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 issues.
Led by opening remarks from 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 the European rail sector.
“The sector is very important to Europe…investment and competitiveness is key.” said Philippe Citroën, Director General of UNIFE
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 of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU, on several important sectoral topics making waves, such as the sharing of data and Mobility as a Service.
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 build the case for urban rail systems.
“We all know the importance of public transport and investment is always needed. In Europe, light rail systems carry annually 10 billion people. This is 10 times the number of passengers traveling by air. The future is bright for urban rail." said Annika Stienen, Deputy Director of UITP Europe
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 member of the European Parliament Transport Committee, Wojciech Bartelski, CEO of Warsaw Trams and Vincent Leiner of DG REGIO, focused on the different funding lines available and how to best deliver a mobility system for the future.
“I know the importance of a great transport network for city life…I will champion urban mobility in my new role." said Ciaran Cuffe MEP, Member of the European Parliament TRAN Committee
Our Conference closed with knowledge shared and solid support for the need to have ongoing investment in a strong, European urban rail sector.
As discussions regarding the next financial framework continue, moving people around our cities with ease should be always be at the heart of any discussion on urban investment.
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 Mobility Manifesto encouraging all European decision makers to place #MobilityOnTop of the political agenda.
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