Background and Aim
To develop a comprehensive, strategic and practical approach to urban and regional transport/ accessibility in the North Sea Region in the context of climate change and declining oil supplies. After developing CO2 reduction strategies for transport (phase one), the project implemented short-term actions and calculated the potential of long-term actions as lighthouse/pilot actions. The project compared the process transnationally, with cities/regions sharing the hands-on knowledge and experience gained through their local projects to provide valuable input for framework setting at the European and national levels, thus bridging the gap between policy, research and practical application by end users.
While the North Sea Region deals with the effects of climate change, the traditional understanding of transport is leading to a continued increase in CO2 emissions, undermining other climate protection efforts. Concurrently, we are facing the impending limit of mineral oil supplies. The combination of these two factors demands a re-thinking of the concept of “transport” (building more road transport infrastructure) to a broader notion of “accessibility” (citizens’ ability to meet their daily social, health, personal and economic needs safely, comfortably and conveniently) as we start to adjust to a post-fossil mobility.
There is an urgent need for low-carbon accessibility strategies at the local and regional level and a comprehensive and strategic approach will reduce the economic and social vulnerability of regions when oil prices rise again.
But the theme of transport is a politically and economically sensitive one and requires pioneers to lead the way toward low-carbon accessibility. The North Sea Region has a huge potential for innovative transport strategies which could improve the economic performance of its regions and cities in a post-fossil economy (see Lisbon Agenda), but transnational collaboration is needed both in terms of building political support and momentum, as well as in concrete terms of establishing uniform standards and infrastructure across the region.