Introducing the CIVITAS Initiative

CIVITAS is one of the flagship programmes helping the European Commission achieve its ambitious mobility and transport goals, and in turn those in the European Green Deal.

It does this by acting as a network of cities, for cities, dedicated to sustainable urban mobility. Through peer exchange, networking and training, CIVITAS fosters political commitment and boosts collective expertise, equipping cities to put mobility at the centre of decarbonisation.

Since its launch in 2002, CIVITAS has advanced research and innovation in sustainable urban mobility and enabled local authorities to develop, test and roll out measures via a range of projects. A series of ten thematic areas underpin these.

The need to shift to sustainable urban mobility is clear. Nearly 70% of EU citizens live in urban areas, where the effects of transport-produced greenhouse gas emissions – which account for a quarter of the EU’s total emissions – and noise pollution are felt most severely. These, alongside widespread congestion, are damaging quality of life and health.

CIVITAS supports cities to make smart and sustainable urban mobility a reality for all. In doing so, it is ensuring that mobility is a driving force behind the creation of climate-neutral and resilient cities. The CIVITAS Initiative is currently coordinated by CIVITAS MUSE.

Timeline of CIVITAS' six phases, spanning from 2002 to today

The CIVITAS Community

As well as its projects, the CIVITAS Community gathers actors united in their desire for sustainable and smart urban mobility.

They include the European Commission whose urban mobility framework CIVITAS applies at the local level. The Initiative is funded by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), with project implementation overseen by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA).

The Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) is a group of elected local politicians that acts as an advisory board to the CIVITAS community. It meets regularly with DG MOVE and provides a local perspective on EU mobility policy.

The CIVITAS National Networks (CIVINETs) act as CIVITAS ambassadors at the local level, overcoming language and contextual barriers for local authorities and organisations interested in sustainable urban mobility.

At its heart, CIVITAS is a network of and for cities. Over 330 local authorities are currently CIVITAS members. Membership is free of charge and open to all who sign the CIVITAS City Declaration.

The policy picture

Reflecting its importance, mobility is prominent in the European Green Deal, whilst urban mobility is central to the 2020 Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which has kick-started the phasing out of conventionally-fuelled vehicles in cities. Mobility and CIVITAS also have crucial roles to play in the EU's climate-neutral and smart cities mission, which will support 100 EU cities to become climate neutral by 2030.

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