In profile: EU support to
clean urban transport


The development of sustainable multi-modal mobility is one of the key challenges for European cities and functional urban areas both to mitigate the climate impact of transport and to contribute to quality of life.
Sustainable mobility includes several dimensions and components:
  • sustainable, energy-efficient, accessible for all and affordable public transport systems; a friendly environment for soft transport modes such as cycling and walking;
  • easy access to all neighbourhoods, on foot, by bike, by public transport; local transport networks that need to be well connected to regional networks;
  • peri-urban networks that need to be planned within the context of overall land-use and spatial development; and transport nodes that need to be well integrated with social, cultural and economic activities.
Below we explore the monitoring data and what it tells us about the ERDF and Cohesion Fund investments in clean urban transport for 2014-2020.  

What are the main concepts and priorities?

Four main concepts in the area of clean urban transport:   
  • Sustainable Urban Mobility: Sustainable urban mobility should focus on the question: to what extent / in what ways do actors in cities and urban areas stimulate a transition towards mobility based on walking and cycling, high quality public transport and (decreased use of) cleaner passenger vehicles whilst at the same time maintaining the social and economic achievements of their current mobility system?
    - European Metropolitan Network Institute
  • Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP): A SUMP is a strategic document developed and implemented in compliance with the present common framework by the designated Local Planning Authority. A SUMP is developed in an integrated, intergovernmental, and cross-sectorial approach by the Local Planning Authority and implemented in a participatory approach, in close consultation with the public and relevant stakeholders.
  • Multimodal transport: means the carriage of freight and / or passengers using two or more modes of transports (EU revised guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network). Better modal choices will result from greater integration of the modal networks: airports, ports, railway, metro and bus stations, should increasingly be linked and transformed into multimodal connection platforms for passengers.
  • Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are advanced applications which without embodying intelligence as such aim to provide innovative services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management and enable various users to be better informed and make safer, more coordinated and "smarter" use of transport networks
    - Recital 3 of the Directive 2010/40/EU)
The European Commission priorities for programming were as follows:
  • Plan investments in sustainable urban mobility following an integrated approach and based on a comprehensive mobility concept for a city or functional urban area. The strategies should include an analysis of the needs and targets for mobility infrastructure and addresses all modes and forms of transport in a complementary manner: public and private, passenger and freight, motorised and non-motorised, moving and parked (multimodal approach).
  • Investments in urban mobility to be accompanied by additional measures to ensure a broad take up of supported new transport systems.  
  • Strategies focussed on making non-car mobility more attractive than individual car traffic. This includes an accessible public transport for all citizens.
  • Investments in sustainable mobility contribute to reducing CO2 emission. Greener vehicle technology, fuel-efficient and alternative fuels are be supported. Apart from CO2 emissions noise emissions are also be taken into account in the context of a sustainable urban mobility.
  • City/region to define measures for finding ways of changing the mobility behaviour of citizens.

And what about examples of project funded?

In the context above, EU cohesion policy finances hundred of projects in the 2014-2020 investment period. Here are some examples:  

Hybrid buses hit the road in Hungary’s South Great Plain region

In Hungary, there is demand for up to 10 000 new buses. The development of the Modulo revived Hungarian bus production, offering three different types of environmentally-friendly urban buses: a gas-fuelled bus, a trolley, and an electric bus plus charger station.

Leghorn, IT, encouraging sustainable transport and deterring bike theft

Residents in the city of Livorno, Italy are signing up to the SAVEMYBIKE project. It uses modern technology to log the benefits of cycling. It also uses a tagging system that is effective in reducing bike thefts and can help retrieve any that are stolen.

Explore progress with EU Financing 

Five investment fields are tracked in terms of the volume of EU investments, with regular updates on the progress deciding projects and spending by  those projects.  Under the ERDF and Cohesion Fund around EUR 18 billion is planned 

... including in relation to each specific investment field

Using the chart below you can track the progress with the five main investment fields and, clicking on the bars, see the national investment efforts and programme effort and progress with investments.

And how many clean urban project are there? 

Use the chart below to check the number of projects by country and fund, with financial detail when you hover over the bars and filters to allow you check by specific interventions (cyclepaths/footpaths, multi modal, etc.). 

Explore progress with investment outputs

Only one EU common indicator was defined for the period 2014-2020 to measure the length of new of improved trams or metro lines (CO15). This indicator capture only a limited range of the investments that take place with only 9 countries planning such outputs - CZ, ES, GR, HU, IT, LV, PL, RO and SK (as at end 2020).      

The charts below show: 
  • the overall evolution of the target values, decided values and implemented values as the programme period progresses;
  • The national and programme contribution to the annual cumulative achievements.
The common indicator does not capture all eligible actions, which have many other results besides tram and metro lines.  Programmes also use programme-specific indicators, which cannot be aggregated. 

More information:

Find more #ESIFOpenData stories here.


We are REGIO's sustainable growth team. Contact us at: 
(European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, Smart and Sustainable Growth Unit