What future policies for transport? Debate on EU White Paper
Publication date: 12 April 2011
The new White Paper on Transport is the most ambitious yet with the goal being to keep jobs and growth while using resources more efficiently, said Ms Marjeta Jager, Director for General Policy at the European Commission, at a Forum for the Automobile and Society event today. Given the importance of transport for Europe’s economy, she said that curbing mobility was not an option - the key phrase to keep in mind would be ‘Transport for business – Transport as a business’.
From the European Parliament Transport Committee, Matheiu Grosch MEP gave his view that there is a need for ‘efficient co-modality’. At the moment, 80% of transport is by car because it is the most efficient way to travel. Looking to the future we need to make each transport area as efficient, especially given that 80% of people live in cities and they currently lack alternatives to using their car, according to the Belgian MEP.
In his turn, Luca Pascotto, Mobility Director for the FIA, commented, “The central problem for policy-makers is that demand for all kinds of transport grows as the economy grows. Making transport more sustainable, however, is crucial for two reasons: firstly, motorists can play their part in tackling climate change, and secondly, to protect personal mobility which is important for the welfare of the community.”
How can this be achieved? Mr Pascotto listed five points:
1. INTEGRATE: Users are consumers. We need to create integrated mobility systems that will provide people with choice, flexibility and seamless connectivity.
2. INVOLVING USERS: Current levels of public awareness and knowledge of low-carbon alternatives is too low (take for example electric vehicles).
3. Consider the POTENTIAL of ITS: there is enormous potential for information technology to reduce the need for physical movement but also to make private transport more efficient.
4. INCENTIVISING the consumers: the purchase price of most low-carbon vehicles remains a key barrier to their adoption by the mass market. The four things considered most important by consumers when buying are: costs (74%), reliability (73%), safety (62%) and comfort (51%). Correct incentive schemes and fair taxation systems can contribute significantly to a reduction of CO2.
5. Going beyond the car: Will replacing all conventional vehicles with low-carbon vehicles be enough? Do we care about green congestion? We need alternative ways of getting around and we need to think about ways to influence mass behaviour and social norms in positive ways to promote low-carbon, healthier urban lifestyles.
The event was chaired by Martin Callanan MEP and speakers were Luca Pascotto, Mobility Director - FIA, Marjeta Jager, Director for “General Policy” - European Commission, Matheiu Grosch MEP, Carsten Hess, Deutsche Post DHL, and Jos Dings, Transport & Environment.