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Document 52021SC0048

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE EVALUATION of the 2013 Urban mobility package

SWD/2021/0048 final

Brussels, 24.2.2021

SWD(2021) 48 final

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE EVALUATION

of the 2013 Urban mobility package

{SWD(2021) 47 final}


The 2013 Urban Mobility Package (UMP) consists of the Communication “Together towards competitive and resource-efficient urban mobility 1 as well as the accompanying annex "A Concept for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans" 2 and four Commission Staff Working Documents 3 addressing respectively action in four main areas: urban logistics, urban road safety, urban vehicle access regulations and Intelligent Transport Systems in cities. Based on the 2013 impact assessment, a choice was made to proceed with a non-binding option instead of legislative alternatives, mostly because it was deemed effective in reaching the objectives and was the only option supported by a majority of the stakeholders 4 . The framework focused on catalysing joint action towards more sustainable urban mobility and reinforcing the support provided to European cities through coordinated measures at EU level and in the Member States. Responsibility for the implementation of the UMP objectives was allocated to the European Commission and the Member States. 

The Commission launched the evaluation of the Package in 2018 to examine its performance in terms of relevance, effectiveness, coherence, efficiency, and EU added value. An external study and a wide range of consultation activities (including national, regional and local authorities; stakeholders – civil society, networks and private sector actors and their representatives at various level; and the general public) support this evaluation. The main limitation faced stems from the difficulty to find available extensive and accurate data on urban mobility, and therefore of the impact of the different policy measures. However, it has proved to be possible to draw a number of conclusions based on a mixture of qualitative and quantitative evaluation, and the findings of this evaluation should serve as a useful basis for shaping future policy decisions in the field.

As to the relevance of the Package, the evaluation found that UMP’s objectives were appropriate for meeting the identified needs, but the analysis highlighted that numerous technological, social, political, environmental and health-related developments have affected urban mobility, in some cases to a considerable extent since 2013 (e.g. digitalisation). Moreover, even though the problems in the area of urban mobility remain similar in 2020 as in 2013, some of their consequences are of rising severity and gravity for society, the economy and the environment. In addition to challenges with regard to the resilience of urban transport networks, which has been severely tested during the COVID pandemic, as well as the persisting challenges linked to tackling congestion and road casualties, this concerns in particular the accelerating tempo of climate change. It is now a major EU priority, with the increasingly ambitious objectives of the European Green Deal, the Climate Target Plan 2030 and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, where the need to decarbonise transport is linked with ensuring important societal goals of affordability, accessibility, availability and inclusiveness 5 . The consulted stakeholders identified that these areas, as well as a greater consideration for the needs of different societal groups and more focus on public transport and active mobility, should have had a greater prominence in the Package. In result, for the UMP objectives and measures to remain fully relevant, these new facts and developments have to be taken into account. 

The current trends in urban transport do not indicate a significant change in terms of modal share, traffic volume and greenhouse gas emissions since 2013. Private cars still dominate and there has been only a slight increase in public transport use and non-motorised modes of transport. It was not possible to establish that the Package has entirely fulfilled the expectation to support cities in their transition towards sustainable urban mobility. There are signs of improvement, but the degree to which the Urban Mobility Package affected these trends is difficult to determine due to the fact that the Package is a non-binding document and overlaps in its policy focus thematically with other EU legislation. The evidence shows that there are significant differences between Member States - and sometimes within individual Member States - in terms of their needs, drivers, barriers, institutional settings and approaches to urban mobility. The Package has therefore been only partially effective in achieving the step-change envisaged in 2013, mainly due to continuing challenges with implementing sustainable urban mobility planning and related measures across all levels of governance as well as divergent national approaches and uneven support to cities in tackling urban mobility issues. In consequence, the expected UMP results of reduction of CO2 and air pollutant emissions, less congestion and road casualties at urban level have not consistently materialised across the EU, with persisting negative consequences, including for the smooth functioning of the TEN-T network.

The results of the analysis point to coherence between UMP and other EU policies and initiatives, in terms of objectives and vision, towards the transition to a new era of sustainable urban mobility. However, more coherence is needed in relation to the fast-evolving digital and social policies, and some aspects of UMP have raised certain questions in relation to the functioning of the internal market. Namely, the increasing number, heterogeneity and different methods of implementation of UVAR schemes pose a challenge to some of the EU single market principles, in particular regarding proportionality, different treatment of domestic and foreign vehicles, and insufficient transparency and availability of accurate information and data.

On efficiency, the available evidence suggests that the EU-level measures are relatively cost-efficient. However, due to the non-binding nature of the Package and the differences between Member States with respect to the institutional settings related to urban mobility issues, it has not been possible to provide an estimate of the overall costs borne by national and regional authorities.

The Package generated EU added value especially thanks to EU funding and supporting awareness-raising, capacity building, sharing of good practice and experience, and fostering collaboration and cooperation. The central element of the Package, the concept of sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP) and related European guidelines have been widely used and proved effective and useful for local authorities, planners and stakeholders. However, its quality assurance and urban mobility data collection and availability require additional attention to ensure that SUMPs remain effective tools towards achieving the EU decarbonisation, transport and connectivity objectives, including on the TEN-T Network. Equally, even though the EU funding for urban mobility is, overall, regarded positively and should be continued according to stakeholders, its effectiveness could be improved by linking it to SUMPs.

In conclusion, EU action on urban mobility is still needed, even more now than in 2013. Moreover, the evaluation shows that there is a need to use stronger tools, in order to contribute substantially to the increasingly ambitious climate, digital and societal objectives and commitments of the EU.

(1) COM(2013)913, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52013DC0913
(2)

 COM(2013)913-annex, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:82155e82-67ca-11e3-a7e4-01aa75ed71a1.0011.02/DOC_4&format=PDF

(3) ‘A call to action on urban logistics’, ‘Targeted action on urban road safety’ , ‘A call for smarter action on urban access regulations’ , and ‘Mobilising Intelligent Transport Systems for EU cities’ .
(4) The legislative options were deemed more likely to reduce the risk that EU cities would not achieve the key EU transport objectives (as defined in the 2011 Transport White Paper) in comparison with the non-legislative options; however, they were estimated to also be more demanding to implement and were not supported by stakeholders.
(5) A ‘just transition for all’ is also among the political priorities of the Commission for 2019-2024 ( https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf )
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