The European rail industry and the public transport sector support the European Parliament’s approach emphasizing the urgent need to make urban transport more sustainable, in line with the objectives of the European Commission’s 2011 Transport White Paper, and encourage a modal shift towards sustainable transport modes. This is especially significant in the lead up to the UNFCCC COP21 negotiations that will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December.
Encouragingly, the report calls on the Commission to give active support to non-state actor initiatives on sustainable urban mobility that will be announced at COP21 as part of the Solutions Agenda that will help keep global warming at less than 2°C. UNIFE and UITP would like to stress that rail and public transport should play a central role in future EU policies on sustainable urban mobility, as it is the key part of the solution to urban challenges such as pollution, GHG emissions and congestion. In this respect, UNIFE and UITP share the view of the TRAN Committee, which stresses the need to make public transport more attractive for citizens and highlights the role of sustainable transport modes such as rail in freight and logistics, as well as underlining the importance of compact urban development built around public transport in solving environmental and congestion issues in cities.
In order to boost this process towards sustainable mobility, adequate public funding, particularly at the EU level, should be ensured for rail and public transport projects in light of their high economic, environmental and social impacts. Therefore UNIFE and UITP have stated they welcome the reference made by the TRAN Committee on the need to secure sufficient EU funds for future R&D activities in urban rail systems and to earmark revenues from road charging for investment into sustainable transport solutions.
Philippe Citroën, Director General of UNIFE, commented: “The rail industry is ready to cooperate with the EU institutions to make urban transport even more sustainable. In order to reach this objective, further investments in rail-bound projects are essential. A number of financial instruments and funds, such as under the EFSI and the CEF, are already available and we believe that sustainable urban transport projects should benefit from these EU initiatives. UNIFE hopes that the TRAN Committee report adopted today is the first step towards an ambitious EU agenda for sustainable urban transport”.
Thomas Avanzata, Director of UITP’s European Department, remarked: “Public transport is the backbone of urban mobility and the TRAN report rightly highlights the significance of public transport for urban economies as well as recognising its environmental and social benefits to help to fight poverty, social exclusion and access to jobs for all citizens. As such, public transport needs to be at the core of any EU urban agenda as well as the solutions needed to scale up climate action at COP21”.
The TRAN Committee Report will be voted in plenary on 2 December. UNIFE and UITP hope that the European Commission will follow-up by proposing concrete initiatives aimed at promoting and financing rail-bound and public transport solutions for urban mobility.
The UNIFE and UITP original press release can be found here.