Cycling, walking, public passenger transport solutions, car sharing and pooling should be given preference in urban planning suggest an opinion on A European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility adopted by the European Committee of the Regions’ COTER Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget. The document presented by the rapporteur József RIBÁNYI, Vice-President of County Council of Tolna Megye, encourages local and regional ways to influence consumer preferences and choices, encouraging the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Parking spaces, bus lanes, procurement benefits, “green” registration plates or tariff reductions on tolls are among the proposed solutions.

‘European regions, by playing an active role in establishing smart telecommunications and transport infrastructure, may ensure the efficient use of connected and automated vehicles along the corridors of the TEN-T network which crosses the borders and territories of the Member States‘ – argued the rapporteur listing an added value of such optimisations.

Mayors, local and regional representatives are also in favour of harmonisation of transport information available currently from different mobility-related sources. Integrated ticketing also faces obstacles against its wider use as modes of public transport differ in terms of profitability.

Low- or zero-emission mobility is expected to revolutionise transport in terms of networks, vehicles and fuels. CoR endorses reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from transport by at least 60% compared to 1990. It sees electric transportation and electric recharging infrastructure as quickly deployable in urban areas and conurbations where local authorities support central governments in such efforts.

‘Locally produced and stored electric energy could provide a stable and inexpensive fuel source to accelerate the transition to low-emission e-mobility‘ – Ribányi stated with optimism, however he underlined that electric vehicle charging stations need to be standardised – ‘The European Commission should support the roll-out of electric charging stations by developing standards enabling integration of fuelling stations into existing buildings or facilities.’

Local and regional authorities are aware that a shift towards low-emission mobility could create challenges for the labour market, and therefore they prioritise that the workforce is re-trained for new jobs. ‘Despite high unemployment rates, there is a shortage of staff in many important areas of the transport sector as result of a lack of digital skills‘ – underlined the rapporteur.

The opinion will be subject to formal adoption by the CoR at its July plenary session.

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