Supporting Joint Actions on sustainable urban accessibility and connectivity

The proposed ERA-NET Cofund action addresses specific challenges of sustainable urban accessibility and connectivity. Sustainable urban accessibility and connectivity is defined as the ease with which activities and opportunities may be reached in an urban transport system, with lower negative environmental impacts. Network connectivity reflects the directness of routes, using different modes to travel between points. It applies both for passenger and freight transport.

Providing accessibility and connectivity can boost economic and societal development, which is supported by much of the EU, national, regional and local transport policy (infrastructure investments, providing public transport).

Despite the high transport network densities in urban areas, there are still accessibility and connectivity challenges, sometimes specifically for various socio-economic groups. Some forms of mobility (especially road-based) raise issues with respect to local environment and space utilisation, encouraging policies aiming to reduce car-use but possibly affecting mobility for specific user groups. The interaction is complex and not always well understood.


The projects funded by the ERA-NET Cofund action especially address the potential impact and possibilities for deployment of new mobility services and initiatives by analysing behavioural responses and estimating effects on the various aspects of sustainability (i.e. the environment, economic development and people’s well-being), for both passenger and freight transport.

Proposals should pool the necessary financial resources from the participating national (or regional) research programs with a view to implementing a joint call for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding in this area.

Participation of legal entities from third countries, and/or regions, including those not automatically eligible for funding in accordance with General Annex A is encouraged in the joint call as well as in other joint activities including additional joint calls without EU co-funding. Participants from countries not listed in General Annex A are eligible for EU funding under this topic and may request a Union contribution (on the basis of the ERA-NET unit cost) only for the coordination costs of additional activities.

The aim of this ERA-NET Cofund is to launch a joint research and innovation call for proposals. The funded proposals should specifically address the interaction between socio-economic development and accessibility and connectivity with regards to any of the following topics and combinations of these topics:

  • Main reasons and drivers behind mobility behaviour (i.e. responses to new technologies and policies), taking into account various types of actors, and the intricate behavioural interactions;
  • Potential solutions (technological, social, economic, etc.) to increase accessibility and connectivity in low density areas and for disadvantaged groups in urban areas;
  • Potential variables supporting a shift towards more sustainable mobility behaviour to more sustainable modes (particularly ‘soft’/‘slow’/‘active’ modes) and alternatives for personal mobility. Possible behavioural rebound and compensational effects should be taken into account;
  • Possible contribution of improving accessibility and connectivity to socio-economic development in urban areas that are typically defined by their spatial concentration and proximity.
  • Assessment of the most effective strategies for improving connectivity, intermodality and systems integration in urban areas.
  • Assessment of how innovative mobility concepts and services developments could benefit or affect specific groups in urban areas, and possible consequences for them.

The proposal should demonstrate that these co-funded other activities exclude any overlaps with related on-going actions co-funded by the EU under Horizon 2020. Also, synergies should be achieved with other actions funded by Horizon2020, activities by the CIVITAS initiatives, the European Innovation Partnership in Smart Cities and communities and the EU Urban Agenda.

The project deliverables (e.g. surveys, user/ IT platforms, modelling tools, Apps and other project deliverables) generated by the Co-funded Action projects and the projects from the non-Co-funded Action need to be collected and curated at the programme level so that these can be readily used in future R&D projects. Therefore, the proposal should provide how (by clear tasks and deliverables) this will be carried out by the consortium.

In addition, the proposal should demonstrate and implement at programme level how the results from the Co-funded Action projects and the projects from the non-Co-funded Action will be collected and transferred to existing European urban mobility actions, notably the ELTIS database (e.g. all city case studies) and dissemination actions of the CIVITAS and European Innovation Partnership in Smart cities and communities.

A strong involvement of local, regional or national transport organisations (that are for example operators, managers or transport planners) is highly encouraged for all Co-funded Action projects and the projects from the non-Co-funded Action. This involvement will maximise the impacts of the project results on European, national, regional and local urban mobility policies, as well as to ensure dissemination of results and alignment of policies.

The proposal should provide a clear strategy about how existing initiatives, notably expert groups linked to CIVITAS (support action), will be involved in prioritising funding topics and in providing dissemination of project results.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The ERA-NET Co-fund action will bring about effective trans-national, pan-European research networking and synergies among national/regional and EU research programmes in sustainable urban accessibility and connectivity and in 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 ERA-NET Co-fund action should lead to a considerable number of funded projects in the above fields. 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.

This shall be achieved by delivering a set instruments, approaches and tools (notably SUMPs and SULPs) that can help cities, citizens, communities, businesses and institutions (including in less-developed parts of the EU) to use new developments to their full potential and to limit their possible adverse effects in urban mobility. Relevant impacts can be extended to peri-urban and rural-urban mobility flows.

In addition, this ERA-NET is expected to influence national strategies, build critical mass and lead to greater alignment of national policies in participating states, in particularly urban mobility, research and innovation in urban mobility.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • International cooperation
  • RRI
Application date
Social sciences : Information and Communication Sciences, Demography, Environmental Sciences, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Geography, Political science, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Sociology
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology