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50 million euro given to 14 cities to improve urban transport

The European Commission has revealed which 14 cities will benefit from 50 million euro from the Fifth Framework programme's Civitas initiative. The funding aims to implement bold, innovative and integrated action for the radical improvement of urban transport. The participat...

The European Commission has revealed which 14 cities will benefit from 50 million euro from the Fifth Framework programme's Civitas initiative. The funding aims to implement bold, innovative and integrated action for the radical improvement of urban transport. The participating cities will use technologies and energy measures to enhance energy efficiency and promote the use of 'clean' fuels to combat congestion and pollution. The aim is to promote the development of an attractive alternative to the use of private cars. Five cities from candidate countries have also volunteered to join the group. Measures to be introduced include: - the introduction of new information and transport management systems; - the introduction of 'clean' vehicle fleets for passengers and goods; - promotional campaigns for public transport; - a system of charging for road use and parking based on environmental concerns; - the creation of special areas for 'clean' vehicles in city centres. 'Only new approaches will enable us to deal successfully with the growth in pollution and congestion caused by transport in the cities,' said Loyola de Palacio, Commissioner for Energy and Transport. 'The Commission is happy to provide financial support for pilot cities that wish to show the effectiveness of integrated action,' she said. The selected cities are: Aalborg, Barcelona, Berlin, Bremen, Bristol, Cork, Gothenburg, Graz, Lille, Nantes, Rome, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Winchester. The Community will provide 35 per cent of the funding for the projects proposed by the pilot cities, and the cities themselves will provide the rest. The five 'associated cities' joining the scheme voluntarily are Bucharest, Gdynia, Kaunas, Pécs and Prague. The results of the projects will be independently assessed, and will then form the basis of a guide on best practice for use by other cities. On the basis of this first experiment, the Commission intends to relaunch the initiative in 2003, and to continue working on urban transport with the cities concerned.