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.

September 2021
Upcoming Events
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VREF invites applications for research grants to support
projects to be implemented 2022 under the programme for “Mobility & Access in African Cities”.

Deadline: 15 September 2021

MOBILITY GRANT 2021- MAC-MG 2021PDF (pdf, 443.4 kB)

The VREF invites PhD students and advanced master students from Sub-Saharan African (SSA) universities to apply for a Mobility Grant (MG) to support a visit to another SSA university with up to SEK 25 000.


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.

CALL FOR NOMINATION FOR the Håkan Frisinger Award for Excellence in Transportation Research

The VREF invites universities located in Sweden to nominate candidates for The Håkan Frisinger Award (Håkan Frisingers pris till framstående transportforskare) and apply for a VREF Visiting Researcher Grant for the nominated candidate.

Closed on 2021-03-15.

Read more...PDF (pdf, 233.8 kB)

Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarships for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency targets supporting the momentum of Lee Schipper’s contribution to the international policy dialogue in these fields.

This yearly award is aimed at supporting young individual researchers and students in is pursuance.

Call deadline: March 1, 2021 .


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.

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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