This editorial is featured in Revolve Magazine Issue #25 (Autumn 2017) on pages 6-7.
Europe is on the move and transport is changing. Indeed mobility solutions must evolve in order to better serve the public and the business community, and also to reduce its impact on the environment. Today, transport still relies on oil for 94% of its energy needs. If we do nothing, it will be the single largest polluting sector in Europe by 2030. It is time for action.
We are on the brink of a clean industrial revolution and all sectors will be impacted. Transport is no different, and while there will be some disruption in the short-term, in the medium- and longer-term, the changes will bring about massive benefits.
Digitalisation, decarbonisation, investment and the needs of people will be core elements in that change, all being pushed ahead by innovation and investment. The focus now is moving towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for the end user, rather than a more traditional outlook of owning a private car or bicycle. In the future, our transport network will be fully integrated and largely electrified and automated. This will make mobility much cleaner, safer and more accessible to more people.
The low emission mobility strategy launched by the Commission in summer 2017 aims to do three things:
- Increase the efficiency of the transport system by making the most of digital technologies, smart pricing and further encouraging the shift to lower emission transport modes, such as railways, walking, cycling or waterborne transport.
- Speed up the deployment of low-emission energy for transport, such as advanced biofuels, electricity or hydrogen. Linked to this, we are promoting a greater use of low and zero-emission, as the third goal of our strategy.
- Lower emissions by for example working hard on getting more electric buses on our roads, through a platform for cities we launched in July 2017. We are also reviewing rules on public procurement to boost the market for electric buses, garbage trucks and other vehicles to create demand and economies of scale.
The last point is part of our legislative package ‘Europe on the Move’, which includes measures aimed at making road transport more efficient, for example using charging to ensure that we make optimal use of existing infrastructure, thus cutting congestion and needless emissions. This November further initiatives will be put forward by the Commission, including new CO2 limits for cars and vans and an action plan to accelerate the roll out of infrastructure for vehicles running on electricity, hydrogen and natural gas.
I hope you see that there are a great many initiatives being undertaken to improve the transport network. There is no single measure that will make our transport system sustainable, rather a mix of measures will help cut the impact of transport on our environment and by extension on our quality of life. Our goal is a safe, secure and zero emissions transport network. The effort will be gruelling but the reward will be great.