Addressing the challenges and opportunities linked to any major sector
always requires a collaborative effort. By joining forces with public
transport colleagues, we can consider what is necessary to place urban
mobility on top of the agenda.
Urbanisation was the objective, notably emissions and congestion, as UITP, UNIFE and
the European Committee of the Regions
held a joint Conference (Brussels, 11 September 2019) to consider
the ways in which urban and regional rail projects could help solve these
Led by opening remarks from the European Committee of the Regions President
Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Deputy Director of UITP’s European Department Annika
Stienen and Philippe Citroën, Director General of UNIFE, esteemed sector
colleagues gathered to hold a spirited discussion on funding and finance
for urban rail transport in European.
With an audience including UITP Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani and
Deputy Director of UITP Europe Artur Perchel, the opening political address
also heard from Mikael Nyberg, Director-General of the Finnish Transport
and Communications Ministry, on several important sectoral topics making
waves, such as data sharing, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and unlocking the
green potential of urban rail through more tailored financing.
Proceedings, moderated by Jacqueline Spuijbroek, EU Regional Representative
Zuid-Holland, continued with an expert viewpoint on urban mobility from
Alan O’Brien of JASPERS, the Joint
Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions from the European
Investment Bank, on how to better prepare the ground and build the case for
sustainable urban rail systems which stand the test of time.
The significant economic, environmental and social benefits to developing
urban mobility are numerous – and investment is always needed to meet these
challenges head on.
Understanding how the new regional development and cohesion policy beyond
2020 can contribute to achieving a greener, carbon-free, and
fully-connected Europe, was the topic for the panel session which followed.
With 2021-2027 best practices and prospects considered, panellists
including Ciaran Cuffe, MEP and TRAN member o, Wojciech Bartelski, CEO of
Warsaw Trams as well as Keir Fitch and Vincent Leiner representing DG REGIO
and DG MOVE respectively, focused on the different funding lines available
and how to best deliver a sustainable urban mobility system fit for the
CoR rapporteur Pascal Mangin, who is currently drafting an opinion on "The
potential of the rail sector in delivering EU policy priorities",
underlined that the rail sector not only secures decarbonisation of urban
transport but that European railways and associated industries also support
other major EU policy priorities as enablers of growth and jobs which
foster economic and social cohesion within the Union.
The Conference closed with lively Q&A sessions and solid support for
the need to ensure sustainable and targeted investments in a strong,
European urban rail sector.
As discussions regarding the next financial framework continue, the
importance of providing solutions enabling people to move in and around
cities with ease should be always be at the heart of any discussion on both
urban investment and spatial planning more broadly.
With mobility in mind, UITP Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani and European
Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz used the occasion of the
Conference to jointly sign UITP’s
encouraging all European decision makers to place #MobilityOnTop of the