The EU Commission outlined a package of measures to modernise Europe’s transport system Thursday, with a goal of safer traffic, less polluting vehicles and more advanced technological solutions.
In its final set of actions to modernise Europe’s transport system, the Juncker Commission set out its ‘Europe on the Move’ package with the objective of allowing Europeans to benefit from safer traffic, less polluting vehicles and more advanced technological solutions, while at the same time supporting the competitiveness of the EU industry.
The intelligent transportation systems initiatives include an integrated policy for the future of road safety with measures for vehicles and infrastructure safety; the first ever CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles; a strategic Action Plan for the development and manufacturing of batteries in Europe and a forward-looking strategy on connected and automated mobility.
“By producing key technological solutions at scale, including sustainable batteries, and deploying key infrastructure, we will also get closer to a triple zero: emissions, congestion and accidents,” said the Commission’s Energy Union vice-president Maros Sefcovic.
Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete added that all sectors needed to contribute to meet the EU’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement: “That’s why, for the first time ever, we are proposing EU standards to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles. These standards represent an opportunity for European industry to consolidate its current leadership position on innovative technologies.”
The Commission also hopes that new mandatory safety features “will reduce the number of accidents and pave the way for a driverless future of connected and automated driving.”
25,300 people still lost their lives on EU roads in 2017, with another 135,000 seriously injured. The Commission is proposing that new models of vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features, such as advanced emergency braking and lane-keeping assist system for cars or pedestrian and cyclists’ detection systems for trucks (see full list here). In addition, the Commission is helping EU Member States to systematically identify dangerous road sections and to better target investment. These two measures, it says, could save up to 10,500 lives and avoid close to 60,000 serious injuries over 2020-2030, thereby contributing to the EU’s long-term goal of moving close to zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050 (“Vision Zero”).
Continuing an agenda for low-emission mobility, the Commission is also putting forward the first ever CO2 emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles. In 2025, average CO2 emissions from new trucks will have to be 15% lower than in 2019. For 2030, an indicative reduction target of at least 30% compared to 2019 is proposed.
It says these targets are consistent with EU commitments under the Paris Agreement, and will allow transport companies – mostly smaller businesses – to make significant savings thanks to lower fuel consumption (€25,000 over five years).
To allow for further CO2 reductions, the Commission is making it easier to design more aerodynamic trucks and is improving labelling for tyres. In addition, the Commission is putting forward an action plan for batteries that will help create a competitive and sustainable battery “ecosystem” in Europe.
With cars being increasingly equipped with driver assistance systems, and with fully autonomous vehicles around the corner, the EU executive is proposing a strategy aiming to make Europe a world leader for fully automated and connected mobility systems. The strategy looks at a new level of cooperation between road users, which could potentially bring enormous benefits for the mobility system as a whole. Transport will be safer, cleaner, cheaper and more accessible to the elderly and to people with reduced mobility. In addition, the Commission is proposing to establish a fully digital environment for information exchange in freight transport. This will cut red tape and facilitate digital information flows for logistic operations.
The new package consists of:
- A Communication outlining a new road safety policy framework for 2020-2030. It is accompanied by two legislative initiatives on vehicle and pedestrian safety, and on infrastructure safety management;
- A dedicated communication on Connected and Automated Mobility to make Europe a world leader for autonomous and safe mobility systems;
- Legislative initiatives on CO2 standards for trucks, on their aerodynamic, on tyre labelling and on a common methodology for fuels price comparison. These are accompanied by a Strategic Action Plan for Batteries. Those measures reaffirm the EU’s objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport and meeting the Paris Agreement commitments.
- Two legislative initiatives establishing a digital environment for information exchange in transport.
- A legislative initiative to streamline permitting procedures for projects on the core trans-European transport network (TEN-T).
The initiatives are supported by a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility with EUR 450 million available to support projects in the Member States contributing to road safety, digitisation and multimodality. The call will be open until 24 October 2018.