Initiative - The urban agenda for the EU - Karlsruhe

Initiative - The urban agenda for the EU - Karlsruhe

More and more people are living and working in cities. With the current European trend towards urbanisation, the importance of cities and urban areas is set to continue to grow. At the same time, cities are facing ever greater social challenges in respect of the environment, transport and social cohesion. The Urban Agenda aims to address those challenges. Cities are the place where European sectoral legislation comes together (in sometimes conflicting ways) and is being implemented. To fully exploit the potential of urban areas the urban dimension should be stronger embedded within EU policies. This explicitly does not mean new or more competences for the EU, but a better working method, focused on cooperation between the EU, Member States and cities. The Urban Agenda for the EU was officially established by the Pact of Amsterdam, agreed by the EU Ministers responsible for urban matters in May 2016.

The Urban Agenda aims to promote cooperation between Member States, cities, the European Commission, European organisations and other stakeholders in order to achieve a sustainable, socially inclusive, innovative and economically powerful Europe. The Urban Agenda sets out a new way of working together to stimulate growth, liveability and innovation in the cities, gain maximum benefits from their growth potential and successfully tackle current and future challenges. This new approach includes the creation of a range of European partnerships aimed at: promoting the involvement of cities in EU policy making, and the development, implementation and evaluation of more ‘urban friendly‘ European legislation (Better Regulation); ensuring better access to and use of European funds (Better Funding); improving the European urban knowledge base and stimulating the sharing of best practice and cooperation between cities (‘Better Knowledge Exchange‘). The partnerships will focus on twelve agreed priority themes of the Urban Agenda for the EU. One of these is the Partnership on Urban Mobility



The Partnership on Urban Mobility includes five Member States, eight cities, two regions, the European Commission (DG Regio, DG Move, DG env), the European Investment Bank, two leading European umbrella organisations (EUROCITIES, CEMR) as well as three further stakeholders (POLIS, UITP, ECF).




Walking and cycling can deliver positive effects for urban areas. And yet, the failure to recognise their full potential occurs at all levels of governance. This presents challenges to funding and strategic planning, from the EU all the way down to local level. Specific solutions to regulatory challenges require a coherent vision and strategy.


Existing local frameworks can be improved to ease the transition to smart mobility. Regionally, multiple providers can provide mobility services within an integrated framework. Intelligent and smart transport needs to be defined more horizontally across modes.


Distinctions between transport modes and public and private transport are becoming increasingly blurred. This challenges public transport companies to develop innovative policy responses. A further challenge relates to standardising the public transport strategy in EU cities and aligning transport planning between regions and Member States. Public transport must become more competitive. The lack of national incentives for behaviour change, efficiency and clean mobility will be addressed.



Many transport challenges are met by local and regional governments close to citizens and competent in managing urban mobility. Nevertheless, policy decisions at EU and national levels are often taken without effective local collaboration. This can make it difficult to monitor strategy implementation, to ensure that municipalities and citizens are involved in preparing strategies at all levels, to promote transparency and make the case for strategic focal points throughout all levels of governance.



The partnership is set up to run for a period of three years (2017-2019). A Draft Action Plan will be developed within the first project year, to be amended and finalised after a Europe-wide online consultation phase in early 2018 (January/February). The final Action Plan addressing all relevant levels of governance (local, regional, national and EU-level) is scheduled for September 2018, whereby individual actions are non-binding in character. This will be followed by an implementation phase in 2018-2019.