To support the transition to cleaner, greener, and smarter mobility, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the Commission today adopted four proposals that will modernise the EU’s transport system. By increasing connectivity and shifting more passengers and freight to rail and inland waterways, by supporting the roll-out of charging points, alternative refuelling infrastructure, and new digital technologies, by placing a stronger focus on sustainable urban mobility, and by making it easier to choose different transport options in an efficient multimodal transport system, the proposals will put the transport sector on track to cutting its emissions by 90%.
Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said, “Europe’s green and digital transition will bring big changes to the ways we move around. Today’s proposals set European mobility on track for a sustainable future: faster European rail connections with easy-to-find tickets and improved passenger rights support for cities to increase and improve public transport and infrastructure for walking and cycling, and making the best possible use of solutions for smart and efficient driving.”
Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said, “Today we are proposing higher standards along the TEN-T network, boosting high speed rail and embedding multimodality, and a new north-south Corridor in Eastern Europe. With our Intelligent Transport Systems Directive we are embracing digital technologies and data-sharing. We want to make travel in the EU more efficient – and safer – for drivers, passengers and businesses alike. The cities linked by EU infrastructure are our economic powerhouses, but they must also be lean cities – for inhabitants and commuters. That is why we are recommending a dedicated framework for sustainable urban mobility – to guide the faster transition to safe, accessible, inclusive, smart and zero-emission urban mobility.”
A smart and sustainable TEN-T
The TEN-T is an EU-wide network of rail, inland waterways, short-sea shipping routes, and roads. It connects 424 major cities with ports, airports and railway terminals. When the TEN-T is complete, it will cut travel times between these cities. For example, passengers will be able to travel between Copenhagen and Hamburg in 2.5 hours by train, instead of the 4.5 hours required today.
To address the missing links and modernise the entire network, today’s proposal:
- Requires that the major TEN-T passenger rail lines allow trains to travel at 160 km/h or faster by 2040 thus creating competitive high-speed railway connections throughout the Union. Canals and rivers must ensure good navigation conditions, unhindered for example by water levels, for a minimum number of days per year.
- Calls for more transhipment terminals, improved handling capacity at freight terminals, reduced waiting times at rail border crossings, longer trains to shift more freight onto cleaner transport modes, and the option for lorries to be transported by train network-wide. To ensure infrastructure planning meets real operational needs, it also creates nine ‘European Transport Corridors’ that integrate rail, road, and waterways.
- Introduces a new intermediary deadline of 2040 to advance the completion of major parts of the network ahead of the 2050 deadline that applies to the wider, comprehensive network. So new high-speed rail connections between Porto and Vigo, and Budapest and Bucharest – among others – must be completed for 2040.
- Requires all 424 major cities along the TEN-T network to develop Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans to promote zero-emission mobility and to increase and improve public transport and infrastructure for walking and cycling.
Increasing long-distance and cross-border rail traffic
Rail remains one of the safest and cleanest transport modes and is therefore at the heart of our policy to make EU mobility more sustainable. Today’s TEN-T proposal is accompanied by an Action Plan on long-distance and cross-border rail that lays out a roadmap with further actions to help the EU meet its target of doubling high-speed rail traffic by 2030, and tripling it by 2050.
Although the number of people travelling by train has increased in recent years, only 7% of rail kilometres travelled between 2001 and 2018 involved cross-border trips. To encourage more people to consider the train for trips abroad, the Action Plan sets out concrete actions to remove barriers to cross-border and long-distance travel, and make rail travel more attractive for passengers. The actions include:
- a multimodal legislative proposal in 2022 to boost user-friendly multimodal ticketing;
- allowing passengers to find the best tickets at the most attractive price and better supporting passengers faced with disruption, and a commitment to investigating an EU-wide VAT exemption for train tickets;
- the repeal of redundant national technical and operational rules;
- an announcement of proposals for 2022 on timetabling and capacity management, which will boost quicker and more frequent cross-border rail services;
- guidelines for track access pricing in 2023 that will ease rail operators’ access to infrastructure, increasing competition and allowing for more attractive ticket prices for passengers.
By 2030, the Commission will support the launch of at least 15 cross-border pilot to test the Action Plan’s approach, ahead of the entry into force of the new TEN-T requirements.
Intelligent transport services for drivers
Smart mobility makes our mobility more sustainable. The Commission is therefore proposing to update the 2010 ITS Directive, adapting to the emergence of new road mobility options, mobility apps and connected and automated mobility. Our proposal will stimulate the faster deployment of new, intelligent services, by proposing that certain crucial road, travel and traffic data is made available in digital format, such as speed limits, traffic circulation plans or roadworks, along the TEN-T network and ultimately covering the entire road network. It will also ensure that essential safety-related services are made available for drivers along the TEN-T network.
Today’s proposal will update the Directive in line with new priorities on better multimodal and digital services.
Cleaner, greener, easier urban mobility
The new Urban Mobility Framework will benefit transport users and all the people around them. Cities are home to millions of people. Today’s proposal addresses some of the mobility challenges stemming from this intense economic activity – congestion, emissions, noise. The Urban Mobility Framework sets out European guidance on how cities can cut emissions and improve mobility, including via Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. The main focus will be on public transport, walking and cycling. The proposal also prioritises zero-emission solutions for urban fleets, including taxis and ride-hailing services, the last mile of urban deliveries, and the construction and modernisation of multimodal hubs, as well as new digital solutions and services. Today’s proposal maps out the funding options for local and regional authorities to implement these priorities. In 2022, the Commission will propose a Recommendation to EU Member States for the development of national plans to assist cities in developing their mobility plans.
This is the second package of proposals to support a transition to cleaner, greener transport following the publication of the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in December 2020. The Strategy is a roadmap, guiding the sector towards the objectives of the European Green Deal.