On Tuesday 3 March 2020, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on Sustainable Urban Mobility in the EU.
The auditors examined whether EU support had helped make mobility in urban areas more sustainable and whether cities had made progress since the European Commission's 2013 Urban Mobility Package. They examined public transport, pollution and congestion in eight metropolitan centres in four Member States: Hamburg and Leipzig in Germany, Naples and Palermo in Italy, Łódź and Warsaw in Poland, and Barcelona and Madrid in Spain.
The report is expected to warn that no substantial improvements towards sustainable urban mobility are possible without Member States' commitment. The auditors are expected to issue a number of recommendations to the Commission, including on making a sustainable mobility plan a condition for the cities to receive EU funding.
Traffic congestion is one of urban mobility's biggest challenges, affecting most Europeans and costing around €270 billion a year. Road transport is a major cause of urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. All cities visited are included in the EU infringement procedures.
Member States and cities manage urban mobility locally and the European Commission has only a limited role. However, in 2013 the Commission urged a “step-change" in addressing urban mobility issues by increasing the funding available and promoting a shift to a more sustainable urban transport. For the 2014-2020 period, it provided some €16.5 billion for urban mobility, mainly for clean transport (metro and tramway), but also for cycle paths and intelligent transport systems.
The ECA's special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.