Fabian Demicoli

Future of Transport Communication

 A reflection process launched by the European Commission, involving stakeholders and transport experts, identified 6 main trends and challenges that will shape the future of transport policy over the coming decades – aging, migration and internal mobility, environmental challenges, the availability of energy resources, urbanisation and globalisation.  This demonstrates the need to focus future European transport policy on the pursuit of an integrated, technology-based and user-friendly transport system. With today's adoption of the Communication on the future of transport, the European Commission wants to stimulate further debate that aims at identifying concrete policy proposals for its next Transport White Paper scheduled for 2010.

"Transport has been and will remain an essential component of our daily lives. It has contributed substantially to the development, integration and growth of the internal market with tangible benefits to the European economy. European transport policy has also raised standards for the sector such as improved working conditions, higher safety and security conditions as well as the strengthening of passenger rights. I believe that the time is ripe to throw this policy forward. Firstly by further integrating different transport modes, by putting the EU at the forefront transport services and technologies and thirdly shaping this future transport policy on the needs and rights of both transport users and workers," said Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for transport.

The Commission issued in 2001 a White Paper setting an agenda for transport policy throughout 2010 which was updated in 2006. The Communication adopted today is a follow-up to the White Paper and defines a vision for the future of transport and mobility until 2020, taking into account scenarios that may possibly arise decades beyond this date.

Transport policies for the next ten years must be based on a wide reflection on the future of the transport system. The Commission commissioned external studies on the evaluation of past policies and future scenarios and consulted with experts and stakeholders through specialised Focus Groups and through a High Level Stakeholders' Conference which took place on 9-10 March 2009.

The main conclusions of the Communication are:

European transport policy has helped to provide an efficient mobility system to EU people and businesses. It now has the task of ensuring that this mobility can be sustained in the future.

Environmental sustainability, ageing, migration, fossil fuel scarcity, urbanisation, and globalisation are key tendencies in our society and will pose challenges to our system of mobility.

Accelerating the introduction of innovative technologies and the full integration of the different transport modes is crucial to meeting those challenges. This in a context in which transport users and employees, with their needs and rights, are always kept at the centre of policy making.

It is important to advance the external projection of European Transport Policy, as a way to ensure further integration with the neighbouring countries and the promotion of Europe's economic and environmental interests in the global context.

The Communication does not include a detailed programme of policy measures, but rather tries to identify a strategic vision for the future of transport. The vision and ideas it puts forward are meant to stimulate further debate aimed at identifying possible policy options. Next year this work is expected to give rise to a formulation of concrete policy proposals and to the subsequent adoption of a White Paper.

The Commission encourages all interested party to contribute to this exercise by submitting their views on the future of transport and on possible policy options to the mailbox: by 30 September 2009.

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