Cities as climate-resilient, connected multimodal nodes for smart and clean mobility: new approaches towards demonstrating and testing innovative solutions

LC-MG-1-12-2020 (CSA Coordination and Support Action ; IA Innovation Action)

Europe's urban areas are struggling to develop themselves into well-connected multimodal and multi-usage nodes for smart and clean mobility. Multiple trends affect urban and inter-urban areas: urban growth, densification, digitalisation, increasing pressure from freight movements and a shift to a service-oriented economy. Moreover, many European cities and regions areas are committed to develop into zero-emission areas.

New technologies and innovative measures are emerging, but they are not taken up at a scale that is necessary to meet our climate targets and European transport policy objectives. In many instances, the responsible authorities (often operating at different governance levels) cooperate with public and private stakeholders. But the full integration and implementation of new solutions lags behind because little information, data and tested, innovative solutions are available on their effectiveness and on how to overcome the barriers to successful implementation into older legacy systems and ageing infrastructures.


This topic is divided in 3 sub-topics.

Innovation Action:

The first part of this topic invites for proposals that combine new technologies and non-technological innovations, more effective forms of governance, and accompanying (policy-based) measures for all modes of transport.

The proposed projects should be carried out by local/regional authority-led consortia, covering three different urban or inter-urban areas that have a connection with the TEN-T network[1] or an equivalent size, major transport corridor, each of them facing different spatial, social and/or economic challenges and/or experiences with the organisation of large/sport events.

Each urban area should establish a living laboratory where under real life-conditions a set of innovative, complementary and reinforcing scalable mobility solutions, centered around a principal solution can be developed, tested and implemented in an integrated, multimodal approach. The participating urban areas, which may have a geographical coverage that goes as far as the full functional urban area, should demonstrate their common interests and outline how they will ensure a meaningful and close cooperation. Proposals should outline how the proposed approach meets the needs of an efficient, flexible and accessible TEN-T[2] urban node or a city located at an equivalent sized transport corridor, which in turn delivers an optimal use of the transport network and the integration of cost-effective solutions for energy supply/storage (with use of renewable energy as much as possible) and recharging networks for transport, and ICT networks for all modes of transport. The work of relevant Horizon 2020-funded projects, such as VITALNODES[3], could provide a useful starting point.

Proposals should explain how the proposed work will support the public authorities' efforts to implement their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, in combination with urban (land) planning and development, and infrastructure planning and operations. Attention should be paid to issues related to vulnerable groups of citizens, gender issues and health impact of mobility. Actions may include research activities, and some preparatory, take up and replication actions, as well as the development of tools to support planning and policy making. Work may also include demonstration of a resilient urban mobility system, capable to address particular challenges in the organisation of large/sport events. Proposals are encouraged to incorporate new approaches to increase the availability and integration of data to support policymaking and business activities in smart, zero and low-emission mobility and to explore innovative ways of increasing the share of active modes of transport.

To capture impacts, the activities should include monitoring, for example, aspects such as modal share, energy intensity, level of emissions, impact on health, transport network performance (demand and supply) and connectivity through interoperability and multimodality. Projects are expected to collaborate with the established impact evaluation framework (using both clear baselines and measurable impact indicators), as well the dissemination and information exchange framework put in place in the field of urban mobility by the Commission.

Additionally, proposals should seek to establish financial and institutional/organisational cooperation models to enable seamless transport across the TEN-T urban node area or equivalent.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 7 to 9 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Typically, projects should have duration of 48 months and foresee sufficient time for evaluation, dissemination and exploitation activities.

Coordination and Support Action: fast-track and mainstream the replication of innovative, urban, peri-urban and rural mobility solutions

The second part of this topic is a Coordination and Support Action that aims to fast-track and mainstream the replication of innovative, tested urban, peri-urban and rural mobility solutions (e.g. technological, non-technological, services, goods and infrastructure). Proposals are expected to set up and run a 'Fast-track to innovative sustainable motorised and non-motorised mobility' action (working title – proposers are invited to choose an appealing title), which offers support and services to at least 20 cities and municipalities or their organisational/functional groupings. A 'staged approach' is possible – taking into account mobility, investment or geographical needs as well as delivering the project efficiently. At least one-third of these 20 locations should be located in areas experiencing rapid economic and social change.

The proposal should include all of the following actions:

  • Support for the development and towards implementation of innovative mobility solutions in 4 broad areas:
    1. Investments in and management of the transport network
    2. Supporting modal shift towards more energy-efficient, safer and active (whenever possible) modes for transport of freight and/or passengers
    3. New operating and business models in collective public and private transport (in any transport mode).
    4. Supporting mobility actions within the scope of the European Innovation Partnership in Smart cities and communities (or its successor working on smart cities).
  • Development and implementation of a programme of tailored actions to deliver capacity building and institutional networking by:

a. Supporting staff exchanges, expert visits, and short term training.

b. Supporting the identification and access to financial and legal expertise, to define the feasibility to replicate an innovative mobility solution and to develop an innovation deployment programme of scale, notably: meetings with (potential) investors, opportunities for follow-up investments and identification of synergies with European funding and financing.

c. Providing matchmaking services for innovative mobility solutions establishing the link between "suppliers" that may be both public and private organisations, or groupings thereof (such as Horizon2020 funded projects) and "customers" that are mainly public organisations (such as city councils, regional authorities, transport operators or their groupings).

d. The project should deliver a set of recommendations to bridge the gap in the research and innovation performance and the deployment of the innovative mobility solutions across EU Member States.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 1 to 1.5 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Coordination and Support Action: prepare for the deployment of Urban Air Mobility in urban and peri-urban areas

The integration of vertical urban mobility solutions (drones, and other forms of low-aerial mobility, as well as services) into existing surface multimodal transport (both freight and passenger) systems will add further complexity to the organisation of the urban and peri-urban transport and mobility services. It will require changes in public/shared transport management, logistics operations and infrastructure operations. With rapid technological progress in urban air mobility, especially local and regional public sector authorities are faced with challenges such as in financing, procuring, planning (infrastructure, systems), transport operations, safety, noise, security and public acceptance of these solutions.

