The European Commission yesterday (17 June) presented its vision for an integrated, technology-led and user-friendly sustainable transport system after 2010. But environmental NGOs complained that the vision failed to place sufficient emphasis on managing demand and neglected to put sustainability at the heart of future policies.
The Commission’s communication on sustainable transport comes after a number of external studies, evaluations of past policies and future scenarios and stakeholder consultations.
The document outlines a vision for the future of transport and mobility until 2020 and is expected to initiate debate on concrete policy options to be outlined in a White Paper next year.
“We have to have an integrated mode of transport covering the different modes of transport and facilitating the movement of people and goods within the EU,” said Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani.
While a major increase in population is not expected in Europe, ageing and increased urbanisation require specific measures regarding transport, he said.
According to the Commission, 84% of the EU’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, leading to increased congestion and environmental problems. “The big challenge for the future of transport is to know how to cope with cities,” Tajani said.
The main environmental challenge for transport is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Our transport still relies 97% on fossil fuels. So an important part of our strategy is to respect our 20-20-20 goals,” Tajani underlined. The aim is to have 20% of total EU energy consumption coming from renewables.
However, reaching these goals will not be possible without harnessing innovative technologies, the commissioner said, emphasising the need for further research into safer and more reliable vehicles fuelled with alternative energy.