EU prioritizes sustainable urban mobility in new proposals to reduce carbon emissions from transport by 90%

EU prioritizes sustainable urban mobility in new proposals to reduce carbon emissions from transport by 90%

Utrecht Central Station / Benthem Crouwel Architects. Image © Jannes Linders

In December, the European Commission adopted several proposals that put the transport sector on track for a 90% reduction in carbon emissions, taking a further step in the implementation of the European Green Deal. The initiatives aim to increase rail transport, encourage long-distance and cross-border rail travel, support the deployment of charging points for electric vehicles and alternative refueling infrastructure and further develop multimodality.

Gateway of Saint Laud TGV station by Dietmar Feichtinger Architects.  Image © David Boureau© Søren Bang ClemmesenLex van Delden Bridge by Dok Architecten.  Image © Arjen Schmitzvia Shutterstock+ 5

© Søren Bang Clemmesen
© Søren Bang Clemmesen

The package of proposals envisages the development and modernization of the TEN-T network, a set of railways, inland waterways and roads that connect 424 major cities in the EU. This involves the provision of new links, such as new high-speed rail links, which must be completed by 2040. At the same time, the EU plan requires the 424 cities of the TEN-T network to develop sustainable urban mobility plans “to promote zero-emission mobility and to increase and improve public transport and infrastructure for walking and cycling.”

Lex van Delden Bridge by Dok Architecten.  Image © Arjen Schmitz
Lex van Delden Bridge by Dok Architecten. Image © Arjen Schmitz

Europe’s green and digital transition will bring big changes in the way we travel. Today’s proposals put European mobility on the right track for a sustainable future: faster European rail connections with easy-to-find tickets and improved passenger rights, support for cities to increase and improve transport infrastructure for walking and cycling, and making the best possible use of solutions for smart and efficient driving – Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal.


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This new package will help reduce pollution and traffic congestion in EU cities in order to reach the target of a 55% reduction in car emissions by 2030. While many cities have started to donate priority for cyclists and pedestrians since the start of the pandemic, and the EU has tripled the amount of spending on cycling and walking projects in recent years, this set of proposals makes sustainable urban mobility a priority across the block.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

This is the second package supporting cleaner and more sustainable transport, following the Commission’s sustainable and smart mobility strategy in December 2020. This year the Commission will develop a recommendation to EU Member States for the development of national plans that would help cities to create their mobility plans

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