EU auditors to examine transport bottlenecks

30 Apr 19

Auditors are to investigate whether European Union countries are taking effective action to tackle transportation headaches in major cities.

The European Court of Auditors has launched a probe into EU efforts to improve how people get around the cities and urban areas that are home to 70% of the population.

Progress made by EU countries in managing traffic congestion will be high on their agenda – alongside questions about whether funds available to boost urban mobility are being used effectively.

“Efficient mobility management is a key issue for urban areas,” said Iliana Ivanova, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit.

“Traffic congestion is a growing daily problem for many people in the EU and road transport is responsible for a significant part of air pollution and environmental noise in urban areas.”

Inefficient travel networks in urban areas cost EU economies an estimated €110bn (£95bn) each year – over 1 % of member states’ combined GDP.

Improved transport offers a huge potential gain, with research suggesting that in heavily congested EU regions free-flowing traffic could increase productivity by up to 30%, and that savings on health costs from reduced air pollution could amount to hundreds of billions of euros per year.

The EU has put in place a range of policies to help countries improve urban mobility, with more than €60bn made available for such initiatives during the 2014–2020 period.

The European auditors will focus on measures by the commission to encourage member states to develop sound policies and consistent strategies to boost urban mobility, and how EU funds are being spent.

They will examine progress made in reducing congestion during the 2014-2020 period and will visit cities in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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