The proposal should include all of the following actions:

a) To provide a knowledge base (dynamic updated, with a "brand") and to deliver a set of policy recommendations (in at least 8 languages – for use by local, regional, national and European public authorities, businesses and other organisations) for measures to (seamlessly) integrate the vertical and horizontal dimensions in urban and peri-urban mobility systems. These are notably:

  • Minimum required standards for products and processes in for ITS-type applications, urban planning (SUMPs), data-exchange, energy infrastructure, payments, environmental objectives, travel information and possibly other sectors such as building, construction, health care, retail etc.
  • Foresight deployment scenarios of up to 10 possible use cases in 5 to 15 years; public acceptance, governance, mobility systems, energy supply systems, infrastructure, investment opportunities, funding and financing needs, and land-use. An approach to set up these scenarios with wide consultation should be included in the proposal to ensure that social acceptance aspects are fully understood.
  • Tools for exchange and learning of urban air mobility with and to public authorities (notably local and regional), businesses civil society and research organisations.

b) To provide specific project development support and technical assistance for up to 10 deployment 'use cases' in locations (or groups thereof) with a demonstrated commitment from public and private organisations that are planning to start testing urban air mobility applications in the next 3 years. The type of support should as minimum include feasibility and market studies, programme and urban planning actions (for example procurement strategies).

This proposal should work closely together with the ongoing actions of the European Innovation Partnership in Smart cities (or its successor) and CIVITAS (or its successor) and possibly other networks with a strong participation of local and regional authorities.

The proposal should propose actions for cooperation with EASA, the SESAR Joint Undertaking, EUROCONTROL and the European U-Space Demonstrator network to ensure that project results are fed into developments in the institutional, regulatory and architectural frameworks for a competitive U-space services market.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 1 to 1.5 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact


For the Innovation Action:

Projects should act as European demonstration-type ("lighthouse")[4] examples for integrating new scalable technologies and measures into city transport operations and existing transport infrastructures at real-life scale in order to achieve long-term decarbonisation impacts; reliable solutions for a more sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility system, including for the secure mobility of people and freight during major/sport events; clear improvements of the efficiency and accessibility of the transport networks/systems covering the TEN-T urban nodes or equivalent, and their access to the relevant TEN-T corridor(s) or equivalent transport corridors for transport of freight and/or passengers. Positive long term impacts on social cohesion, economic development and public perception – resulting in behavioural change and policy change - are anticipated.

Projects will contribute to the development of the existing European knowledge base on the effectiveness and impacts resulting from the implementation of innovative mobility solutions.

Clear commitments and contributions to Europe-wide take up during and beyond the project are expected, which could for example be in the form of follow-up actions funded by CEF or similar programmes.

This topic complements CEF-funded activities.

For the Coordination and Support Action: fast-track and mainstream the replication of innovative, urban, peri-urban and rural mobility solutions.

The following three main impacts are foreseen:

Firstly, proposals are expected to demonstrate how their activities will lead to fast-tracking and mainstreaming the replication of innovative, urban, peri-urban and rural mobility solutions. Proposals should as a minimum requirement provide; the expected number of people involved in the activities that will be undertaken in at least 20 cities/municipalities addressed by the project, information as to how their capacity will be improved to develop urban mobility and investment plans for deployment of innovative transport solutions. Secondly, the CSA is expected to lead to new research and innovation collaborations in sustainable urban mobility between organisations (public/ private), especially those located in countries that are more advanced and those located in countries lagging behind in the deployment of urban mobility innovations.

For the Coordination and Support Action: prepare for the deployment of Urban Air Mobility in urban and peri-urban areas

This action is expected to address the Amsterdam Drone Declaration[5] which "called upon urban transport actors, policy makers and associations to pioneer cases demonstrating which systems, solutions and services seamlessly integrate smart multimodal solutions" and which "invited cities and regions to co-create with the citizens the public conditions and the infrastructure for integrated air and ground smart mobility solutions to flourish, where new and clean technologies, big data, real-time information and corresponding business models converge towards the enablement and realisation of “mobility as a service”.

The expected impact of this CSA project is to provide especially cities and regions with better planning tools and knowledge to integrate new applications of urban air mobility in their passenger and freight systems. This topic complements topic 'MG-3-6-2020: Towards sustainable urban air mobility'.

Cross-cutting Priorities

Socio-economic science and humanities


[2]See Core Network, according to Article 33 a) to d) of the TEN-T Guidelines


[4]Lighthouse = large demonstration city for testing innovations in (mainly) legacy systems


Date de candidature
48 months
Sciences sociales : Sciences de l'information et de la communication, Démographie, Economie, Sciences environnementales, Géographie, Droit, Science politique, Psychologie et sciences cognitives, Sociologie
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie
Autres : Informatique, Physique, mathématiques et ingénierie