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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article20 May 20192 min read

EU auditors looking at effectiveness of EU action on urban mobility

The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit of EU action to improve the mobility of people in cities and densely populated areas. The auditors are examining how the European Commission and Member States use the EU funding available to put into action their urban mobility policies and whether the Commission provides effective support to Member States. The auditors will also assess the progress that has been made in recent years in managing traffic congestion.

“Efficient mobility management is a key issue for urban areas,” said Iliana Ivanova, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit. “Traffic congestion is a growing daily problem for many people in the EU and road transport is responsible for a significant part of air pollution and environmental noise in urban areas.”

The auditors recently published an audit preview on urban mobility in the EU. Audit previews provide information on an ongoing audit task and are designed as a source of information for those interested in the policy or programmes being audited.

The audit preview underlines that around 70% of Europe’s population lives in urban areas, and that this figure is expected to increase. By 'urban mobility', the auditors mean all travel options and associated activities in a city or urban area. The extent and patterns underlying urban mobility depend on several factors, including land use, car ownership and mobility policies.

It is estimated that inefficient travel networks in urban areas cost Member State economies €110 billion each year – over 1% of the EU Member States' combined GDP - while the health costs of air pollution amount to several hundred billion euro per year. Research shows that in highly congested regions, enabling traffic to be free-flowing could mean productivity gains of up to 30%.

The EU has put in place a range of policies, and the Commission has promoted sustainable urban mobility plans, to help Member States address the challenges facing urban mobility. More than €60 billion from the EU budget has been made available to put such initiatives into action during the 2014-2020 period.

The auditors will focus on the:

  • Commission’s measures to encourage Member States to develop sound policies and consistent strategies with a view to improving urban mobility;
  • use of EU funding to put the Commission’s policy on urban mobility into action;
  • progress made during the 2014-2020 period, in terms of congestion levels compared to population growth.

They will carry out visits to cities in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. The audit report is expected to be published in 2020.

If you wish to contact the audit team, you may do so at the following e-mail address: ECA-urban-mobility-auditateca [dot] europa [dot] eu (ECA-urban-mobility-audit[at]eca[dot]europa[dot]eu).

Press release of the European Court of Auditors 25th of April 2019


Publication date
20 May 2019
  • Europe-wide