Transport White Paper Released

The Commission has announced a sizeable package of new policy initiatives in its Transport White Paper, which it finally presented to the public earlier this week. (In fact the Commission had already started work a while ago on the initiatives it has now announced, and therefore EU Issue Tracker has been monitoring each of these initiatives individually for some time already.)

Together, the expected future legislative proposals and policy papers are supposed to flesh out the Commission’s strategy of making the EU’s transport systems more competitive and integrated, with increased mobility and reduced emissions, by 2050.

The main broad requirements that will have to be met, and that the “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area” (as the Commission has dubbed the White Paper) is aimed at achieving, are cleaner transportation technology, alternative fuels, and infrastructural changes.

The White Paper sets out initiatives in 40 different areas necessary for the transformation in Europe's transport system with the aim to face challenges like reducing dependence on imported oil, cutting carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050, promoting energy efficiency, tackling congestion and improving the existing transport infrastructure.

The Roadmap is accompanied by a working document which describes in detail all the initiatives the Commission intends to come forward with in the next decade.

Three areas

The Transport 2050 Roadmap sets different goals for different types of transport segments:

Urban transport: 

A shift to cleaner cars and cleaner fuels.

Medium distances:

For intercity travel, 50% of all medium-distance passenger and freight transport should shift off the roads and onto rail and waterborne transport.

Long distance travel and intercontinental freight:

Air travel and ships will continue to dominate but new engines, fuels and traffic management systems will increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

Benchmarks for achieving the 60% GHG emission reduction target

The Commission has set ten goals to be achieved for a resource efficient transport system:

Developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems

1. Halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030 and phase them out in cities by 2050. Try to achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030.

2. Low-carbon sustainable fuels in aviation to reach 40% by 2050. Reduce EU CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by 40% (if feasible 50%) by 2050

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.

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. An EU-wide multimodal TEN-T (trans-European transport network) ‘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. All core seaports should be 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 in Europe by 2020 and completion of the European Common Aviation Area. Deployment of equivalent land and waterborne transport management systems. 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.

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.

Transport 2050: key measures

The Transport 2050 Roadmap foresees initiatives in over 40 areas of air, rail, road, maritime and inland waterway transport. Those key measures are expected to move forwards in the period 2011-2014 in order to introduce the necessary structural changes in the transport sector and build and integrated Single European Transport Area. Some of the key measures include: 

Overhaul of the regulatory framework for rail:

Need for a transformation in the rail sector so that it becomes more attractive and succeeds in carrying increased share of the market for passenger and freight over middle distances (more than 300 km) by 2050. The aim is also to triple the length of the current high-speed rail network by 2030. The Commission will bring forward a package of legislative initiatives for the rail sector in 2012-2013.

Develop core network of strategic infrastructure in order to create a Single European Transport Area.

The Commission will bring forward new proposals for a core European "multi-modal" network in 2011 with publication of trans-European transport network (TEN-T) guidelines, maps and financing proposals.

Create a fully functioning multi-modal transport system:

This would require removing bottlenecks and barriers in other parts of the network, namely with an airport package to improve the efficiency and capacity of airports (in 2011), a communication on inland waterway transport (in 2011) to remove barriers and improve efficiency inland waterways, as well as the e-maritime initiative (in 2011) for paperless and intelligent shipping — as part of the drive to create a real "Blue Belt" area, without barriers, for shipping.

Create a fair financial environment: a new approach to transport charges.

Transport charges must be restructured in the direction of a wider application of the "polluter pays" and "user pays" principle. Key measure for the coming years will include:  publication of guidelines for the application of infrastructure costs to passenger cars (2012), a proposal setting a framework for the internalisation of costs to all road vehicles to cover the costs of infrastructure as well as the social costs of congestion, CO2 local pollution, noise and accidents. Member States will be free to apply these charges, but those that decide to go ahead will be able to do so within a common EU framework.

European electronic tolling systems

A European electronic toll service for lorries will become available as from October 2012, and two years later for all kinds of vehicles, ensuring that drivers can pay different tolls for the use of motorways electronically and through a single service provider for the whole of Europe.

An EU Strategic Transport Technology Plan (2011):

An initiative aiming to regroup transport research and the effective deployment of new technologies to lower transport emissions. The EU will focus EU research efforts, introduce EU-wide deployment strategies and the right market conditions to facilitate the take-up of new cleaner vehicles in cities.

Produce clean, safe, quiet vehicles for all transport modes.

Key areas will include: alternative fuels, new materials, new propulsion systems and the IT and traffic management tools to manage and integrate complex transport systems.

Publication of a clean transport systems strategy... 2012, with more details on specific measures to incentivise and facilitate the introduction of clean vehicles and on developing EU wide standards for deployment of clean.

A three-part strategy for transport in cities.

Phase out conventionally fuelled cars in cities by 2050 – with a shift to electric cars, hydrogen cars, hybrid cars, to public transport, and to walking or cycling in cities. To facilitate the shift to cleaner transport in cities, the Commission will:
• Introduce procedures and financial assistance for urban mobility audits and urban mobility plans, on a voluntary basis. Examine the possibilities for regional and cohesion funds to be linked to cities and regions which have submitted urban mobility plans. 
• Bring forward proposals for an EU framework for urban road user charging and access restriction schemes, for the increasing number of Member States who want to use charging schemes to alleviate congestion and shift transport patterns in cities. This will ensure that the different schemes operate within a coherent EU-wide framework, and are non-discriminatory. 

For long-distance modes...

...where air travel and maritime transport will remain dominant, the focus will be to increase competitiveness and reduce emissions through:
• Modernisation of Europe's air traffic control system by 2020 and deliver a Single European Sky with shorter and safer air journeys and more capacity. The Single European Sky will deliver a 10% reduction in air journeys with a significant reduction in fuel used and emissions.
• Improvements in traffic management in order to improve efficiency and lower emissions in all transportation modes. That means the deployment of advanced land and waterborne transport management systems.

For maritime transport, the target of reducing emissions by at least 40% from bunker fuels can be met by operational measures, technical measures, including new vessel design, and low-carbon fuels.

A multi-modal travel planning and integrated ticketing:

The Single European Transport Area depends on effective and interoperable Europe-wide systems for multi-modal travel planning and integrated ticketing.

Next steps

The Commission has communicated the White Paper on Transport to the European Parliament and the Council. The institutions are expected to endorse the document and the list of proposed actions. 

The Commission will go forward with the various actions and measures indicated in the Roadmap and will prepare legislative proposals in the next decade.