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The Strategy – What needs to be done

By Marco Mazouzi, Marian Cihon, Pawel Warszyck

The White Paper on Transport’s third part outlines the strategy of what needs to be done in order to implement the vision. The strategy is composed of 4 parts:
1. A Single European Transport Area
2. Innovating for the future – technology and behaviour
3. Modern infrastructure, smart pricing and funding
4. The external dimension

  • A Single European Transport Area
    First of all, a framework for users and operators of transport has to be established to ensure new technology deployment and infrastructure development. This includes the removal of obstacles that hinder the implementation of a genuine Single European Transport Area allowing competition across modes and countries by creating and enforcing common rules, standards and rights (EC 2011: 10). In fact, “a Single European Transport Area should ease the movements of citizens and freight, reduce costs and enhance the sustainability of European transport” (EC 2011: 10). The strategy of a common transport area includes e.g. the Single European Sky for aviation, the Single European Railway Area for rail traffic and the “Blue Belt” for maritime transport to reduce formal complexity for the travel of ships between EU ports. The opening of markets must be promoted accompanied by creating quality jobs, common working conditions, security standards incorporating improved technology. Besides the need for a further consolidation of passenger rights, the EC points out that “quality, accessibility and reliability of transport services will gain increasing importance in the coming years, inter alia due to the ageing of the population” (EC 2011: 12).
  • Innovating for the future – technology and behaviour
    Second, to create a “modern, efficient and user-friendly system” (EC 2011: 12), another focus is set on research and innovation to apply most promising technologies, bring relevant actors together and support sustainable behaviour (EC 2011: 10). In fact, the transition from oil-based towards sustainable mobility requires different and innovative technologies and new mobility concepts including “new engines, materials and design; cleaner energy use through new fuels and propulsion systems; better use of network and safer and more secure operations through information and communication systems” (EC 2011: 12). Adequate research and innovation policy should therefore support development and deployment of key technologies including smart mobility systems. To encourage sustainable mobility, better planning through more available information is to be promoted. Also, “Smart inter-modal ticketing, with common EU standards that respect EU competition rules is vital” (EC 2011: 13). Another reference is made to planning in urban areas, since “Cities above a certain size should be encouraged to develop Urban Mobility Plans”, that are “fully aligned with Integrated Urban Development Plans” (EC 2011: 13).
  • Modern infrastructure, smart pricing and funding
    Infrastructural investments also need to be foreseen; an EU transport infrastructure policy with adequate resources and a common vision should be created (EC 2011: 10). In fact, a core network is needed that is composed of corridors across borders “carrying large and consolidated volumes of freight and passengers traffic with high efficiency and low emissions” (EC 2011: 13). To modernise and integrate national patchworks of traffic infrastructure, the EU has indeed set up the Trans European Transport Networks (TEN-T)–project with the ambition to create a core network by 2030 to help closing missing links across borders, reducing bottle necks and ensuring interoperability (EC 2014 b). While minimising environmental impact, the core network should also help to bridge the large infrastructural divergences between eastern and western EU parts. Helpful for the development will be the deployment of advanced technology including IT tools to simplify administration as well as refilling infrastructure for clean fuels (EC 2011: 14). Once established, the core network connections (CNC) “will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes that feed into it, regionally and nationally. Standards are set to ensure that trains, ships, planes, trucks and cars can use the infrastructure safely and without any technical problems” (EC 2014 b). In fact, the aim is, that “by 2050, the large majority of Europe’s citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes’ travel time from this extensive network. Apart from smoother and quicker journeys, it will provide safer and less-congested travel” (EC 2014 b).
    In reference to transport costs, it is noted in the White Paper on Transport from 2011 that they “should be reflected in its price in an undistorted way” (EC 2011: 10), i.e. the “‘polluter-pays’ and ‘userpays’ principle” (EC 2011: 14) should be widely adopted by internalising externalities, eliminating tax distortions and unjustified subsidies and allowing free and undistorted competition. The reduction of green-house gas (GHG) emissions is being done via “two main market-based instruments”: the taxation of energy and emission trading. Furthermore, “the cost of local externalities such as noise, air pollution and congestion could be internalised through charging for the use of infrastructure” (EC 2011: 14). The EC is therefore working on European guidelines for the internalisation of transport costs where each vehicle accounts for certain user charges that at least reflect the infrastructure’s maintenance costs and the pollution of air and noise (EC 2011: 14).
  • The external dimension
    Since transport has an international or even global dimension, also transport beyond EU borders is related to various challenges. For instance, as noted by the EC (2011: 15):
    “Opening up third country markets in transport services, products and investments continues to have high priority. Transport is therefore included in all our trade negotiations (WTO, regional and bilateral). Flexible strategies will be adopted to ensure the EU’s role as a standard setter in the transport field”.
    The EC is therefore promoting its policies, rules and standards within international organisations to ensure wider transport market access with “free and undistorted competition and environmentally sustainable solutions” (EC 2011: 15).