Transport 2050: The European Commission Transforms Transportation
Transport 2050, Europe's new strategy on integrating transportation will encourage walking, cycling and mass transit. Photo by Michal Osmenda.

Transport 2050, Europe's new strategy on integrating transportation, encourages walking, cycling and mass transit. Photo by Michal Osmenda.

The European Commission released a comprehensive strategy, known as Transport 2050, to integrate Europe’s transportation systems and link different modes of transit to reduce carbon emissions and foreign dependence on oil by 2050. The strategy is meant to meet the needs of Europe’s growing mobility demands, provide employment opportunities, limit the effects of carbon emissions on climate change, and reduce congestion, which costs Europe 1 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The ambitious plan calls for a transformation in Europe’s current transport system. The strategy sets different goals for different types of travel behaviors within cities. One of its key goals is to eliminate conventionally fueled cars in cities and shift to electric, hydrogen and hybrid cars to achieve carbon-free movement in major urban centers by 2030. The initiative also includes encouraging a shift towards public transport, walking and cycling, and bringing the number of road fatalities to zero by 2050. The strategy also aims for a 50 percent shift of intercity passengers who travel 186 miles or more from road to rail and waterborne transport systems and establishing a fully functional and integrated core network transportation corridor throughout the European Union.

Enacted in part to meet Europe’s goal of a 60 percent cut in transport carbon emissions by 2050, the strategy comes at a pivotal time in the history of the world’s resources. This is especially important considering that “oil will become scarcer in the future decades, sourced increasingly from unstable parts of the world,” according to an EU press release. “Oil prices are projected to more than double between 2005 levels and 2050.” With the world’s population and urbanization rates increasing, a transition to more sustainable modes of transit is becoming an important and necessary realization for many of the world’s economies.

Such drastic changes are doomed to attract resistance, but the Commission acknowledges the goal of this strategy is to improve mobility and the lives of its citizens. During an introductory press conference, Vice President of the Commission Siim Kallas emphasized the urgent need for permanent action:

“Freedom to travel is a basic right for our citizens and it is critical to the development of Europe’s business sector. We need a competitive European Transport System which delivers transport for people…Curbing mobility is not an option, nor is business as usual. Action cannot be delayed, infrastructure takes many years to plan and build. Trains, planes and ships last for decades. So the choices we make today will determine the shape of transport in 2050.”

What are your opinions on Transport 2050? Are these achievable goals?

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