As the European Commission launches its long-awaited EU Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, EU and national efforts to continue the transition to sustainable mobility will ensue. However, the green transition often overshadows and, at times, even comes at the expense of the most affected and vulnerable groups of society. The precarious, the elderly, people with disabilities and rural residents still face unfair conditions and access to mobility. Green alternatives are often scarce and far away, if they exist at all.
Sofía López Piqueres and Sara Viitanen (European Policy Centre) highlight the lack of inclusiveness in and the omittance of rural areas from European mobility systems and outline 11 recommendations which would ensure distributional justice, procedural justice and recognition justice.
The carrots and sticks that are used to incentivise people to adopt more sustainable mobility options must be carefully studied. Moreover, process matters. Achieving buy-in for the transition requires considering the varying needs of people and placing special focus on vulnerable groups with limited mobility options, who may end up carrying a disproportionate cost of the transition without seeing the immediate benefits. It is time to accelerate the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and society with mobility systems that are both environmentally friendly and socially just.