economic growth and generate productivity gains of up to 30%.


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