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Intelligent transport can tackle social and territorial divides and open new business opportunities for local economies  

Cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) can reduce air pollution, benefit disadvantaged users and communities and trigger new business opportunities for local economies. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) urges the European Commission to think not just of cars, but also waterways, air and rail. Rules, funding and clear technical requirements are needed to boost C-ITS harmonised development across sectors.

Digital connectivity enables information sharing and increased coordination among users of transport infrastructures (roads, waterways, air and railways) and traffic managers. The result is improved transport safety and traffic efficiency in the short term while also paving the way for the deployment of automated transport solutions.

In the opinion drafted by Bouke Arends (NL/PES), member of the Executive Council of Emmen, and adopted by the CoR plenary on 11 October, EU regional and local leaders set out their proposals to make sure that the European Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems would not only make it possible to deploy vehicles that communicate with each other and with the infrastructure on EU roads as of 2019, but also promote a balanced approach aimed at increasing territorial and social cohesion.

"Phenomena such us urbanisation and rural-to-urban migration need to be taken seriously into account to ensure equal access and avoid inequalities and infrastructure gaps widening as technology advances," said the rapporteur.

Regions and cities stress that C-ITS can also contribute to social inclusion, especially through job accessibility and mobility for those who struggle – or are unable – to use the transport systems currently available – such as the elderly and disabled people. Tailor-made automated transport and C-ITS solutions could also help improve services in rural and sparsely populated areas, where public transport is either under pressure or has already disappeared. The assistance of regional and local authorities is crucial here.

More generally, a closer involvement of local and regional actors in strategic decisions is needed to boost implementation on the ground and to win public support. This latter issue should be properly addressed with information campaigns and clear information on the C-ITS impact on regional and local communities.

With regards to the next steps to be taken, the Committee asks the Commission to develop a broader long-term approach to C-ITS, focusing on mobility as a service and door-to-door transport, prioritising their impact on economic development, social inclusion and low-emission transport. With this in mind, the necessary funding should also be made available after 2019.

Pierluigi Boda

Tel.: +32 2 282 2461

Mobile: +32 473 85 17 43

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