EU Commission’s vice president Siim Kallas at a speech the 05/09/2013 at the  City Climate Leadership Awards in London referred to EU’s congestion costs of nearly €100 billion, or 1% of the EU’s GDP. With a quarter of EU transport emissions coming from urban areas, EU  towns and cities should play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change.  Clean fuel is still held back by the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and lack of recharging and refuelling stations. To tackle this the EC proposed Member States to build a minimum infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas – as well as common EU standards for the equipment needed in the EU Clean Power for Transport Initiative.

He also announced that by the end of 2013, the EU’s new funding programme for research and innovation – Horizon 2020 – will allocated  € 7.7 billion for transport , a 50 % increase on the current budget. Urban transport, logistics, green vehicles and infrastructures will be priority areas for funding. The Commissioner  indicated that technology on its own is only “a small part of making a city “smart”  …and that it is “mostly a multi-disciplinary task of solving “soft” issues”. He also stressed to ensure that “innovation is deployed on the ground, by identifying and removing barriers that prevent full-scale implementation of innovative technologies”.

He explained that the  main aim of the EU Smart Cities initiative is to brins together people, business and organisations to integrate different aspects of innovative technology across the transport, energy and ICT sectors. A Strategic Implementation Plan should be ready for this in mid-October.