Four key goals for railway-based mobility in Europe

Europe gears up to become the world champion of sustainable and smart mobility. Railways as one of the greenest mode of transport must become crucial in fulfilling the task. This will not come true without achieving four key goals.

“With the European Green Deal, the European Commission proposed the most ambitious plan ever for a supranational institution: to make Europe the world champion of sustainability. European railways support this agenda with the full strength of their own undisputed sustainability credentials,” the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) noted in its input regarding the upcoming EU Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility.

In addition, CER as the association of the European rail sector has identified four key goals on the way towards sustainable and smart mobility:

  • to set up clear mid-term milestones for transport in reducing greenhouse gas emissions: 25 per cent by 2030, 65 per cent by 2040 and 100 per cent or climate-neutral transport by 2050 (on 1990 levels);
  • to implement the polluter-pays and user-pays principles in order to provide a level playing field for all modes of transport;
  • to develop a pan-European deployment plan for rail freight digitalisation to achieve a rail freight modal share of 30 per cent by 2030;
  • to implement new digital solutions in ticketing for both national and international trains for achieving a rail passenger modal share of 15 per cent by 2030 and 20 per cent by 2050.

European Recovery Plan

The mentioned goals are correlated with the European Recovery Plan, which is dedicated to the support of the economies of the EU countries against the COVID-19 economic fallout. To this end, the European Commission and the member states have committed to allocating more than 3 trillion euros.

According to CER, the implementation of the polluter-pays and user-pays principles for all modes of transport could benefit at least 300 billion euros that would be invested in economic rehabilitation. “The recovery is a golden opportunity for the EU and its member states to redress the situation in transport. When ministers discuss the Eurovignette reform the next time, they should agree on the strong implementation of user-pays and polluter-pays principles on roads, to support fair intermodal competition,” CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said.

“Railway transport proved to be not only safe and sustainable: railway transport proved to be extremely resilient. Railways are able today to start from where almost everything stopped. Logistic chains across Europe are able to restart by reshaping themselves around persistent rail segments that never ceased to function. Never before railways have proven so evidently to be the backbone of European logistics,” CER highlighted in its paper.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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