In this interview,
Adam Struzik (PL/EPP)
, President of Mazovia Region, answers six
questions on improving public transport in cities
and metropolitan regions.
Challenges for public transport in cities
and metropolitan regions
, for which Adam Struzik (PL/EPP) is rapporteur, is
expected to be adopted at the CoR plenary session
in December 2020.
The opinion points out the challenges posed by
increasing car traffic in cities and metropolitan
areas and calls for sustainable and smart solutions
What are the main challenges for public transport
in metropolitan areas?
The main challenge is, above all, safe and modern
transport, which is to say well designed, organised,
integrated and that works well.
High quality transport will translate to a high quality
of life for residents if it can ensure easy access to
goods and services and a good quality environment. This
should be understood in terms of accessibility as
regards distance to public service points, as well as
financial accessibility and the optimal balance between
work and private life.
High quality public transport is inextricably linked to
competitiveness with individual transport, i.e.
ensuring a balance between the costs for users and for
local governments as well as access to alternative
means of transport (walking, cycling, etc.).
Therefore, the job of local and regional authorities
will be to offer means of transport that are safe for
travellers and the environment.
How can users' choices and commuters' behaviour be
changed in favour of more sustainable modes of
transport? What incentives can local and regional
The first step is to ensure integrated modes of
transport while systematically raising awareness among
residents. At the same time, it should be ensured –
through optimal infrastructure planning – that public
transport offers more advantages than individual
Tools for using transport in the form of easy
e-services should be given priority, but it is also
necessary to consider access to transport for all
stakeholders, including social groups with digital
It's good to lead by example, so it is extremely
important and urgent to implement innovative solutions
in the management and organisation of transport and to
have good spatial planning, making it easier to
integrate public and individual transport, which cannot
be completely eliminated, only reduced as much as
possible. These solutions should be optimised on the
basis of analyses and diagnoses drawing on updated data
from mobility flow monitoring systems reflected in the
Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP).
In order to achieve decarbonisation objectives, cities
and metropolitan areas will need policy decisions and
adequate financial resources to achieve them, including
external resources from cohesion policy funds and other
Has the concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans
(SUMP) been successful for overcoming
administrative and geographical boundaries in order
to design an urban mobility system?
In Poland, the concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility
Plans has received a very good response and interest
from dozens of cities and several of them have been
selected for direct cooperation with JASPERS.
It should be emphasised that effective urban mobility
planning must be tailored to the number of residents,
be based on experience in mobility and be adapted to
the specificities of areas and transport systems,
namely it should take into account connections to the
regional capital, plan measures towards improving the
transport habits of residents of cities or metropolitan
areas and maintain close links and integration with
Local and regional authorities are committed to making
public transport efficient and integrated in terms of
space, organisation and fares. This is particularly
important in metropolitan areas, regions with capital
cities and larger urban agglomerations where commuting
involves cross-linking many modes of urban, suburban
and local transport with national transport. It is
important to emphasise guaranteeing access to cities
for rural areas which, for example, in Poland often
still lack relevant transport links.
The development of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan
makes it possible to plan the best possible model for a
mobility system integrating a common pricing system
with clear synergies between many public transport
operators working in the same metropolitan area.
Furthermore, it helps make access to public transport
stops easier, through a satellite Park and Ride system,
Has the European Union been sufficiently ambitious
in its transport policy in the past? In which areas
could it be more ambitious?
The current White Paper from 2011 has become obsolete
and work is already under way at the European
Commission level on a strategy for sustainable and
smart mobility – this is a very good step. Support from
the European Commission for local and regional
authorities concerning additional sources of funding is
necessary. In addition to supporting new transport
investments, funds from the cohesion policy and EU
financial mechanisms will support the modernisation of
existing transport systems by increasing the share of
alternative and sustainable solutions for individual
Furthermore, urban mobility and public transport policy
as a whole must be anchored in broader social policies.
It is necessary to take care of residents who are most
affected by excessive costs of using transport both in
terms of money but also external costs resulting from
excessive noise, polluted air and soil and
expropriations for the purpose of modernising
What kind of support will local and regional
authorities need at European level in terms of a
common transport policy?
The above-mentioned new transport strategy setting out
a modern vision of urban and metropolitan transport
will certainly be a strong source of support and a
catalyst towards a new way of looking at this thematic
area, where public transport is viewed as the linchpin
of a city.
Urban and metropolitan ecosystems in the EU must be
provided with external financial support in order to
achieve a level playing field in the provision of
transport services. The catalogue of programmes, funds
and instruments is broad and should be easily
accessible, as the simplest solutions often prove to be
the most effective. This is the only way to create
well-functioning integrated public transport systems.
It is therefore important to direct the resources of
the EU budget directly to the regional authorities,
which are responsible for these tasks and implement
them through the operational programmes for the
upcoming 2021-2027 period.
The specific role of the Just Transition Fund as part
of the European Green Deal policy package should be
emphasised. Its aim is to support regions facing major
socio-economic challenges to achieving climate
neutrality, and thus cities and metropolitan areas in
the transition to carbon-free public transport.
The COVID pandemic has had a devastating impact on
the use of public transport. How can we rebuild
trust and compensate for lost revenues to guarantee
a high level of service in future too?
Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a clear
undesired tendency to cut down on everyday mobility
needs. This is mainly due to the expansion of remote
working, certain Member States implementing limits on
how people can use public spaces and a decreased sense
of safety on public transport. One response to these
trends could be to pursue the "15 minute city"
This requires local and regional authorities to bear
additional costs for the implementation of hygiene
measures in public transport vehicles in order to make
up the lost revenue from more limited mobility use. A
form of support here would be an effective information
campaign promoting the reduction of car use and, in
many cases, single-person commuting.
The new integrated public transport strategy needs to
include Europe-wide standards for prevention and
detection of specific threats, including pandemics, and
practices to ensure the safe movement of people should