How do EU policies affect urban mobility at the local and regional level?

Photo Credit RdA Suisse

07.10.19 Luis Bouza

OpenEUdebate is launching a series of activities on sustainable mobility in European cities where students from partner universities will have the chance to work together on policy design on different European cities, share their research and debate with policy makers.

Urban mobility is already a hot topic in Spanish local politics. As young people demonstrate against climate change and population concentrates more and more in a few big cities conflicts arise over the usage of the public space for movement. Making mobility more sustainable is a shared goal by most political actors, but the rhythm and distribution of costs of the transition to sustainable transportation and the impact on urban planning – compact neighbourhoods versus suburban family houses – require a process of legitimation and aggregation of interests that is in different stages in the member states of the EU.

A second source of political complexity is the multilevel nature of a policy where governments’ policy design or preferences may differ from local council solutions, as in the proposal of the Spanish governments to oblige all medium and large cities to reduce private traffic in city centres. And as in other complex multilevel issues urban mobility is strongly influenced by European policy decisions. This local policy is affected by EU decisions on vehicles car-making directives, air pollution and human health, sustainability and climate change and funding for regional and local infrastructure. As a result, mobility constitutes an ideal setting to study the role of the EU in the global sustainable development goals in a bottom-up and positive albeit critical way.

This project intends to create an intellectual and teaching venue where students from the members of OpenEUdebate can engage in interdisciplinary and comparative work on problems and solutions to urban mobility issues in different cities of the EU. It will do so by creating virtual working groups where students from the three countries can work together on a common assignment. Stay tuned for more information.