Members' Research Service By / December 19, 2016

European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility

Written by Balazs Hopp, In 2014 the EU agreed to a clear commitment : to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of…

© Fotolia

Written by Balazs Hopp,

European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility
© Fotolia

In 2014 the EU agreed to a clear commitment : to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels across all sectors of the economy. As transport is responsible for 33% of final energy consumption and 23% of total EU emissions, the transition to low-emission mobility is essential to reach the EU’s ambitious climate objectives and to improve the quality of life in our cities.

To set clear and fair guiding principles to Member States to prepare for their future climate actions, on 20 July 2016 the European Commission decided on a package of measures to reduce emissions in the sectors transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry.

The Package consists of four elements:

  • An overarching message “Accelerating Europe’s transition to a low carbon economy” [ COM(2016) 500 ]
  • A legislative proposal on binding annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 [ COM(2016) 482 ] (the Effort Sharing Proposal)
  • A legislative proposal on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change into the 2030 climate and energy framework [ COM(2016) 479 ]
  • A European Strategy for Low – Emission Mobility [ COM(2016) 501 ].

The Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility includes the following main points:

  • Increasing the efficiency of the transport system (digitalisation, road pricing, e-toll systems, multimodality)
  • Speeding up the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport (low emission alternative fuels, second generation biofuels, charging infrastructure)
  • Moving towards zero-emission vehicles (common standards for electromobility, stricter emission standards, emission measuring systems).

This Keysource focuses on the Strategy itself, and contains:- Overviews on the Strategy; – Analysis on the main thematic points of the Strategy; – Stakeholder views (EU Instititutions and NGOs positions);- Statistical publications with focus on enviromental impact of transport.


A European Strategy for low-emission mobility / European Commission (EC), Fact Sheet, 2016

Towards Low-Emission Mobility – Driving the Modernisation of the EU Economy / European Political Strategy Centre, 2016, 7 p.


Digitalisation, road charges, e-toll systems

Study on the Deployment of C-ITS in Europe: Final Report / Ricardo Energy & Environment for EC, 2016, 218 p.
“In recognition of the high potential of С-ITS, the Commission has taken the initiative to develop a strategy on the deployment of С-ITS. This study supports the development of this strategy, principally by carrying out an analysis of the costs and benefits that different deployment scenarios could deliver.” p 7.

Key Performance Indicators for Intelligent Transport Systems – Final Report / AECOM for EC, 2015, 185 p.
“This study was commissioned by DG MOVE to establish a set of common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for road transport Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), with supporting guidance on their application, presentation and reporting.” [from the executive summary]

Road charges for private vehicles in the EU / European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), 2016, 8 p.
“Charging for road infrastructure is an option to implement basic principles of EU policy such as the ‘user-pays principle’ or the ‘polluter-pays principle’. It can serve different functions such as financing, managing traffic flow or making all costs perceptible so as to influence the behaviour of road users.” [from the summary]

Collection and Analysis of Data on the Structure of Road Haulage Sector of the EU / AECOM for EC, 2014, 216 p.
See in particular: Road user charging, p 112-121.
“Although an increasing number of Member States are putting in place road user charging systems, there is a clear and recognised problem with the diversity of current road user charging systems in place. The lack of interoperability between systems and differences in charging principles cause increased burdens for hauliers and administrators and represent a clear barrier to what could be described as a harmonised road charging system. However, a distance based charging system is generally accepted as an ideal solution in the long term.“ [from the executive summary]

Study on “State of the Art of Electronic Road Tolling” / Steer Davies Gleave for EC, 2015
“The principal objective of this study is to provide an overview of those electronic tolling solutions that are available at the current time and those that have potential for the near future. Those solutions are placed in the context of their use in different types of scheme, and to analyse them against a number of different criteria. This provides – for each solution – an evaluation of their cost and relative strengths.” [from the introduction]

Alternative fuels

Deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure / EPRS, At a glance, 2014
“The European Commission has proposed a directive which requires Member States to set in place an infrastructure framework to guarantee supply of the alternative energies for road and waterway transport.” [from the introduction]

Clean Transport – Support to the Member States for the Implementation of the Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Good Practice Examples / D’Appolonia, Ramboll, TM Leuven for EC, 2016, 137 p.
“According to research, the use of alternative/clean fuels is one of the solutions that produce the most significant effects, mainly in the reduction of GHG emissions. This objective will be reachable by breaking the over-dependence of European transport on oil and then with the introduction of the necessary alternative fuels infrastructure.
The build-up of alternative fuel infrastructure will contribute to economic growth and support job creation in a sector of growing importance for Europe and worldwide. This will improve the competitiveness of EU industry in the fields of alternative fuel technologies for all modes of transport – in particular the automotive and shipping industries.” [from the introduction]

Fact Sheets on Alternative Fuels in Member States / D’Appolonia, Ramboll, TM Leuven for EC, 2016, 106 p.
“In order to assess the current state of development of the market as regarding alternative fuels and the implementation of the Directive in each Member State, a questionnaire was prepared and delivered to all Member States to collect information and statistical data. This document provides information and statistics for each EU Member States.” [from the summary]

State of the Art on Alternative Fuels Transport Systems in the European Union / COWI for EC, 2015, 128 p.
This report provides an update of the latest developments in the field of alternative fuels and the market uptake of alternative fuel transport systems and related infrastructure in the EU.

