As cities across the EU are taking actions to support mobility while facilitating social distancing, the Commission has announced EU level support. Executive Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, announced that cycling is able to receive funding from the €20 billion Urban Mobility package. This news comes after a request from six associations for a €13 billion cycling package to develop infrastructure and support the purchase of e-bikes.
In Italy, a consultation will decide how to invest a €20 million fund of the Smarter Italy programme. This programme aims to support research and develop new tools for improving traffic flows and the mobility of goods and people across Italy.
A YouGov survey of 7,545 adults in 21 cities across 6 European countries has found that 21% of participants plan to cycle more and 35% to walk more after lockdown. In addition, 74% wanted protection from air pollution, including the reallocation of public space from motorised transport to active mobility, if necessary.
Cities are listening to such opinions by creating more pop-up cycle lanes, with Budapest suggesting that if these lanes are successful, they could become permanent. Across France, 116 cities have committed to building more cycle lanes, while Brussels is turning one lane of the busy Rue de la Loi into a cycling lane. Antwerp has announced plans to create 19 km of cycle lanes and make 83% of its city centre car-free or low-traffic by 2024. Athens has gone one step further and banned car traffic completely in certain areas, although this measure is temporary, lasting only for 6 months. Vienna is discussing a permanent driving ban, with exceptions for residents, suppliers, important workers and public transport.
To keep pollution levels from rising back to pre-lockdown level, Germany has doubled subsidies for electric vehicles. The government also plans to invest €500 million in private charging points, €500 million for research and development and €1.5 billion to set up a battery cell production facility.
In order to support the post COVID-19 mobility transition, some are turning their attention to mobility data sharing. The Mobility Data Collaborative has said that data sharing needs to focus on data governance, identifying opportunities for education and dedicating resources for training.
UK bus operator Stagecoach has updated their app, using data to show how busy their buses are, which enables travellers to avoid busy times where social distancing might be difficult. In Edinburgh, a new online platform allows residents to suggest improvements to improve active travel, in order to make it easier and safer. A £5 million fund from Transport Scotland will support the suggested actions.
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- Publication date
- 22 June 2020
- Safety and urban mobility