Efficient and effective urban transport can significantly contribute to achieving objectives in a wide range of policy domains for which the EU has an established competence. The success of policies and policy objectives that have been agreed at EU level, for example on the efficiency of the EU transport system, socio-economic objectives, energy dependency, or climate change, partly depends on actions taken by national, regional and local authorities. Mobility in urban areas is also an important facilitator for growth and employment and for sustainable development in the EU areas.
The European Commission's first policy proposals in the area of urban mobility, the "Citizens' Network", date back to 1995 and 1998. They resulted in the launch of a series of initiatives based upon a "best practice" approach.
Further to the mid-term review of the 2001 Transport White Paper 'European transport policy for 2010: time to decide' , the European Commission adopted the Green Paper "Towards a new culture for urban mobility" on 25 September 2007. This consultation document opened a broad debate on the key issues of urban mobility: free-flowing and greener towns and cities, smarter urban mobility and urban transport which is accessible, safe and secure for all European citizens. Based upon the results of the consultation, the European Commission adopted the Action Plan on urban mobility on 30 September 2009.
As a follow-up to the 2011 Transport White Paper 'Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area' , the European Commission came up in 2013 with an Urban Mobility Package that addressed initiatives 31, 32 and 33 of the White Paper. Initiative 31 called for establishing procedures and financial support mechanisms at the European level for preparing Urban Mobility Plans. Initiative 32 foresaw the development of a package for urban road user charging and access restriction schemes; while initiative 33 covered the production of best practice guidelines to better monitor and manage urban freight flows.