Emission standards, emission measuring

Motor vehicles: new approval and market surveillance rules / EPRS, Legislation in Progress, 2016
“In September 2015, the Volkswagen (VW) case highlighted weaknesses in the implementation of type-approval rules for motor vehicles in the European Union, in particular as regards standards on emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide.
In 2016, as part of preparations from previous years but also in response to the VW case, the European Commission proposed strengthening the type-approval system for motor vehicles. Its goal is to ensure effective enforcement of rules (including through market surveillance), to strengthen the quality and independence of technical tests and to introduce EU oversight on the type-approval process.” [from the summary]

Measuring on-road air pollution from cars / EPRS, At a glance, 2016
“Although emissions of air pollutants from transport have fallen considerably in recent decades, current levels still have adverse effects on health and the environment. In an implementing regulation on new tests that better reflect real on-road emissions, the Commission sets higher limits than current standards, but below current levels of emissions. A motion for a resolution blocking the Commission draft is due to be submitted to the plenary in January.” [from the summary]

Legal obligations relating to emission measurements in the EU automotive sector study / European Parliament (EP), Policy Department A, 2016, 69 p.
“This study looks at the discrepancy in NOx emissions between type-approval tests and real-world driving. It examines the legal stakeholder obligations with regard to emission measurements in the European type-approval process and offers insights into the practical implementation of type-approval procedures throughout the EU. This study was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS)” [from the abstract]

Evaluation of Directive 1999/94/EC (“the car labelling Directive”) / Ricardo for EC, 2016, 276 p.
“This document summarises the findings from an independent study that has been carried out in support of the ex-post evaluation of Directive 1999/94/EC relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars (the Car Labelling Directive). The scope of the evaluation is all 28 EU Member States, taking into account the wider international context, while the period examined is that since the adoption of the Directive in 1999.” [from the executive summary]

Ex-post Evaluation of Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles / Ricardo for EC, 2015, 252 p.
“This ex-post evaluation covers Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles (the “Clean Vehicles Directive”). The Directive aims to stimulate the market for clean and energy-efficient vehicles by requiring various procurers to take account of lifetime environmental and energy impacts when purchasing road transport vehicles.” [from the summary]

Stakeholder views

EU Institutions

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Accompanying the document COMMUNICATION – A European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility / SWD/2016/0244 final, 20.7.2016

Decarbonisation of Transport – Working Document / European Economic and Social Commission (EESC), TEN/609, 2016
The adoption is forseen for the Plenary Session of the EESC of 25-26 January 2017.

Other stakeholders

CLEPA statement on ‘Low-Emission Mobility Strategy’ / European Association of Automotive Suppliers

European Shipowners endorse the global commitment of the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility / The European Community Shipowners’ Associations

EUROBAT welcomes the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility / Association for the European manufacturers automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries

European Commission’s “Low-emission mobility strategy” goes through cities / Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

FuelsEurope – Position Paper Transport and GHG reductions / FuelsEurope

EU low-emission strategy a step in the right direction / Freight Transport Association

Auto industry reacts to European Commission’s decarbonisation strategy / European Automobile Manufacturer Association

Policy makers should adopt ‘whole-vehicle’ approach to reducing CO2 from trucks / European Automobile Manufacturer Association

Europe crawls towards low-carbon transport / Transport & Environment

Europe puts up good plan for cleaner transport but forgets to sell it | / Transport & Environment

EIM welcomes the European Commission’s Communication on a low-emission transport sector. / European Rail Infrastructure Managers

Communication on low-emission mobility: Road pavement sector highlights role of road infrastructure / EUPAVE (the European Concrete Paving Association), EAPA (the European Asphalt Pavement Association) and FEHRL (the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories)

Reacting to EU Commission plans for a European Strategy for low Emission / European Agri-Cooperatives

EC shows ambition for low-emission transport / European Distribution System Operators’ Association for Smart Grids


SIGNALS 2016 – Towards clean and smart mobility / European Environment Agency, 2016, 65 p.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes Signals annually, providing a snapshot of issues of interest to the environmental debate and the wider public. Signals 2016 focuses on transport and mobility. It looks into how Europe’s carbon-dependent transport sector can be turned into a clean and smart mobility system.

Energy, transport and environment indicators / Eurostat, 2016, 231 p.
The publication provides data for the European Union and its Member States, while some indicators include also data for the EFTA countries and candidate countries and potential candidates to the EU.

Climate change – driving forces / Eurostat, Statistics Explained, 2016
This article analyses underlying driving forces behind greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU. See in particular: 1.3, Transport related emissions.

Sustainable development – transport / Eurostat, Statistics Explained, 2015
This article provides an overview of statistical data on sustainable development in the area of sustainable transport.

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