5 ways the EU Space Programme makes urban mobility more sustainable

20 September 2021
Today and tomorrow’s Intelligent Transport Systems rely on space data and services, including EU space.
Today and tomorrow’s Intelligent Transport Systems rely on space data and services, including EU space.

The 20th EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK is on! This year’s motto is ‘Safe and Healthy with Sustainable Mobility’ paying tribute to the hardships felt by Europe – and the world – throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Space is a significant booster in the development of new, intelligent mobility solutions as well as the monitoring of important urban infrastructures. 

The European Mobility Week is the European Commission’s flagship awareness-raising campaign on sustainable urban mobility, promoting new ways of living in favour of active mobility, public transport, and other clean, intelligent transport solutions. The benefits of space services and data for sustainability and smart mobility are currently under the spotlight as the Union is investing more on its EU Space Programme for the definition of its green and digital policies. Here are 5 ways the EU Space Programme is positively impacting sustainable mobility: 

1. Streamlining urban traffic

Transport is one of the main sources of air pollution, which is known to have direct effect on mortality as well as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The use of satellite navigation systems such as Galileo in vehicles can reduce journey times by more than 10%, and thus contribute to reducing emissions of harmful and polluting substances. Copernicus services can support emissions monitoring by validating the measurements from existing sensors and providing data from areas not covered otherwise. 

2. Contributing to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

ITS systems rely on positioning data, which has now become much more precise thanks to Galileo services. With the help of the EU’s GNSS, advanced implementation of Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is now becoming a reality for transport and mobility companies. The city of Madrid was among the first to integrate Galileo’s enhanced positioning services into its Transport System to improve public transport services in the Spanish capital. EU Space technology is becoming fundamental for the development of smart mobility solutions targeting the EU Green Deal.

3. Mobility infrastructure monitoring

Copernicus offers a broad range of products and services based on satellite optical data. Lidar images, can for instance, help urban planning authorities to identify changes in the terrain such as land subsidence or vegetation that could encroach rail tracks or power grids supplying the city with electricity. The combination of imagery from Copernicus with the very accurate positioning provided by Galileo allows for the monitoring of critical infrastructures tunnels, motorways and bridges.

4. Easing the flow of goods between EU cities during COVID-19

Developed by EUSPA in collaboration with the European Commission, the Galileo Green Lane app is a key tool in the EU’s COVID-19 pandemic response. By easing traffic flow through the EU’s borders, the app is helping to support a fundamental EU principle - the free movement of goods and freight in the internal market.

5. Faster emergency response on the road

As of April 2018, all new car models in the European Union are equipped with eCall technology. In the event of a serious accident, eCall automatically dials 112 - Europe's single emergency number - to provide faster assistance. Leveraging Galileo, the system sends the accurate position of the crashed vehicle and the direction of travel to the emergency services, enabling the emergency responders to get to the accident site faster. By speeding up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside, it is estimated that eCall could help prevent 2,500 road deaths and save EUR 26 billion every year.

Towns and cities worldwide are invited to participate in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, which takes place 16-22 September each year, check out the interactive map to see if your city is taking part. 

More info and registration here

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the EUSPA website (http://www.euspa.europa.eu).

Updated: May 16, 2023