Photo: Paulo Fridman/Corbis

About Change Processes

The VREF Financing Urban Access Initiative

The Financing Urban Access Initiative (FUA) was launched by VREF to stimulate a re-evaluation of how urban transport is governed, assessed and financed. The time is ripe for new approaches and models that establish access as the end goal. If access is a true goal and mobility, travel speed and time saving merely means, how can we re-orient financial models for urban transportation? Focusing on socially-inclusive access – access for all – will require innovative sources of finance but will deliver benefits far more widely than traditional models.

This FUA Initiative began in 2012 with an international workshop convened by VREF in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation at their Bellagio Center. The workshop studies were published in the first FUA volume "Urban Access for the 21st Century: Finance and governance models for transport infrastructure" (Earthscan, 2014). A second FUA volume has recently been published "Improving Urban Access – New approaches to funding transport investment" (Earthscan, 2016). Both volumes have been edited by Elliott Sclar, Måns Lönnroth and Christian Wolmar, and include contributions from many international authors.

Based on a Road Map for the FUA Initiative, VREF launched a call for proposals for a long-term project, which resulted in the Moving to Access (MTA) project (2015-2020), hosted by the Brookings Institution, co-led by Robert Puentes (2015-2016), Jeff Gutman and Adie Tomer.

October 2019
Upcoming Events
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The current Call is mainly directed to sub-Saharan university-based researchers with expertise on sustainable and equitable mobility and access in sub-Saharan African cities, and/or previously engaged in transport-related research, and strongly interested in carrying out interdisciplinary research on issues related to sustainable and equitable mobility and access,

Call open until 2019-10-15


The VREF invites PhD students and researchers in early stages of their career to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

Invitation open until 2019-10-31

Blog! Blog! Blog!

Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

Each year the Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research awards a scholarship to a prominent researcher.


About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas

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