The main objective of the opinion will be how the factors
urbanisation (increased inhabitants)
greening of transport (zero emission vehicles)
digitalisation (new technological possibilities for travel information & ticketing)
ageing population (affects accessibility of public transport)
affect the provision of public transport by local and regional authorities and how their spatial planning needs to be adapted to take these needs into account: from increased service of public transport to deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.
It will look into the aspects of decarbonisation, digitalisation and financing of public transport and how to include this into an urban environment of new, low-emission and shared forms of mobility.
Finally it will look into how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected public transport and how a robust public transport system can be restored.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- stresses that in order to ensure good quality of life in cities and to make them more accessible, clean and competitive, a modal shift towards sustainable modes of transport is necessary;
- points out that increasing car traffic in cities and metropolitan areas leads to rising external costs relating to air pollution and lost time, which consequently also negatively effects work-life balance. Therefore, public transport should become one of the main components of urban mobility. At the same time, various forms of active mobility, such as cycling and walking should be reinforced to increase the sustainability of urban mobility;
- recommends collecting data demonstrating mobility flows in the Metropolitan Regions in order to obtain a comprehensive picture about the traffic situation to design more tailored measures, develop evidence-based sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs) and channel investment from cohesion policy funds in a more targeted way;
- underlines that public transport policy must be embedded into a broader social policy. It should be avoided that external costs of public transport such as noise, pollution, expropriation, infrastructure works, … are not unevenly oriented towards the socially most vulnerable people.
- calls for support for urban mobility and its better connection with peri-urban and rural parts of the Metropolitan Regions; creating well-functioning integrated public transport systems primarily through regional authorities and their operational programmes for the coming 2021-2027 perspective. It is essential to make use of the wealth of experience, knowledge and potential of regional authorities, which ensures coordinated, effective and efficient action;
- notes the new trend towards less daily long-distance mobility needs due to the increase of teleworking with COVID-19 and that this trend could be long-lasting in combination with the implementation of concepts such as the "15 minutes city";
- points out that due to the critical situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic, MRs might experience a reverse of the shift towards using public transport.