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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.”
—Transport 2050

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.”
—Transport 2050

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




That's the way to go, a global strategy for mobility, no more of individual only based development that lead to congestion, pollution and oil dependence. And setting ambitious goal is the way to tackle challenge because it will stimulate innovation.


There should be no problems going to hybrid only (or BEV) in cities by 2050 - that is 39 years away.

By then the hybrid premium should be very small, and the benefits in terms of local pollution (and fuel use) will be considerable.

Nonetheless, you have to be careful how you write the legislation or you may end up banning (or preventing the development of) some promising technology.

You need to specify the outcome you want (in terms of emissions and fuel consumption) and let the engineers achieve this in the most economical way possible (which may well be hybrid).


"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..."

Why's this sound a lot like... Karl Marx? And wouldn't it be easier to say, "more bus routes?"


One way to say it is fewer BTUs per passenger mile and fewer miles to do the same work, efficiency and changing the way we do things. Telecommuting could save lots of energy, but after all this time, few do it and it is not a national priority in the U.S.


Don't be such a Marxistphobe Reel. ;^)

One thing I like is Spain's high speed rail network. It already has more track than anyother EU country (and I believe, more track per capita than any in the world, but I could be wrong) and it is set to grow further. Taking into account routes planned or under construction, Spain would be in second place globally with 5,525 kilometers of high speed rail tracks, behind China the world leader with 13,134 kilometers but ahead of pioneer Japan with 3,625 kilometers. By 2020 Spain wants to have 90 percent of the population within 50 kilometers of a high-speed rail station.


A country has to make the investments all the way along over a longer period of time. The U.S. has the myth that we can swing for the fence, hit a home run and all is well. It does not happen instantly and if the country gets into a bind it is scramble time trying to get out.


Like most government rail projects - they do not break even. And China's rapid build out has resulted in widespread corruption (what's new?) and financial hardship for masses. Why? Because CCP has terminated low cost, low speed trains to force peasants to buy expensive tickets on HSR trains.

Come on! Even ai_vin knows that's not very... Marxist;(


But what's the alternative to rail - highways? Roads do not break even: Users don't buy a ticket to drive on them and gas taxes aren't high enough to pay even for maintaince. Roads are massively subsidized. The fact is ALL transportation is heavily subsidized: airports, air traffic control, train stations, train tracks, bus stations, marine ports, subways, buses, and roads all receive direct subsidies from federal, state and local governments. The real question is where you get the biggest bang for your buck and the answer to that is rail. Rail is cheaper to run, more efficient, easier to electrify, less stressful than driving and stations can be installed closer than airports. High speed trains are faster than cars over any trip that takes more than an hour and faster the air over trip that takes less than 6 when you include the time it takes to get to/through/from the airport.


So what happens if alternative fuels for ICEs develop which are cleaner and replace gasoline and diesel? Because it will happen.

What options exist for people who live in remote rural areas where they have their roots, but need their own transport to carry out their daily lives. The EV may not be good for that, and public transport? Completely useless.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for promoting walking and cycling, getting about by bus and so on, but these options will never be available to everybody. EVs may have a role but I suspect they will be limited to urban travel, which puts EVs in direct competition with public transport, and does nothing for the accessibility needs for people in remote areas where longer more occasional journeys are the norm compared to shorter frequent ones.

ICE vehicles powered by bio, synthetic, or microbial fuels, or perhaps hydrogen will be much cleaner, so there's not point in ruling out ICEs when they still will have a huge role to play in longer distance journeys.

Oh and before people think that everyone should move out of the country to the city, a lot of people have a belonging in the country ancestorally and play a vital role in agriculture and managing the land for the benefit of the environment - less of the ignorance please.


It only bans ICes in cities, not in the country.
So there wouldn't be a problem.


Remote rural areas in Europe are not like remote rural areas in the US. Their network of towns and transport started is development thousands of years ago, not a mere hundreds as in the US. As a result its hard to find a place there that isn't within a day's walking distance from a town of some sort.

In any case your concern is misguided. The article says "By 2050, key goals will include no more conventionally-fuelled cars—i.e., non-hybrid ICE—in cities;"

They are not going to outlaw ICEs, they only want them to be hybrids - and even then that only aplies to cars "in cities."



Oh and before people think that everyone should move out of the country to the city, a lot of people have a belonging in the country ancestorally and play a vital role in agriculture and managing the land for the benefit of the environment - less of the ignorance please.

You assume that family legacy is a good thing. In the new world passing of property or wealth from generation to generation is considered politically incorrect (even criminal.) Thus, ancestral ties must be severed, no wealth or property passed to younger generations, and you will learn to live in Metropolis - just as Fritz Lang predicted.


Reel, didn't you know? Our Marxist plan is to force everyone OUT OF the cities and onto the new collective farms where they can enjoy the benefits of honest labour. lol


You note they are very careful to note that rural and city needs are very different. We have to be careful to develope solutions to rural and yes suburban fuel needs and quick or else we may wind up paying 50 bucks for a happy meal before long.

Can you please mow my car

Great all this engine innovation but I ran into some real green cars. Thought it was so funny that I share it.

Found it on another web blog and credit where credit is due: Source of the article is The Write Future including some great pictures.

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