On 14 December, the European Commission presented its “Efficient and Green Mobility” package with revised legislative proposals on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) directive and a communication on a new European Urban Mobility Framework.
The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI), Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) and the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) welcome this package, not least because many of the measures proposed recognise the increasing policy priority given to cycling at local and national level, elevating them to a priority level across the whole European Union, the result of two years of hard work and targeted advocacy by the cycling organisations.
At a press conference to present the package, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said that “the new urban mobility framework specifies in detail how cities are going to increase zero-emission public transport, roll out more and better infrastructure for walking and cycling, and green the cars,” with the whole package setting European mobility “on track for a sustainable future.”
Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation: “We have long been advocating for safe cycling to be unequivocally prioritised alongside walking, public transport and shared mobility services over individual motorised transport. For the benefit of people who cycle in Europe, and those who would like to, we welcome what is effectively the Commission’s strongest commitment to cycling to date. This is real progress for the European cycling associations but also for every advocate and city official who has worked to show what cycling can deliver for cities.”
For cycling advocates, our initial take is that there is a lot to like, which – if properly followed through on – will make a significant contribution to transport emission reductions and the success of the von der Leyen Commission’s signature European Green Deal. This comes not a minute too soon, given the sheer impossibility of achieving the climate policy’s ambitious goals, including through the 100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 mission, without a shift towards significantly more cycling.
Many long-standing advocacy demands of the cycling organisations are reflected in the package. Perhaps most significantly, the new European Urban Mobility Framework states that “a clear priority should be placed at national and local level on the development of public transport, walking and cycling, as well as connected, shared mobility services.” This is the first time in history that the European Commission prioritises investment in these modes as the backbone of urban mobility.
Elements of the package that CONEBI, CIE and ECF welcome in particular include:
- the overall prioritisation of the development of cycling, walking, public transport and shared mobility services in urban mobility
- the call for cities to properly address cycling in urban mobility policies “at all levels of governance and funding, transport planning, awareness-raising, allocation of space, safety regulations and adequate infrastructure”
- the proposal to require that TEN-T urban nodes adopt Sustainable and Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) that also serve to increase cycling levels
- the call for the TEN-T regulation to better integrate active transport modes in the network and maintain the continuity and accessibility of cycling infrastructure
- the acknowledgement of the need to accelerate the deployment of cargo bikes and e-cargo bikes for urban logistics and last-mile deliveries, notably as an integral part of Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans (SULPs)
- the recognition that e-bikes and e-cargo bikes, as “the fastest-growing e-mobility segment in Europe,” are contributing not only to an increase in the number and length of cycling trips but to the strong industrial leadership of the European cycling industry
- the call to ensure a better integration between public transport, on the one hand, and shared mobility services and active mobility, on the other
- the call for cyclists and pedestrians to be given sufficient road space, including through safe and separated infrastructure
- plans to launch a programme for the collection of urban mobility data for harmonised indicators, including on modal share
- that the revised ITS directive has a widened scope that calls for seamless multimodality, using the most efficient transport mode for each leg of the journey, a goal which cycling can deliver.
Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry: “The package published by the Commission gives us confidence that the cycling ecosystem can be further leveraged as a central element in the ongoing mobility transition. With the description of e-bikes as the ‘fastest-growing e-mobility segment in Europe’ and the acknowledgment that the EU is developing a strong industrial base in bike technologies, the industry has once again been recognised as an important stakeholder in the EU decision-making process. We must keep the EU’s attention and will continue to team up with our cycling advocacy partners to do so.”
Kevin Mayne, CEO of Cycling Industries Europe: “Europe’s cycling companies have led the world in developing products and services that can transform urban mobility. I am delighted that their success is at last recognised by the European Commission as a priority in future policy. With e-bikes, cargo bikes, bike sharing, connected services and commitments to extended cycling infrastructure, we believe this will lay the groundwork for increased opportunities and benefits across the entire sector.”
In summary, the cycling organisations are encouraged by the opportunities for the further development of cycling, based on our initial analysis of the “Efficient and Green Mobility” package. As always, much will depend on whether, how and how quickly these proposals are actually implemented over the coming months and years.
CONEBI, CIE and ECF look forward to working closely with the European Commission and our stakeholders on the next steps.