Written by Marketa Pape,
Transport is a strategic sector of the EU economy. Essential to ensuring free movement, it enables people and goods to overcome distances, borders and natural barriers, directly affecting the everyday lives of all EU citizens. Maintaining the flow of goods from producers and manufacturers to consumers makes efficient transport systems a backbone of European integration. For the single market to function well in all regions, the EU needs sustainable, efficient and fully interconnected transport networks.
As the demand for transport services grows, reducing transport emissions and negative impacts on human health and the environment has become one of the main challenges. New technologies, such as digitalisation, and connected and automated mobility, open new possibilities to improve transport safety, security and efficiency, and to reduce emissions, but also transform the employment in the sector in terms of working conditions and required skills. Collaborative economy developments, such as car-sharing and bike-sharing services are changing user behaviour and mobility patterns. EU transport policy needs to help the sector cut emissions drastically by running on less and cleaner energy, utilise modern infrastructure, and reduce its impact on the environment.
The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has put transport on a fast track towards becoming decarbonised and digital. This transformation is to be a key part of her European Green Deal and ‘making Europe fit for the digital age’ priorities. In 2020, the Commission will propose a ‘climate law’, committing the EU to becoming climate neutral by 2050. The European Council has endorsed this objective and Parliament had already called for ambitious goals and a corresponding long-term EU budget. While concrete steps towards this ambitious goal remain to be defined, it will require a step change to make transport modern, sustainable and decarbonised.
Read the complete Briefing on ‘EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Transport policy ‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.
Listen to policy podcast ‘Transport policy‘ on YouTube.