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EU Policy on Transport: The White Paper on Transport (2011)

By Marco Mazouzi, Marian Cihon, Pawel Warszyck

The White Paper on transport (EC 2011) “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” is currently one of the most important documents representing European policy on the future of transport with a time horizon until the
year 2050.
This document is divided into three parts:
- Preparing The European Transport Area for the Future
- A vision for a competitive and sustainable transport system
- The Strategy – what needs to be done
The White Paper’s first part outlines the current background of transport highlighting its importance.

for society and economy as well as major challenges. In fact, “to complete the internal market for transport”, as written in the document (EC 2011: 3), “a lot needs to be done” to overcome bottlenecks and barriers.
A main challenge is that transport is mostly dependent on oil covering 96% of its energy needs. This can cause, on the one hand, economical problems since it “will become scarcer in future decades, sourced increasingly from uncertain supplies” (EC 2011: 3). On the other hand, environmental concerns require significant action of reducing green-house gas (GHG) emissions in order to mitigate climate change and, at least, to keep the raise in temperature below 2° C. That means a GHG reduction of 60% or more has to be realised within the transport sector by 2050. Therefore, transport also needs to become more energy efficient and “new technologies for vehicles and traffic management will be key to lower transport emissions in the EU as in the rest of the world” (EC 2011: 4).
The White Paper (EC 2011: 4) depicts that “the race for sustainable mobility is a global one”. New technologies and infrastructure investment programmes have therefore to be applied at sufficient pace to stay competitive – also in order to minimise negative environmental impacts and maximise economic growth. An appropriate infrastructure will also help to reduce congestion and increase accessibility.
Despite successful implementation of various measures since the White Paper from 2001, a lot needs to be done to terminate a continuation of the current “business as usual” (EC 2011: 4) to significantly improve the issues of oil dependence, congestion, accessibility, safety and pollution.
The EC has therefore planned to build on lessons learned by looking “at developments in the transport sector, at its future challenges and at the policy initiatives that need to be considered” (EC 2011: 5).