This is a defining moment for the future of urban mobility. As Europe prepares its exit strategy for COVID19, EPF is calling for stronger support for sustainable urban mobility alongside 11 other organisations, among which POLIS, the European Cyclists’ Federation, EMTA, UITP and others. Click here to read the joint letter sent on May 4

Sustainable and safe urban mobility – public transport, cycling and walking – is a key component of the COVID-19 exit strategy. In EPF’s view, special attention and support must be given to the needs, aspirations and apprehensions of Public Transport Users if public transport is to realise its potential contribution to reshaping urban mobility in the context of sustainable economic recovery.

On May 13., the European Commission published an official communication “COVID-19: Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services and connectivity“. For EPF, this is a step in the right direction. Here’s a summary of the proposed guidelines on urban mobility:

Public transport

  • To prepare for times when passenger numbers increase, measures should be put in place to ensure the highest safety for passengers, such as safe physical distancing, isolating drivers from passengers, increasing operational frequency to allow for safe distancing, and automated door operations.
  • Measures should be clearly communicated to passengers to facilitate their smooth implementation, reassure citizens and maintain their confidence in public transport (e.g. communications campaigns)
  • Many of the measures that might be required have effects that go beyond the remit of public transport and should be developed in cooperation with health authorities and other stakeholders

Shared mobility

  • Shared mobility companies should take various measures to protect drivers and passengers from infection
  • Rental vehicles should be thoroughly disinfected after each use, and vehicles used for car-sharing should be disinfected at least once on every day of use
  • There should be increased disinfection of station-based services (e.g. shared bicycles)
  • E-scooter and e-bike rental companies should disinfect scooters and bikes at least with each battery change

Active travel

  • Urban areas could consider temporary enlargements of pavements and increased space for active mobility options
  • Reducing speed limits of vehicles in increased active mobility areas could be considered

Sharing of best practices

  • Sharing of best practices, ideas and innovations should continue to further develop cooperation and knowledge
  • The Commission will also gather mobility stakeholders mobility to draw lessons and gather experiences gained so far, and identify opportunities for more sustainable mobility in the EU in line with the European Green Deal

The guidelines also note that whilst focusing on restoring transport services and connectivity is vital, it is important to look forwards to a “sustainable and smart recovery of the EU transport sector” so that this sector can remain globally competitive and can be a key part of the EU economy and citizens’ lives. The guidelines state that lessons learnt from this crisis will be taken into consideration in the upcoming Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in 2020.