Position of the FIA on the Green Paper on Urban Transport
Publication date: 15 September 2007
For decades now, Europe’s cities have grown to become the centres of social and economic activity they are today. Increasing mobility has played an important role in this development, and is a key element in our cities’ future. Increasing mobility also has downsides. Congestion, air pollution, traffic accidents and noise are significant problems in many cities affecting the quality of life of their inhabitants. This requires collective efforts to find and implement well-balanced solutions, ensuring the mobility of persons and goods without impairing the residents’ quality of life.
Therefore, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) seeks to actively promote improvements to the urban mobility framework through policy that creates the right balance between all parties involved in urban mobility. The FIA favours measures that prove to have benefits for the urban environment and lifestyle and ensure the mobility of citizens. Some cities have already introduced measures such as the city toll schemes or temporary closures of city centres to cars. Although the effects of these measures have not been fully evaluated yet, preliminary results show that they have in most cases not produced the expected benefits for congestion, the environment, safety and noise. Some of these measures proved to be not only ineffective, but they also present missed opportunities to tackle these important issues. Flourishing cities of the future will be the ones that will have put in place best in class mobility solutions. Helping cities to find and implement these will continue to be a key priority of the FIA and its member associations for the years to come.
Measures to ensure mobility and accessibility, reduce congestion, to improve road safety and the quality of life in cities:
Road traffic Motorised individual traffic
- Parking space management
- Traffic calming in residential areas
- Harmonisation of traffic signs
- Road construction (ring roads, tunnels, roundabouts) and maintenance
- Traffic information systems (moving and parked vehicles)
- Traffic management systems (park guidance systems, variable traffic signs)
- Traffic control systems (“intelligent“ green wave traffic light coordination)
- Road works management
- Incident management (priority access for roadside assistance providers)
- Vehicle-to-vehicle communication
- Promote carpooling and car sharing initiatives
Local Public Transport
- Bus acceleration/interchange control systems
- Environmentally friendly vehicles
- Passenger information (pre-/on-trip, doorstep-to-doorstep)
- Cashless payment systems (E-ticketing)
Pedestrian and bicycle traffic
- Barrier-less road environment for the mobility impared people
- Bicycle hire points/anti theft bicycle sheds
- Safe road environment (e.g. bicycle lanes)
- Dedicated signposting systems
- City logistics (HGV route plans, delivery areas)
- Appropriate and safe parking facilities for coaches
- Local and regional mobility management (mobility centre, mobility portal)
- Corporate mobility management (public transport staff tickets, natural gas fleet)
- Park-and-Ride / Bike-and-Ride (space for bicycles on public transport)
- Public mobility stations (reserved parking for car sharing vehicles at public transport stops)
Traffic development planning
- Integration of urban and transport development
- Mixed-use new development (housing, work, shopping, leisure)
- Structural measures (quiet surfacing, noise barriers)
- Traffic flow enhancement on major roads
- Tax incentives for cleaner cars (e.g. diesel particulate filters)
- Cleaner service fleets
80 % of EU citizens live in cities. In these densely populated zones, competition for space is fierce. Motorised individual traffic, public transport, pedestrian and cyclist traffic compete for the same confined space. Finding the balance between all the needs of a city (e.g. transportation, clean air), whilst maintaining the fluid mobility required to deliver these needs, is one of the major challenges of the future.
This challenge to transport infrastructure will continue to grow in parallel as the urban populations grow, with mobility requirements clashing with the other basic needs of the population, especially the desire for better
quality of life. The car is often singled out as the principle cause of problems in cities. Rather than integrate the car, that has been shown to bring economic and social benefits to cities, many policy makers try to shut them out of cities altogether. Blocking accessibility to inner cities gives rise to an increasing outflow of labour and resident population into the surrounding areas and reduces the attractiveness of inner cities as a living and economic environment. As the voice of the mobile consumer, the FIA feels the need to set the record straight on the benefits of the motorised individual traffic for cities and to present alternatives for the development of sustainable mobility.
Role of the FIA
Through its members the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) represents over 34 million people in Europe who need mobility in their daily lives whether it be by car, motorcycle, public transport, cycling or walking. As the leading European mobility organisation, the FIA has unbiased consumer orientated expertise in a variety of transport issues, including road safety, traffic information and incident management. The FIA’s key priority is the representation of mobile consumers. On the issue of urban mobility the FIA favours solutions which give consumers choice when travelling and not solutions which rely of the creation of physical or monetary barriers. The FIA member clubs’ long experience means that they have the knowledge of how to best handle mobility challenges in our cities. The traditional focus of the clubs is on road safety. A more recent field of activity covers traffic management, with road patrols helping to speed up the process of incident clearance, and traffic information services giving congestion warnings to help motorists find an alternative route in time. Since the automobile clubs are involved in technical development projects and participate in a variety of expert groups, they operate at the cutting edge and promote innovative solutions by taking part in pilot projects. With respect to traffic in cities, the clubs focus on their role in consumer protection, testing e.g. “green wave” traffic light coordination, public transport systems or cycling-friendly infrastructure. It is the close contact to road users and municipal authorities that ensures practical, financially viable and user-oriented solutions.
Role of the EU
The FIA welcomes the EU’s initiative to adopt a Green Paper on Urban Transport. The FIA understands that it is the principal duty of the EU to identify the bestpractice examples, to set standards aimed at ensuring interoperability and to promote pilot projects and their evaluation. Further lines of action may consist of launching a marketing campaign for “sustainable mobility”, defining a European Mission Statement on Urban Traffic, harmonising traffic signs and regulations and promoting the introduction of environmentally friendly cars. Potential starting points include the definition of new emission standards (Euro norms) and the promotion of alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. These issues are significant accross Europe not only in it’s cities. The urban environment
is not appropriate stage to establish legislation. The FIA emphasises the significance of the principle of subsidiarity; urban initiatives should be taken at city level. In view of the high level of diversification of traffic in European cities, standard “top down” solutions are not viable. Naturally, city regions need policy guidelines for a sustainable transport planning. They do not need legislative imposition on a broad Front.