The European Commission has this week published a 'Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy' to transform the EU transport system and support the European Green Deal.
The European Commission presented its ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy' together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives that will guide our work for the next four years. This strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises.
As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
What are the main aspects regarding rail transport?
Traffic on high-speed rail will double by 2030.
Rail freight traffic will increase by 50% by 2030 and double by 2050.
By 2030, rail and waterborne-based intermodal transport will be able to compete on equal footing with road-only transport in the EU.
Completing the TEN-T network, including the high-speed lines, will provide better connections along Europe's main corridors. Meanwhile, simplifying the use and purchase of cross-border tickets and improving passengers' awareness of their rights will make rail more attractive for customers.
The implementation of the Fourth Railway Package to open up rail markets to competition will also make railway operators more responsive to customer needs and improve the quality of their services.
Action plans for the 'European Year of Rail'
In 2021, the Commission will propose an action plan to boost long-distance and cross-border passenger rail services. To further reduce emissions, rail transport will need to be further electrified and, wherever this is not viable, the use of hydrogen should be increased.
For freight, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift to rail and inland waterways.
Increased capacity, strengthened cross-border coordination and cooperation between rail infrastructure managers, better overall management of the rail network, and the deployment of new technologies such as digital coupling and automation will enable this.
The European Year of Rail of 2021 is an excellent opportunity for Member States, the Commission and the rail sector to put these issues in the spotlight.