Friday, April 16, 2021
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A sustainable, smart and resilient transport system: EU launches new strategy

The European Commission presented its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives that will apply for the next four years.

The strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90 per cent cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.

With transport contributing around 5 per cent to EU GDP and employing more than 10 million people in Europe, the transport system is critical to European businesses and global supply chains. At the same time, transport is not without costs to our society: greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, noise, road crashes and congestion. Today, transport emissions represent around one-quarter of the EU’s total GHG emissions.

“To reach our climate targets, emissions from the transport sector must get on a clear downward trend,” commented Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. “Today’s strategy will shift the way people and goods move across Europe and make it easy to combine different modes of transport in a single journey. We’ve set ambitious targets for the entire transport system to ensure a sustainable, smart and resilient return from the COVID-19 crisis.”

For transport to become sustainable, in practice this means boosting the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, vessels and aeroplanes, renewable and low-carbon fuels and related infrastructure, for instance by installing 3 million public charging points by 2030. Also, it means creating zero-emission airports and ports, through new initiatives to promote sustainable aviation and maritime fuels. Furthermore, it is important to price carbon and provide better incentives for users.

The smart aspect is about innovation and digitalisation which will shape how passengers and freight move around in the future if the right conditions are put in place. The strategy foresees making connected and automated multimodal mobility a reality and boosting innovation and the use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) for smarter mobility.

Finally, the transport has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and many businesses in the sector are seeing immense operational and financial difficulties. Therefore, the Commission is committing to reinforce the Single Market, make mobility fair and just for all and step up transport safety and security across all modes, including by bringing the death toll close to zero by 2050.

“As the backbone that connects European citizens and business, transport matters to us all,” commented Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean. “Digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise the way we move, making our mobility smarter, more efficient and also greener. We need to provide businesses with a stable framework for the green investments they will need to make over the coming decades. Through the implementation of this strategy, we will create a more efficient and resilient transport system, which is on a firm pathway to reduce emissions in line with our European Green Deal goals.”

By 2030, at least 30 million zero-emission cars will be in operation on European roads and100 European cities will be climate neutral. By 2035, zero-emission large aircraft will be market-ready. And by 205, nearly all cars, vans, buses, as well as new heavy-duty vehicles, will be zero-emission.

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