The Commission’s updated Europe’s transport policy seeks to improve citizens’ mobility and boost competitiveness, while keeping down energy consumption and reducing the negative impacts on the environment.
• Decoupling transport growth from its negative effects: While the 2001 White Paper cited “breaking the link between economic growth and transport growth” as its main objective, no reference to curbing transport demand is made in the revised paper, which instead stresses the need to disconnect mobility from its negative consequences.
• The ‘modal shift’: The priority of the initial paper was to shift the balance between modes of transport by 2010 by curbing the demand for road transport via pricing mechanisms and revitalising alternative transport modes such as railways, maritime and inland waterway transport. Although the Commission maintains that this remains a priority, the focus appears to be shifting towards ‘co-modality’, or the optimised use of all modes of transport. Co-modality can be achieved by facilitating the passage from one transport mode to another via the harmonisation of standards between road, sea, rail and river and the integration of the various transport modes into efficient logistics chains. This will be the aim of a Commission logistics action plan to be adopted in 2007.
• Energy Efficiency: Transport is responsible for 71% of oil consumption and for 26% of CO2 emissions. In order to reduce Europe’s dependency on oil and make transport more sustainable, the commission will present a strategic technology plan for energy use in transport in 2007 and will launch a programme on ‘green-powered vehicles’ in 2009.
• Intelligent Transport Systems: the use of new technologies in all transport modes will cut costs, boost energy efficiency and improve security by providing new services to citizens, such as real-time management of traffic flows and tracking possibilities.
• Urban transport: mobility in urban areas is an everyday problem for Europe’s citizens. In order to encourage local authorities to better tackle congestion, pollution and accidents, the Commission will launch a Green Paper on Urban Transport in 2007.
• Smart charging: By 10 June 2008, the Commission will present a model for infrastructure charging based on the assessment of all external costs accompanied by an impact analysis of the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport.