European Commissioner for Transportation Violeta Bulc gave a speech opening the General Assembly of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities, at which she urged cities and companies to engage in cross-border cooperation to accelerate innovation and investment towards sustainable urban transport solutions. The event was attended by 450 representatives of cities, companies and research organisations.
Commissioner Bulc announced the EIB ELENA facility will provide broad technical assistance to cities looking to undertake large projects relating to innovative urban energy and transport. The assistance is in line with the European Investment Advisory Hub. It has a budget of €50 million for 2016 and 2017.
Commissioner Bulc stated the willingness of the European Commission and the European Investment bank to support stakeholders towards the creation of sustainable urban development. She drew attention to the recent announcement made by the Dutch government that onwards all public buses in the Netherlands will be emission-free by 2025. Commissioner Bulc pressed the importance of cities and regions to move to alternatively fuelled vehicles.
These facilities are just a few of many actions being undertaken by the EIP relating to urban mobility. 70 partners from cities, regions and companies which already work together to develop innovative solutions in the area of smart electro-mobility and mobility services. Following the action manifestos which were signed in January 2016, the first proposals for technical assistance and financing support are being discussed. Lyon in France and Birmingham in the UK are frontrunners in the roll-out of a urban multi-modal dataset and interface which will allow better access to data and interoperability services, which could operate in up to 50 cities across the continent.
Commissioner Bulc said:
“Cleaner air, safer transport networks, reducing congestion, optimising use of existing infrastructure – these are just some of the reasons why smart city development is so important. Cities need to come together in order to scale such investments into smart city development and to scale fast.
“A key priority for this Commission is simplifying and broadening access to finance; as well as developing innovative financing. We want more money to flow into good projects that can be replicated in cities across Europe, and then exported as solutions to the rest of the world. European cities and European companies need to stay in the global lead for smart and connected urban mobility. Therefore, better collaboration and co-creation between public and private partners is very much needed!”
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