This plan seeks for a green, smart and affordable mobility in Europe and will guide the work for the next four years
The European Commission presented in December 2020 its plan for green, smart and affordable mobility: the ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy’. Together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives, this will serve to guide the work for the next four years.
This strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. The results seek to cut 90% of emissions by 2050, as outlined in the European Green Deal, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
10 key areas for action
All transport modes need to become more sustainable, with green alternatives widely available and the right incentives put in place to drive the transition. To make these goals a reality, the strategy identifies 82 initiatives in 10 key areas for action, each with concrete measures. The 10 key areas can be divided in three main transport objectives: to be sustainable, smart and resilient.
Measures for transport to become sustainable:
- Boosting the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, vessels and aeroplanes, renewable & low-carbon fuels and related infrastructure – for instance by installing 3 million public charging points by 2030.
- Creating zero-emission airports and ports – for instance through new initiatives to promote sustainable aviation and maritime fuels.
- Making interurban and urban mobility healthy and sustainable – for instance by doubling high-speed rail traffic and developing extra cycling infrastructure over the next 10 years.
- Greening freight transport – for instance by doubling rail freight traffic by 2050.
- Pricing carbon and providing better incentives for users – for instance by pursuing a comprehensive set of measures to deliver fair and efficient pricing across all transport.
Innovation and digitalisation 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 – for instance by making it possible for passengers to buy tickets for multimodal journeys and freight to seamlessly switch between transport modes.
- Boosting innovation and the use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) for smarter mobility – for instance by fully supporting the deployment of drones and unmanned aircraft and further actions to build a European Common Mobility Data Space.
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. The Commission therefore commits to:
- Reinforce the Single Market – for instance through reinforcing efforts and investments to complete the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) by 2030 and support the sector to build back better through increased investments, both public and private, in the modernisation of fleets in all modes.
- Make mobility fair and just for all – for instance by making the new mobility affordable and accessible in all regions and for all passengers including those with reduced mobility and making the sector more attractive for workers.
- Step up transport safety and security across all modes – including by bringing the death toll close to zero by 2050.
FAQ that can be related to SENATOR
What is the EC’s vision on decarbonising road transport?
- By 2030, there will be at least 30 million zero-emission cars and 80 000 zero emission lorries in operation.
- By 2050, nearly all cars, vans, buses as well as new heavy-duty vehicles will be zero-emission.
- The ‘polluter pays’ and ‘user pays’ principles need to be implemented without delay in all transport modes.
- The Commission will propose a revision of the CO2 standards for cars and vans by June 2021, and will also review the CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles by 2022.
- The upcoming proposal for more stringent air pollutant emissions standards for combustion engine vehicles (Euro 7) will ensure that only future-proof, low-emission vehicles enter the market.
- Measures such as carbon-pricing (in the form of possible inclusion in the EU Emission Trading System), taxation, road charging, and the revision of rules on the weights and dimensions of heavy-duty vehicles will contribute to increasing demand for low- and zero-emission vehicles.
- For alternative fuels, the strategy calls for large-scale deployment of sustainable renewable and low-carbon fuels without delay.
- We also plan to adjust our roadworthiness legislative framework to ensure the lifetime compliance of vehicles with emission and safety standards. A single faulty vehicle can pollute our air more than several thousand clean ones.
What does the strategy foresee for mobility in cities?
Citizens expect progress with regard to air quality, traffic noise, congestion and road safety in their towns and cities. In many cities mobility is shifting towards shared and collaborative services (shared cars, bikes, ride-hailing, and other forms of micromobility) facilitated by the emergence of intermediary platforms, thereby enabling the reduction of the number of vehicles in daily traffic.
Cities are and should therefore remain at the forefront of the transition towards greater sustainability in transport. The strategy includes actions to make inter-urban and urban mobility more sustainable and healthy, by means of a revision of the Urban Mobility Package of 2013 for example. The Commission will also engage with cities and Member States to ensure that all large and medium-sized cities that are urban nodes on the TEN-T network put in place their own sustainable urban mobility plans by 2030.
What is key to achieving the sustainability objective?
Under the European Green Deal greenhouse gas emissions from transport need to reduce by 90% to become climate neutral by 2050, and work towards our zero-pollution ambition. To achieve the systemic change we need to:
- make all transport modes more sustainable,
- make sustainable alternatives widely available in a multimodal transport system and
- put in place the right incentives to drive the transition.
Measures will include boosting the production, distribution and use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in transport, as well as supporting the replacement of existing fleets with low- and zero emission vehicles. We also need to increase the number of passengers travelling by rail and commuting by public transport and active modes, as well as shifting a substantial amount of freight onto more sustainable transport modes, such as rail and inland waterways. Lastly, we need to implement the ‘polluter pays’ and ‘user pays’ principles without delay in all transport modes, in particular through carbon pricing and infrastructure charging mechanisms.
What role does digitalisation play in modernising the transport system?
In the near future, we can expect the emergence and wider use of game-changing new mobility technologies, such as drones (unmanned aircraft) for commercial applications, autonomous vehicles, hyperloop, hydrogen powered aircraft and electric waterborne transport.
The European Commission will develop the framework to facilitate the development and deployment of digital tools and systems. We will work towards facilitating testing and making the regulatory environment fit for innovation, notably with regard to Artificial Intelligence. We need to deploy new technologies to make the whole transport system more efficient, and our multimodal mobility seamless. The Commission is investing heavily in research and predeployment testing through funding instruments such as Horizon Europe, and Connecting Europe Facility. Digitalisation and automation have also an important potential for further improvements when it comes to safety, security, reliability, and comfort, as well as maintaining the EU’s leadership in transport equipment manufacturing and services, and improving our global competitiveness through efficient and resilient logistic chains. European values, ethical standards, equality, data protection and privacy rules will be at the heart of these efforts, and cybersecurity will be treated with high priority.
Source: European Commissions Press Release