Transport Brief

The Transport Brief, powered by Neste – Overpromising and underdelivering on EU transport infrastructure

Transport 30-11-2021

When it comes to overpromising and underdelivering, EU politicians are no exception. A new report by the European Court of Auditors found that the EU’s strategic transport objectives are "overly ambitious and not always matched by real results".

Transport 23-11-2021

The Transport Brief, powered by SESAR JU – The electric car problem

Electric cars don’t produce tail-pipe emissions, and how quick they are to recoup the emissions expended in the manufacturing process depends on the type of electricity that is being used to charge them. However, there are serious problems with cars that go beyond their fuel source.
Transport 16-11-2021

The Transport Brief, powered by SESAR JU – Good COP, Bad COP

Some decry COP26 as a failure, while others see the summit as worth celebrating. The Glasgow-based conference's approach to transport, which put a heavy emphasis on electric vehicles, also has its detractors and supporters.
Transport 09-11-2021

US opens to (vaccinated) European tourists

As of 8 November, restrictions on travelling to the USA are lifted on 33 countries, including the 26 countries of the Schengen zone, Ireland, and the UK. The news is not only positive for those separated by the Atlantic - the rollback of restrictions represents a major boost to the aviation industry.
Transport 02-11-2021

Thugs on a train

In Ireland, the National Bus and Rail Union are this week considering whether to call for work stoppages in protest against “anti-social behaviour and downright thuggery which has now gone well beyond a tipping point”.
Transport 26-10-2021

The world’s most valuable carmaker

In case it wasn’t clear already that the future of the automotive industry is electric, the latest news from the financial markets should dispel any doubt. Tesla, arguably the world’s preeminent electric vehicle company, is now valued at over $1 trillion.
Transport 19-10-2021

The last flight (l’ultimo volo)

Alitalia took its final flight last week, a short journey from the island of Sardinia to Rome. It was a muted end to an airline that exemplified Italian style - with uniforms designed by Giorgio Armani no-less - before drowning in an economic quagmire (largely of its own making).
Transport 12-10-2021

Making Europeans

The European Commission has announced it will give 60,000 young people interrail passes - will free train travel across the continent foster a generation of committed Europeans?
Transport 05-10-2021

Europe’s net-zero flying pledge goes global

Could flying one day be as eco-friendly as taking the train? The airline industry thinks so. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that global airlines will commit to achieving net zero flying by the middle of the century.
Transport 28-09-2021

A neighbour in need: petrol crisis rocks the UK

The United Kingdom’s fuel crisis, complete with scenes of panicked motorists queuing at petrol pumps, has led to an oversupply of Schadenfreude in much of the EU.
Transport 21-09-2021

Another battle in the “War on Cars” plays out in the streets

Moves to promote sustainable urban mobility are often seen as evidence of an assault on motorists' right to drive. But if there is a war against cars, events like car-free day may well see enlistment numbers swell.
Transport 14-09-2021

Automation takes to the skies

It’s a well-worn narrative - taxi drivers will soon see their numbers decimated by the rise of self-driving cars. But while cabbies may lament the rise of the robots, what about airline pilots?
Transport 07-09-2021

The cycling elite – coming for your cars?

Somehow bicycles, which are relatively cheap and cost virtually nothing to run, have come to symbolise an eco-conscious elite, while cars, which are expensive and cost a lot to run, are seen as the choice of the people.
Transport 31-08-2021

Putting a price on flight shame

Those who travelled by plane over the summer break doubtlessly found that the airport experience – testing at the best of times – had an added soupçon of complexity, as EU countries sought to shield themselves against the still rampant virus with a wall of bureaucracy.
Transport 27-07-2021

Billionaires in space

For decades, those who dared venture beyond the realm of Earth held a romantic position in our minds – men and women that combined great knowledge with great courage. Today, however, the great mystery of space is commodified. We’re well on our way to space becoming a playground for billionaires. The final frontier is just another bucket list item for the rich.
Transport 20-07-2021

Fit for 55: EU sets clock ticking on fossil and diesel engines

Following months of fevered speculation (and equally fevered lobbying), the Fit for 55 climate laws package was unveiled last Wednesday (14 July). In today’s Transport Brief we’ll take a look at what the Fit for 55 plan means for three key sectors: road transport, aviation, and maritime.
Transport 13-07-2021

Limbering up for Fit for 55

For those in the orbit of the EU institutions – lobbyists, journalists, policy wonks, activists – the suspense is almost unbearable. Wednesday (14 July) will see the European Commission unveil the so-called “Fit for 55” package: more than a dozen pieces of legislation that aim to ensure the bloc reduces emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
Transport 06-07-2021

Sky no longer the limit for aviation taxes

The European Commission is set to do the previously unthinkable – tax aviation jet fuel. Reversing a long-standing policy, the EU executive will apply an EU-wide minimum tax rate on fossil-based kerosene for flights travelling within the bloc.
Transport 29-06-2021

Auf Wiedersehen to the combustion engine

In less than 15 years, Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, will stop selling internal combustion engine vehicles in Europe. There’s no doubt that the move is spurred partly by EU regulations, which have forced manufacturers to produce cleaner vehicles, often amid industry protest.
Transport 22-06-2021

Europe looks to recharge its automotive manufacturing supremacy

The shining jewel in the crown of European manufacturing is arguably the automotive sector. But while the continent is king of the internal combustion engine, it is not the leader in battery manufacturing. In fact, Europe lags behind China, Japan, and South Korea when it comes to electric battery output.
Transport 15-06-2021

Green on the outside only

The climate crisis and LGBTQ+ pride month have something in common – they’re both an opportunity for large companies to performatively demonstrate their values. But values that must contend with profits are fluid, more a river with divergent streams than an immovable mountain.
Transport 08-06-2021

Chaos looms as travel resumption edges closer

It seems foolhardy to say it louder than a whisper, but there are reasons for optimism: slowly but surely, COVID - within the EU at least - is receding. Mass inoculation is having an effect and for many Europeans the tantalising prospect of cross-border travel is once again on the horizon.
Transport 01-06-2021

Embattled aviation sector faces Belarus fallout

These are trying times for the aviation sector. The list of challenges facing the industry seems to grow weekly. But the most immediate challenge is the geopolitical tension caused by the Belarus incident, which continues to reverberate.
Transport 25-05-2021

Unfriendly skies

The details are astonishing - an EU-flagged passenger plane travelling from Athens to Vilnius is told that a bomb is onboard whilst flying over Belarus, supposedly planted by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in revenge for EU support of Israel.
Transport 18-05-2021

Putting a price on road emissions could come with a cost

In theory, hiking taxes are a simple way to compel behaviour change, a tried-and-tested model that follows the economic laws of elasticity and consumer demand. Tax cigarettes and smoking becomes less attractive. Tax alcohol and people will drink less. But tax petrol and diesel and rather than seeing motorists reborn as Lycra-clad cyclists, you may get a violent reaction.