European Commission outlines comprehensive Transport 2050 plan to increase mobility while cutting transport CO2 emissions 60%; phasing out conventionally-fueled (non-hybrid) cars in cities by 2050
The European Commission has adopted a comprehensive strategy (Transport 2050) for a transport system that it says will increase mobility, remove major barriers in key areas and fuel growth and employment. The proposals are also intended to reduce Europe’s dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050.
Achieving this will require a transformation in Europe’s current transport system, the white paper notes. By 2050, key goals will include no more conventionally-fuelled cars—i.e., non-hybrid ICE—in cities; 40% use of sustainable low carbon fuels in aviation; at least 40% cut in shipping emissions; and a 50% shift of medium-distance intercity passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and waterborne transport.
Transport 2050 is a roadmap for a competitive transport sector that increases mobility and cuts emissions. We can and we must do both. The widely held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true. Competitive transport systems are vital for Europe’s ability to compete in the world, for economic growth, job creation and for peoples’ everyday quality of life. Curbing mobility is not an option; neither is business as usual. We can break the transport system’s dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. It can be win–win.—Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport
|“Curbing mobility is not an option.”|
The Transport 2050 roadmap to a Single European Transport Area sets out to remove major barriers and bottlenecks in many key areas across the fields of transport infrastructure and investment, innovation and the internal market. The aim is to create a Single European Transport Area with more competition and a fully integrated transport network which links the different modes and allows for a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers and freight. To this purpose, the roadmap puts forward 40 initiatives for the next decade.
The Transport 2050 roadmap sets different goals for different types of journey: urban, intercity and long distance.
|“‘Growing out of oil’ will not be possible relying on a single technological solution. It requires a new concept of mobility, supported by a cluster of new technologies as well as more sustainable behaviour.”|
Clean urban transport and commuting. In cities, switching to cleaner transport is facilitated by the lower requirements for vehicle range and higher population density, the paper notes. Public transport choices are more widely available, as well as the option of walking and cycling. Transport 2050 forsees the gradual phasing out of conventionally-fuelled vehicles from the urban environment as making a major contribution to significant reduction of oil dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and local air and noise pollution. However, the paper notes, it will have to be complemented by the development of appropriate fuelling/charging infrastructure for new vehicles. Among the other aspects of urban mobility are:
A higher share of travel by collective transport, combined with minimum service obligations, will allow increasing the density and frequency of service, thereby generating a virtuous circle for public transport modes, while demand management and land-use planning can lower traffic volumes. Facilitating walking and cycling should become an integral part of urban mobility and infrastructure design.
Transport 2050 calls for encouraging the use of smaller, lighter and more specialized road passenger vehicles must be encouraged. Road pricing and the removal of distortions in taxation can also assist in encouraging the use of public transport and the gradual introduction of alternative propulsion.
The interface between long distance and last-mile freight transport should be organized more efficiently, the paper says. The aim is to limit individual deliveries, the most inefficient part of the journey, to the shortest possible route. The use of Intelligent Transport Systems contributes to real-time traffic management, reducing delivery times and congestion for last mile distribution. The use of electric, hydrogen and hybrid technologies would not only reduce air emissions, but also noise, allowing a greater portion of freight transport within the urban areas to take place at night time. This would ease the problem of road congestion during morning and afternoon peak hours.
Multimodal intercity travel and transport. In the intermediate distances, new technologies are less mature and modal choices are fewer than in the city, Transport 2050 notes, adding that this is where EU action can have the most immediate impact (fewer constraints from subsidiarity or international agreements).
More resource-efficient vehicles and cleaner fuels are unlikely to achieve on their own the necessary cuts in emissions and they would not solve the problem of congestion. They need to be accompanied by the consolidation of large volumes for transfers over long distances. This implies greater use of buses and coaches, rail and air transport for passengers and, for freight, multimodal solutions relying on waterborne and rail modes for long-hauls.—Transport 2050
Other elements of the intercity strategy include:
Freight shipments over short and medium distances (below some 300 km) will to a considerable extent remain on trucks. Improving truck efficiency, via the development and the uptake of new engines and cleaner fuels, the use of intelligent transport systems and further measures to enhance market mechanisms, is therefore important.
Efficient co-modality is needed. The EU needs specially developed freight corridors optimized in terms of energy use and emissions, minimizing environmental impacts, but also attractive for their reliability, limited congestion and low operating and administrative costs.
Considerable investment will be needed to expand or to upgrade the capacity of the rail network. New rolling stock with silent brakes and automatic couplings should gradually be introduced.
On the coasts, more and efficient entry points into European markets are needed, avoiding unnecessary traffic crossing Europe. Seaport development is vital to handle increased volumes of freight both by short sea shipping within the EU and with the rest of the world. Inland waterways, where unused potential exists, have to play an increasing role in particular in moving goods to the hinterland and in linking the European seas.
Long-distance travel and intercontinental freight. Improving the efficiency of aircraft and traffic management operations has to be pursued in the air sector. This will secure a competitive advantage on top of reducing emissions, the paper says. Airport capacity needs to be optimized and, where necessary, increased to face growing demand for travel to and from third countries and areas of Europe otherwise poorly connected, which could result in a more than doubling of EU air transport activities by 2050. In other cases, (high speed) rail should absorb much medium distance traffic. The EU aviation industry should become a frontrunner in the use of low-carbon fuels to reach the 2050 target.
In maritime, the need for a global level-playing field is equally pronounced. The EU should strive—in cooperation with IMO and other international organizations—for the universal application and enforcement of high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and working conditions, and for eliminating piracy. The environmental record of shipping can and must be improved by both technology and better fuels and operations: overall, the EU CO2 emissions from maritime transport should be cut by 40% (if feasible 50%) by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.—Transport 2050
The Transport 2050 roadmap to a Single European Transport Area (Links to white paper and supporting documents)