Commission plans to support development of ‘smarter cities’

Under the European Commission’s leadership, a high-profile group of mayors and industry representatives has started to work towards making Europe’s cities ‘smarter’. Today, Vice Presidents Kallas and Kroes and Commissioner Oettinger hosted the first High Level meeting of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) “Smart Cities and Communities”.

The challenges that cities and communities face in the quest for sustainability and quality of life are increasingly significant. The EIP plans to support wide-scale deployment of innovative technologies in the areas of mobility management, energy generation, distribution and consumption, and information and communication technologies.

For instance, road congestion costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year, and traffic jams are mostly located in urban areas. The deployment of ICT to better manage the flow of urban traffic or to facilitate the use of public transport would alleviate the problem.

Another example is the construction sector, which has the highest energy consumption in the EU (about 40%), and is the main contributor to GHG emissions. Better ICT-enabled management could mean up to 15% energy consumption and 15% peak load savings, resulting in up to 20% CO2 reduction.

The EIP also aims at increasing the collaboration between local decision makers, industry suppliers, and community organisations. The Commission intends to play the role of catalyst in promoting partnerships whereby stakeholders commit on the basis of co-operative self-organisation.

In support of an EIP, the Commission uses all its instruments: policy leadership, innovation support, and regulatory measures. This autumn, the group will publish a Strategic Implementation Plan that will outline specific operational objectives and advise the Commission on an innovation agenda open to contributions from and participation of cities and communities all over the EU.

Source: European Commission


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