EuroTest's inspection of local public transport systems in 23 major European cities from Helsinki to Lisbon highlights that while most are not bad, from the best to the worst, all have components in need of improvement.
Local public transport plays an essential role in cities, the efficient transport of large numbers of people helps maintain traffic flows and reduces congestion. The availability of good public transport that is well connected contributes to economic and social cohesion as well as the well-being of the citizens. According to the European Union's Action Plan on Urban Mobility of September 2009, "nine out of ten EU citizens believe that the traffic situation in their area should be improved". In light of the growing number of people living in the cities and the serious concerns prevailing about future urban mobility and congestion problems, fixing these shortcomings is essential.
EuroTest, a consortium of 16 automobile clubs in 15 countries led by the German automobile club ADAC under the umbrella of the FIA European Bureau examined the quality of local public transport systems across Europe between October and December 2009. The aim was to discover what aspects of public transport irritate commuters the most while contributing to the collection of more comprehensive field data.
The City Dossiers compiled for each city tested provided details of relevant websites about the city transport systems, useful for travellers as well as a set of strengths and weaknesses each system offers. The aim is to facilitate exchanges of best practices between cities and thereby help them to improve their local public transport systems.
If motorists are to contribute to decoupling cities from congestion and pollution, they need efficient and viable local public transport. For those arriving from out of town, good local transport connected to parking on the city outskirts is a must. EuroTest's Park & Ride test published in January 2009 has already monitored park and ride provisions Europe wide. The FIA European Bureau believes that the results of both EuroTests provide a solid set of data for the responsible authorities showing that urban mobility management does not have to focus on charging and fining to keep people moving.