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Designing inclusive, safe, affordable and sustainable urban mobility

The European Union is facing a multitude of interconnected demographic, public health and environmental challenges: the climate is changing, road deaths are stagnating, urbanization is increasing, air quality standards are still breached in over 100 cities, obesity is rising and the population is ageing.

But there is an increasing recognition at local, national and EU level that boosting the levels of active mobility, particularly walking and cycling, can play an important role in overcoming many of these challenges. Such a policy will also have economic benefits. Based on conservative estimates, even current levels of cycling in the EU produce benefits valued at around 150 billion euros per year[[European Cyclist Federation, The benefits of cycling, http://bit.ly/36L0zV0]].

During the Covid-19 pandemic, larger cities in Europe announced infrastructure changes to promote cycling and walking. For instance, they temporarily widened or created new cycle lanes to allow safe overtaking with physical distancing limits in mind while also implementing more 30km/h limits or 20km/h zones. The scope of this action is to support local authorities in accelerating mobility changes and address a significant concern, namely that people returning to work after the lockdown will seek out alternatives so that allocating public space, bicycles, pedestrians and public transport and reducing the space available for cars will encourage people to cycle, walk or use public transport rather than take the car.

Taking into account where possible the Sustainable Urban Mobility Indicators[[https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-themes/clean-transport-urban-transport/sumi_en]], projects should collect data on differences between patterns, behaviours and habits in relation to the mobility of various categories of vulnerable road users. Such data should where possible, be integrated with cross-domain data, to ensure interdependencies and co-benefits are identified. Projects should identify specific mobility needs and public space re-design needs, taking into account actual and perceived safety and security of women, children and accessibility for people with disabilities e.g. blind people in shared spaces, people in prams, wheelchairs and other supporting vehicles. Measures should be taken to implement necessary changes within the timeline of the project.

In addition, projects should also provide clear guidance to cities and Member States and Associated Countries on how to systematically incorporate the vulnerable road users dimension into infrastructure planning, including aspects of safety and security, accessibility, digital and smart tools for enforcing speed limits and vehicle access, design and operation or services and public spaces, including mobility hubs, public transport and shared mobility.

The projects associated to this call topic should envisage cooperation with the SUMP coordination platform, ELTIS[[ https://www.eltis.org/]] and produce thematic a comprehensive topic guides stemming from the projects and accompanying the SUMP guidelines.

Projects should also take stock of lessons learnt during the period of imposition and lifting of Covid-related restrictions and propose suitable solutions for the future when it comes to resilience, safety and accessibility of public infrastructure.

A thorough evaluation, with a clear baseline in each city, should provide qualitative and quantitative information on the results of the local solutions implemented. The effectiveness of the proposed measures in achieving local policy objectives on safety, security and accessibility as well as on climate and pollution should be evaluated and the possible barriers to their broad take up and deployment identified, together with recommendations on how to overcome them. This should be accompanied by mechanisms for common lesson drawing and learning, within the project, between the projects funded under this topic and through the CIVITAS Initiative.

Proposals must plan for an active collaboration amongst the projects selected under this topic - for dissemination, evaluation and coordination - facilitated by and within the CIVITAS initiative through the signature of collaboration agreement. Proposals should ensure that appropriate provisions for activities and resources aimed at enforcing this collaboration are included in the work-plan of the proposal. Detailed description of the specific activities and common actions that will be undertaken is not required at proposal stage and can be further defined during the grant agreement phase. Collaboration with the Mission Platform (HORIZON-MISS-2021-CIT-02-03) is essential and should take place through the CIVITAS initiative. The latter should establish, through a Memorandum of Understanding, clear links with the Mission portfolio for synergies and complementarities.

Proposals may include preparatory, take up and replication actions, research activities, as well as tools to support local planning and policy making. At the same time, projects would be expected to share their results and good practice with the upcoming European Urban Initiative of Cohesion Policy, the Urban Agenda for the EU and relevant smart specialisation partnerships e.g. the Safe and Sustainable Mobility Partnership or EIT Urban Mobility with its objectives to deploying user‐centric, integrated eco‐efficient and safe mobility solutions in urban areas.