The European Commission has published its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy with an Action Plan involving 82 initiatives that should guide transport policies in Europe for the next four years. The strategy also includes transport industry transition targets by 2030, 2035, and 2050.
The ambition is to have least 30 million zero-emission vehicles, three million charging points, and 1,000 hydrogen filling stations by 2030. By 2030, there will be at least 100 climate-neutral cities in Europe. The new EU document should serve as a basis for making the EU transport system greener, more digital, and more resistant to future crises. By 2050, almost all new cars, vans, buses, and heavy goods vehicles should be emission-free, rail freight traffic should double, high-speed rail should triple while the multimodal Trans-European Transport Network (TEN–T) should be equipped with sustainable and smart transport with high-speed connectivity will be operational for the comprehensive network.
The least polluting modes of transport will be prioritized, which is reflected in what the strategy calls “polluter pays, user pays” models, the announced end of fossil fuel subsidies, and the stipulation that the most sustainable choice of transport should be clearly indicated. SMEs need easier access to finance, notably for fleet renewal and other innovative and green investments. This can be achieved through clearer communication and guidance, dedicated administrative support, and simplified financial support schemes.
Multimodal logistics must be part of the transformation, within and beyond urban areas. The growth of e-commerce has significantly changed consumption patterns, but the external costs of millions of deliveries, including the reduction of empty and unnecessary trips, must be factored in. Sustainable urban mobility planning should also include the freight dimension through dedicated sustainable urban logistics plans. These plans will accelerate the deployment of zero-emission solutions already available, including cargo bikes, automated deliveries, and drones, and better use of inland waterways into cities.
The Strategy aims to Reinforce the Single Market for instance through reinforcing efforts and investments to complete the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) by 2030 and support the sector to build back better through increased investments, both public and private, in the modernization of fleets in all modes.
The vision of a seamless digitalization of information exchange is particularly relevant for land transport. Future mobility should offer paperless options in all modes, for professionals and individual drivers alike. Availability of electronic certificates and freight transport information would also facilitate digital enforcement, while real-time tracking and tracing of goods would be a significant step towards the completion of the Digital Single Market, the real-time economy, and green transition.