The White Paper Goals

Urban Transport features prominently in the 2011 Transport White Paper. There are two goals addressing urban passenger and freight transport respectively,

  • To halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; and to phase them out by 2050;
  • To achieve ‘essentially CO2-free city logistics’  in major urban centres by 2030

These goals are meant to help solve three main problems:

  • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
  • To reduce the dependence of oil as a propulsion source,
  • To reduce local air and noise pollution.

The goals are to be achieved essentially without compromising the benefits that high mobility provides to urban areas. Electric vehicles utilizing renewable energy sources are foreseen as part of the solution, but a much broader range of measures combined in intelligent ways are likely to be needed to achieve the goals.

The Choices to be Made

City traffic
Picture: A. Fangen

Urban transport systems are complex. It is difficult to fundamentally change them without creating negative or unintended effects for some users or for social and economic functions in the city. Urban passenger transport is provided by a range of different modes (cars, buses, rails, tram, bicycling, walking, etc), which partly supplement and partly compete with one another. Each city has its own mix reflecting the specific historic, geographic, political and cultural context. The governance of passenger transport systems is spread to a number of private and public actors, including road owners, public transport authorities, operators, and others. Cars running on fossil fuels are usually the dominant transport mode today.  Logistical services are provided to cities mostly by trucks and vans, using (mainly) diesel fuel. The management of city logistics is even more dispersed than passenger transport, involving numerous individual consigners (senders), consignees (shops, for example) and transport service providers, with limited direct public involvement. All of these stakeholders –including not least the citizens – are important in fulfilling the EU urban transport goals.

Stakeholders´ Views

A change away from conventional fuelled cars and towards CO2-free logistics will not occur automatically, given advantages and lock-in to today’s systems. Favorable conditions for change have to be established, which again will require numerous smaller and larger decisions as well as coordination between many actors at different levels (urban, national, European; public and private, etc). Pathways to fulfill the goals need to be sufficiently general to make new solutions broadly viable, yet sufficiently sensitive to context to be suitable in each urban area.  The purpose of TRANSFORUM was to ensure the active engagement of several urban transport stakeholders in a dialogue process that seeked to provide well-founded road maps and recommendations for how to reach the urban transport goals in European cities. Manufacturers and providers of various non-fossil transport and propulsion systems can bring a broad range of solutions to the table for discussion; urban planners and managers can conceive of ways to adapt urban development and infrastructure to the new transport solutions while enhancing key urban qualities; retailers and other urban businesses can specify economic and other requirements that new low-carbon logistical systems need to ensure, while transport operators can contemplate how technological and organizational innovations can be combined with viable  business models. City and regional governments have key responsibilities including multiple administrative units which must be evoked and coordinated; and NGO’s representing transport users, citizens, environmental interests, and other key concerns need to be taken on board and heard from the start. Finally, researchers can provide knowledge on ways to assess strengths and weaknesses of various solutions and ways to identify sustainable strategies and policy packages.

Involving Stakeholders

TRANSFORuM instigated several forms of dialogue with urban transport stakeholders on how to accomplish the urban transport goals. Key was a series of three interactive forum meetings and thematic workshops, where a limited set of carefully selected  stakeholders were engaged in concentrated dialogues to identify policy options, good practice cases, implementation barriers, and viable strategies.

In parallel, a much broader range of stakeholders reflecting the multitude of viewpoints and interest in urban transport all across Europe, was consulted and involved through measures such as interviews, newsletters, conferences, and social media.

Our stakeholder selection rationale

A variety of stakeholders have a potential interest in the White Paper goal for clean urban transport and mobility, including: users, producers, regulators, politicians and innovators in urban transport at all levels from individual cities to national, European and global scale.  It was a key concern for TRANSFORuM to ensure that as many insights and interests as possible were included in the process and results of the project, while at the same time disseminated widely to create awareness. For this purpose, we had identified the following categories of stakeholders that were invited to the workshops:

  • Representatives of cities and cities’ networks, with ‘hands-on’ experience in urban transport policy-making
  • Producers and providers of non-conventional fuel vehicles and energy systems for low CO2 transport and city logistics, such as electric, hydrogen, bioenergy,  or human-powered
  • Providers and organizers of mobility services in cities, including public transport authorities and companies, as well as car sharing, bike sharing, and other alternative modalities
  • Professionals involved in organizing freight and logistic services and the distribution of goods and parcels in cities
  • Representatives of citizen organizations and other NGOs engaged in accessibility, mobility, environmental quality, health , safety and other aspects of urban quality of life
  • Researchers and experts in the design and implementation of urban transport technologies solutions, policies and plans


Henrik Gudmundsson is a Senior Researcher in Sustainable Transport at Department of Transport at the Technical University of Denmark, since 2006. He is educated as Environmental planner and has a PhD in Business Economics from Copenhagen Business School. Previously he worked at the National Environmental Research Institute and the Danish Ministry of Environment. Henrik's main area of research is sustainable transport policy, including the use of knowledge and indicators in the design, implementation and monitoring of transport policy, planning and performance.

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15 May, 2013Philip Insall

Urban mobility is also a matter of public health. It is important that public health experts should contribute to urban transport policy and that DGMOVE and DG SANCO should collaborate on policy at the European level.
Polis has produced a good position paper on this -

22 Mar, 2014jordi

La Planificación de la movilidad descarbonizada debe hacerse junto con las nuevas redes eléctricas inteligentes