EU Transport Policy - Overview

Transport policy is at the heart of EU integration and has been since the EU’s very beginnings. Today’s transport policy is advanced, and the vision for the future is sophisticated. The focus has shifted away from physically building a European infrastructure -- now largely complete --  to enhancing the transport users' experience so that European transport is fast, efficient, safe and green.
 
The building blocks for these aims have been laid down and the Commissioner for Transport Vice President Mr. Siim Kallas has set out several interlinked key areas where concrete action will be taken at European level. These are the themes that will dominate transport policy for the next 10 years:
• Technology
• Safety and Security
• Environment
• Enhanced Passenger Experience
• Intermodality
 
Here we provide a quick look at what the EU is doing or planning, concretely, in each of these areas.

Technology

The Commission views the EU as a worldwide leader in technology and thus transport policy is viewed as a  reflect ion of this position. The EU’s vision is to integrate technology into the everyday operations of all transport modes, at vehicular as well as infrastructural level. To this end, the Commission is planning a number of initiatives.
 
 Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) seek to integrate technology into all modes of transport for consumers and commercial enterprises and, will encompass a number of legislative packages in the coming years. Furthermore the Commission is developing initiatives such as the e-mobility package and the e-maritime that will place technology at the centre of road use and shipping practices, respectively.
 
Technological progress will also take the form of enhanced data collection and storage so that information can be shared with ease across all Member States. Technology will also be paired with innovation as the EU works to harness research as a means of solving technical transport issues.
 
To recap, here a few of the key policy initiatives that the Commission is preparing for the future (the complete listing is available from the EU Issue Tracker service):
• Continued legislative development of ITS
• E-mobility package
• E-maritime legislation
• Enhanced data collection and storage
• Research Programmes
 
Additionally, the EU institutions are in the process of shaping and adopting the following key current policy initiatives (among others – see EU Issue Tracker for the complete set):
• Package of legislative measures on the Single European  Sky II
• Regulation on the European Satellite Radio-Navigation programmes

Safety and Security

Precipitated by major accidents and acts of terrorism in the last decade, the EU is focused on improving safety and security of transport. Initiatives are planned across the whole of transport, with notable projects including legislation in the controversial area of airport body scanners and new methods of information transfer between countries on dangerous passengers. Port and maritime security is also high on the agenda with the increasing risks of piracy in EU waters.
 
In addition the EU has made a public commitment to halve road deaths in the EU by 2020. Thus legislation on road safety is inevitable and likely to increase as the deadline approaches.
 
To recap, here a few of the key policy initiatives that the Commission is preparing for the future (the complete listing is available from the EU Issue Tracker service):
• Legislation on airport body scanners
• Initiatives on information transfer on dangerous passengers
• Initiatives on port and maritime security
• Initiatives on road safety
 
Additionally, the EU institutions are in the process of shaping and adopting the following key current policy initiatives (among others – see EU Issue Tracker for the complete set):
• Regulation on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation
• Regulation on security in land freight transport
• Directive on the cross-border enforcement of road safety

Environment

Whilst transport is essential for society it is also a major contributor of greenhouse gases and harmful chemicals. The need to decarbonise transport is therefore seen by the EU to be of paramount importance. The EU’s 2020 strategy also requires that transport play its’ part in reducing emissions to build a sustainable economy.
 
The EU is planning to focus attention on cleaner fuel initiatives as well as proposing legislation to promote greener modes of transport such as shipping. As a result the Commission is working on the MARCO POLO programme which intends to shift freight transport to ships to create motorways of the sea.
 
To recap, here a few of the key policy initiatives that the Commission is preparing for the future (the complete listing is available from the EU Issue Tracker service):
• Cleaner fuel initiatives
• Initiatives to encourage the use of shipping
• MARCO POLO programme
 
Additionally, the EU institutions are in the process of shaping and adopting the following key current policy initiatives (among others – see EU Issue Tracker for the complete set):
• Eurovignette Revision
• Report on the transport of dangerous goods by road

Enhanced Passenger Experience

Transport policy has two main beneficiaries: consumers and businesses. The EU seeks to recognise the importance of both and in particular aims to afford passengers with greater rights and protection. The Commission will likely achieve this through legislation that will set out new obligations for businesses towards passengers, especially the disabled and those who have had their travel plans cancelled or delayed.
 
The EU will also propose legislation that will improve customer experience and comfort with increased centralisation of booking mechanisms. For example the planned initiative for integrated ticketing for passengers so that there is one website for the whole of Europe where tickets can be brought for a large number of different types of transport.
 
To recap, here a few of the key policy initiatives that the Commission is preparing for the future (the complete listing is available from the EU Issue Tracker service):
• Legislation on disabled passengers
• Legislation on passengers who are delayed
• Integrated ticketing
 
Additionally, the EU institutions are in the process of shaping and adopting the following key current policy initiatives (among others – see EU Issue Tracker for the complete set):
• Regulation on passenger rights when travelling by inland waterway or the sea
• Regulation on the rights of passengers when travelling by coach or bus
• Directive on aviation security charges

Inter-modality

Transiting with ease from one mode of transport to another is a central vision for EU transport policy. The EU has a strong desire to create a cohesive system where integration of different transport is seamless. 
 
This is especially import in urban transport, where a number of cities struggle to cope with the demand on infrastructure of certain transport modes. Thus the Commission intends to develop strategies and legislation to deal with this problem. The EU also wishes to promote the use of inland waterway transport and better connect waterways to the rest of the transport network; important legislation is expected in this area.
 
To recap, here a few of the key policy initiatives that the Commission is preparing for the future (the complete listing is available from the EU Issue Tracker service):
• Initiatives on urban transport
• Legislation on inland waterways
 
Additionally, the EU institutions are in the process of shaping and adopting the following key current policy initiatives (among others – see EU Issue Tracker for the complete set):
• Urban Transport Action Plan