News & press


The EC’s vision for competitiveness and sustainability in the transport sector

By Marco Mazouzi, Marian Cihon, Pawel Warszyck

The White Paper’s second part outlines the vision on a competitive and sustainable transport sector. It is divided into 5 parts:

1. “Growing Transport and supporting mobility while reaching the 60% emission reduction target” (EC 2011: 5)
Since around 5% of the EU’s GDP and 10 million direct employments are accounted to the transport system, policy action has to be planned carefully taking into account market based mechanisms and coherence across the EU member states. A vision is to end the transport sector’s oil dependence by using energy more efficiently and from clean sources without restricting mobility.
Applying information technology for traffic information and management will also help to make transport easier, more efficient and reliable.
Action has to be undertaken quickly since Infrastructure planning, building and equipment, e.g. with vehicles, takes a lot of time - today’s decision shape the transport system in 2050. The EC describes that technological solutions are different per each of the three following segments:
- Urban transport
- Medium distance transport
- Long distances transport

In each of the segments, different actors will have different roles as written in the White Paper (EC 2011: 6):“The EU, Member States, regions, cities, but also industry, social partners and citizens will have their part to play”.

2. “An efficient core network for multimodal intercity travel and transport” (EC 2011: 6)
For medium and long distance transport the EC sees a need to establish a core transport network where large numbers of passengers and large volumes of freight can be consolidated and transported over longer distances more resource efficiently across different modes of road, rail and waterborne transport. To make multimodal choices possible, infrastructure of each subsystem needs to be linked, platforms of information, booking and payment “should facilitate multimodal travel” (EC 2011: 6) and passenger rights across modes need to be ensured.

3. “A global level-playing field for long-distance travel and intercontinental freight” (EC 2011: 7)
The EC intends to establish “a global level-playing field for long-distance travel and intercontinental freight” (EC 2011: 7), since it particularly sees the maritime and aviation sector as being global. For instance, the EC wants to strengthen the EU’s role as a global aviation hub and meet rising demand by optimising airport capacity and regulation as well as by using low-carbon fuels to minimise environmental impact. The maritime transport industry in the EU is to be supported by applying high standards of e.g. “safety, security, environmental protection and working conditions” (EC 2011: 8).

4. “Clean urban transport and commuting” (EC 2011: 8)
A quarter of CO2 emissions from transport are caused by urban transport. With lower range requirements and higher population density, urban areas provide more favourable conditions for a transition to cleaner transport then other segments such as long distance transport. In terms of safety, 69 % of accidents happen in urban areas. Better land-use planning and demand management shall reduce traffic volumes while also walking and cycling are to be facilitated more.
For a better environmental performance road passenger vehicles are to be made more energy efficient by creating e.g. smaller and lighter vehicles using alternative propulsion systems. Urban transport can thereby help to form “a test bed for new technologies and opportunity for early market deployment” (EC 2011: 8).

5. “Ten Goals for a competitive and resource efficient transport system: benchmarks for achieving the 60% GHG emission reduction target” (EC 2011: 9).
The ten goals for transitioning the transport sector cover the three broader areas of sustainable transport, performance of multimodal logistic chains and the efficiency of transport and of infrastructure. The individual goals as cited from the White Paper (EC 2011: 9) are as follows:

  1. Developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems
    Halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; phase them out in cities by 2050; achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030.
  2. Low-carbon sustainable fuels in aviation to reach 40% by 2050; also by 2050 reduce EU CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by 40% (if feasible 50%).
    Optimising the performance of multimodal logistic chains, including by making greater use of more energy-efficient modes
  3. 30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. To meet this goal will also require appropriate infrastructure to be developed.
  4. By 2050, complete a European high-speed rail network. Triple the length of the existing
    high-speed rail network by 2030 and maintain a dense railway network in all Member States. By 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail.
  5. A fully functional and EU-wide multimodal TEN-T ‘core network’ by 2030, with a high quality and capacity network by 2050 and a corresponding set of information services.
  6. By 2050, connect all core network airports to the rail network, preferably high-speed; ensure that all core seaports are sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway system.
    Increasing the efficiency of transport and of infrastructure use with information systems and market-based incentives
  7. Deployment of the modernised air traffic management infrastructure (SESAR1) in Europe by 2020 and completion of the European Common Aviation Area. Deployment of equivalent land and waterborne transport management systems (ERTMS2, ITS3, SSN4 and LRIT5, RIS6).
    Deployment of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (Galileo).
  8. By 2020, establish the framework for a European multimodal transport information, management and payment system.
  9. By 2050, move close to zero fatalities in road transport. In line with this goal, the EU aims at halving road casualties by 2020. Make sure that the EU is a world leader in safety and security of transport in all modes of transport.
  10. Move towards full application of “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles and private sector engagement to eliminate distortions, including harmful subsidies, generate revenues and ensure financing for future transport investments.