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Urban Accessibility and Connectivity

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EN-UAC (Urban Accessibility and Connectivity)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-03-31

Sustainable solutions for urban accessibility and connectivity call for integrated approaches, adopting latest technological solutions paired with the best insights in human travel behaviour and behaviour of logistics firms, embedded into innovative governance concepts – and all optimised to needs of all societal groups.
Addressing and tackling transport systems through the lens of accessibility and connectivity aims to facilitate the generation of synergies and approaches as well as influence towards alignment among national strategies and policies to target sustainability goals, the EN-UAC project reflects a joint response to these challenges.
These challenges in urban mobility are crucial to address in order for European societies to fulfil several international goals and visions on sustainable development and climate change. Regarding COP 21 and the Paris Agreement, the overall challenge provided by urban mobility and transport to climate action remains critical and actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change by national as well as city and regional levels requires support. As for UN Agenda 2030, accessiblity and connectivity play a vital role in working towards SDG 11, particularly 11.2 to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all and 11.6 to reduce the urban environmental impact. Importantly, the EN-UAC action hence lends support to the Urban Agenda for the EU and the actions foreseen by the strategic partnership on urban mobility.
The first Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of the JPI Urban Europe stressed urban accessibility and connectivity as a major challenge for economic competitiveness and citizen’s quality of life while reducing the environmental footprint of transport.
EN-UAC aims to create and consolidate a transnational innovation ecosystem for inter- and transdisciplinary research and innovation and enhanced science-policy cooperation to drive transitions towards such sustainable, inclusive models for urban accessibility and connectivity. This will be achieved by the following specific objectives:
•SO1: implement a series of joint calls for research and innovation projects that address city authorities’ needs, ensure stakeholder involvement and ensure that funded projects will be embedded into the wider JPI Urban Europe portfolio of projects;
•SO2: select and adapt the call instruments to support research-driven as well as challenge-driven/innovation approaches, offering cities, municipalities, mobility, transport and logistic service providers and all urban stakeholders opportunities to experiment and co-create the approaches and solutions;
•SO3: ensure monitoring of and interaction between funded projects in terms of individual project progress and mechanisms to embed the projects into the wider JPI Urban Europe programme;
•SO4: facilitate wider communication, dissemination and exploitation of results towards policy makers, urban practitioners and citizens to enhance impact of projects and EN-UAC activities in Europe and beyond;
•SO5: develop cooperation between JPI Urban Europe/EN-UAC actions and other EC funded actions like CIVITAS initiatives and ELTIS database;
•SO6: establish a community of research and practice to build capacities for transitions towards sustainable urban mobility, accessibility and connectivity and integrate other H2020, national and, if possible, international projects into this community, taking advantage of the existing JPI Urban Europe programme management and stakeholder involvement platform (AGORA);
In order to reach the objectives of EN-UAC, specific activities have been put into action between December 2019 and March 2021 in order to ensure a successful implementation and consisted in:
- Establishing the management structures and procedures needed to coordinate and steer the action;
- joining forces and pooling budget of 16 countries and 21 funding agencies (call budget about 22 million Euro) to make a transnational joint call and reach critical mass, with a geographically balanced consortium in terms of urban challenges (south, east, west, north of Europe);
- building on existing experience and applying well-proved project selection procedures to select co- creative, interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial projects by using competitive sub criteria for proposals selection, having reviewers from different fields, implementing a two-stage procedure for the co- funded call;
- establishing of monitoring activities to ensure contribution of transnational projects results to the overall EN-UAC ambitions;
- launching the preparatory work of additional calls, targeted to specific objectives (alignment of national research and innovation activities, cooperation with China...);
- communicating at the programme level about results for a portfolio of transnational funded projects;
- developing strategic cooperation schemes with other European urban mobility actions
These activities are still on-going and will still constitute the framework of the EN-UAC implementation.
EN-UAC intends to be a major trans-national, European R&I contribution to the urban accessibility and connectivity challenges and to respond to all the expected impacts listed in the H2020 call text:

- Bringing about effective trans-national, pan-European research networking and synergies among national/regional and EU research programmes in sustainable urban accessibility and connectivity

This impact is still intended and the actions already done so far are aligned with the fulfilment of this impact. The co-funded call has been implemented, three additional calls are planned with various targets between research and innovation. As expected, 15 projects have been selected for funding within the co-funded call. At this stage of the ERA-NET, we do not have any idea about the significance of the contribution in the fields of sustainable urban accessibility and connectivity. However, the projects have been selected in order to ensure the significance of this contribution. The co-funded call included a requirement for the projects to include a task dedicated to the translation of the results towards the practitioners.

- Increasing the evidence base for urban mobility policies at local, regional, national and European level, as well as global level through the involvement of Chinese organisations

The knowledge hub as well as the activities in the frame of WP7 aim at fulfilling this expected impact in a later stage during the ERA-NET. Additionally, the projects contact point as well as the communication and dissemination strategy will allow the impact creation from the projects results.
A joint call between members of the EN-UAC and NSFC is still planned despite the unforeseen events that delayed this action.

- The results of the funded projects are expected to make a clear contribution to the attainment of EU Transport Policy objectives (including TEN-T) and to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU transport sector

It is too soon to really assess the fulfilment of the corresponding expected impact since the projects are about to start or to position on the existence or absence of a deviation with the corresponding expected impact. We have started teaming-up with other European networks and initiatives, first during the co-funded call text preparation and further, with the coming events.
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