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Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

In March 2011 the European Commission presented the White Paper "Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area", a series of 40 concrete initiatives for the next decade to build a competitive transport system that will preserve mobility, remove major barriers in key areas and fuel growth and employment. At the same time, the proposals will abate Europe's dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60 % by 2050.

ACT

Commission White Paper of 28 March 2011: “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” [COM (2011) 144 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

In this White Paper, the Commission sets out to remove major barriers and bottlenecks in many key areas across the fields of transport infrastructure and investment, innovation and the internal market. The aim is to create a Single European Transport Area with more competition and a fully integrated transport network which links the different modes and allows for a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers and freight. To this purpose, the roadmap puts forward 40 concrete initiatives for the next decade, explained in detail in the Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the White Paper.

The White Paper shows how we can achieve the transformation of our transport system, keeping our objective to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 % by 2050 through:

  • developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems;
  • optimising the performance of multimodal logistic chains, including by making greater use of more energy-efficient modes;
  • increasing the efficiency of transport and of infrastructure use with information systems (including SESAR and Galileo) and market-based incentives (such as the application of “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles).

It also sets ten goals to guide policy and measure our progress inter alia on:

  • phasing out conventionally fuelled cars and trucks from cities by 2050;
  • shifting 30 % of medium and long distance road freight to other modes by 2030;
  • using cars for less than half of middle distance travel by 2050; or
  • halving road traffic deaths by 2020 and achieving near-zero casualties in road transport by 2050.

In order to implement the above goals, a genuine single European transport area needs to be established by eliminating all existing barriers between modes and national systems, easing the process of integration and facilitating the emergence of multinational and multimodal operators. A single European transport area would facilitate the movement of EU citizens and freight, reduce costs and improve the sustainability of EU transport. A transformation of the current European transport system will only be possible through a combination of initiatives at all levels and covering all transport modes.

In air transport, the initiatives include the completion of the Single European Sky, the deployment of the future European air traffic management system (SESAR), as well as revising the Slot Regulation to make more efficient use of airport capacity. In rail transport, the initiatives include the development of a Single European Railway Area, opening the domestic rail passengers market to competition, and establishing an integrated approach to freight corridor management. In maritime transport, the European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers should be further developed into a “Blue Belt” of free maritime movement both in and around Europe, with waterborne transport being used to its full potential. In road transport, the initiatives include the review of the market situation of road freight transport as well as the degree of convergence on road user charges, social and safety legislation, transposition and enforcement of legislation in EU countries.

The Commission also proposes initiatives concerning e-Freight, the EU approach to jobs and working conditions across transport modes, security of cargo and land transport. Proposed initiatives also aim to improve the safety in all transport modes, including civil aviation safety and the transport of dangerous goods.

Innovation is also paramount to this strategy and the EU recognises the need to promote the development and use of new technologies. The Commission therefore proposes a regulatory framework for innovative transport, including:

  • appropriate standards for CO2 emissions of vehicles in all transport modes;
  • vehicle standards for noise emission levels;
  • public procurement strategies to ensure rapid up take of new technologies;
  • rules on the interoperability of charging infrastructure for clean vehicles;
  • guidelines and standards for refuelling infrastructures.

One of the White Paper's top priorities is to complete the trans-European transport network: TEN-T. This is essential for creating employment and economic growth because the network aims to provide a seamless chain linking all modes of transport – air, rail, road and sea.

Finally, to promote sustainable behaviour in EU transport, the White Paper puts forward the following initiatives:

  • promote awareness of alternative means of transport (walking, cycling, car sharing, park & ride, intelligent ticketing);
  • review and develop vehicle labelling for CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency;
  • encourage carbon footprint calculators, allowing better choices and easier marketing of cleaner transport solutions;
  • include eco-driving requirements in the future revisions of the driving licence directive;
  • consider reducing maximum speed limits of light commercial road vehicles, to decrease energy consumption and enhance road safety.
Last updated: 21.12.2011
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