At a landmark conference hosted by the European Commission on 17-18 February, Nicolas Blain – UITP’s EU Committee Chairman and RATP Chief of Staff and Advisor for European Affairs – made the economic case for public transport, showing how it is a key ingredient for urban growth and delivering the EU 2020 policy objectives.
More than two thirds of EU citizens now live in cities or other urban areas. With calls growing for an EU Urban Agenda, the European Commission hosted the debate event with key urban stakeholders to see how Member States and EU institutions should work together to ensure that cities play their full role in European development and that their needs are fully reflected in policy thinking.
By making the economic case for public transport, it shows that public transport is the lifeblood of a city economy and there can be no smart city without an important role for public transport. Investment in public transportation is crucial to improving the quality of life and economic vitality of our cities - it creates jobs, provides access to jobs and supports jobs in many other industry sectors helping to stimulate economic growth. So as Europe looks for solutions to today's challenges, and begins planning for a better tomorrow, public transportation is already finding the smart innovative solutions to take us there. Investing in public transport should be seen as investing in Europe, which will help shape the EU Urban Agenda for the cities of tomorrow.
The discussions were also a first step towards co-ordinating an EU response to the international debate around the post 2015 development agenda where UITP has been calling for a dedicated goal on sustainable transport. By highlighting the strategic fundamental value of public transport towards building sustainable cities it will help ensure that the post-2015 sustainable development goals reflect the realities of urban development.