Speaking at the Citizens' Network UITP Conference in Brussels on 23 April 1996, Mr. Kinnock, Commissioner for transport, warned that the need for effective transport strategies in the European Union has become vital. Mr. Kinnock was responding to comments from the UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics) on the Commission's Green Paper on Public Transport, published in January 1996. Given the forecast that traffic volumes in the EU will double in the next 20 years, the Commissioner stressed the need for high-quality passenger transport throughout the EU and a more rational, cost-effective and ecologically responsible use of the infrastructure that already exists. Many of the actions necessary to achieve decongestion and sustainable mobility must be taken at national, regional and local level. A broad strategy is required which combines: - Measures to promote the more efficient use of existing infrastructure and especially road space; - Responses to the needs of those without cars; - New infrastructure, where it is environmentally acceptable and economically feasible; - Active recognition that planning decisions should take account of effects on transport demand. Mr. Kinnock examined ways in which to ease congestion, including technological developments (such as the increased use of telematics and traffic information systems), and the possibility of using the proceeds of road pricing for financing improvements in urban public transport. The Green Paper draws attention to the many instances of good practice which already exist in the field, such as developments in new or re-developed integrated bus stations, in passenger information technology, in new train systems or in metro railways. Mr. Kinnock welcomed the criteria for measuring excellence in the Citizens' Network including accessibility, intermodality, ease of use for those with reduced mobility, coverage of services, affordability, safety and security, staffing, travel convenience and environmental impact. As far as Commission support is concerned, the Community's research and development policies and funds have already helped, for example, in the successful development of low-floor buses that improve accessibility. In addition, the Commission is examining how to assist the first-time application of research results to ensure that worthwhile projects become a reality. A research project (ISOTOPE) has been set up, in the context of the Transport RTD programme, to identify precisely how organizational structures and contractual relations might be improved. Public passenger transport projects will continue to be supported by means of regional development and social funds and, with the use of the trans-European networks' budget, links which interconnect with local systems of public transport will be favoured. The Commission will also work to ensure that Community legislation takes full account of the benefits of public transport and of the impact that technical standards have on the use and operation of public transport. A Citizens' Network Forum will be convened in Brussels in June 1996 in order to enable participants to put forward their views on Community transport policy and the Green Paper. The initial consultation process on the Green Paper will run until the end of July and, taking into account the submissions made in the Forum, the Commission will propose follow-up actions.