The European Transport Forum 2014
Debating the future of European transport
Keynote address Siim Kallas, Vice President & Commissioner for Transport, European Commission
Mr Kallas outlined his long-term vision of a single European transport area: an interconnected system focused on the user, integrating all different forms of transport and removing inefficient barriers between them. He said that this is not just theory; it is already happening, with progress in all areas. For freight transport he underlined the need for competitiveness and efficiency of the entire logistics chain, and stressed that the eFreight initiative should be formally presented soon in the next Commission’s mandate. It aims to simplify the way information is exchanged along the whole supply chain. This will reduce costs because the same information will no longer have to be entered on paper and in different systems when changing between different types of transport or moving from one country to another.
For passengers Mr Kallas said there is a move towards genuinely EU-wide multimodal travel information, manning and ticketing services. In June a roadmap was finalised for these services, including a formal proposal on access to transport data.
Mr Kallas also mentioned that eCall will soon be available for everyone in the EU. It will help to halve European road deaths by 2020 and reduce the number of serious injuries.
He underlined that it is not the Commission’s role to provide solutions and develop services, but to tackle the main blockages and create the right environment and structure so that connected mobility really happens. He finished by stating that achieving a single, sustainable European transport area will require continued efforts and commitment from everyone involved along the value chain, in both the public and private sectors.
Keynote address Ana Palacio, European Coordinator for the TEN-T Rhine-Alpine Corridor
A key aspect of today’s meeting, said Ms Palacio, is the information society; the connectivity that is at the heart of the logistics chain. It creates issues with privacy and data sharing, and these have to be addressed.
In view of this, Ms Palacio emphasised how transport has been a key policy since the first European Commission as it’s essential to create free movement of goods, services and people. She explained the current position of the EU’s transport policy, saying that there has been a transition from a mono-modal, top-down, patchwork approach to a multi-modal, network approach. The finished goal is not yet in sight – there are still many things to do – and two policy documents are key to further progress in this area: the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Together they form a dual layer, coordinated and synchronised approach with an overall striving for multi-modality. Key elements are the nine corridors, the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and the Motorways of the Sea concept.
Ms Palacio said that the governance approach is flexible and innovative, with the creation of coordinators, but also requires a bottom-up approach involving all stakeholders: cities, companies, environmental groups etc.
There are challenges though, and Ms Palacio called for fresh, innovative ideas on financing. The bottlenecks surrounding transport frontiers have to be tackled. Other challenges are sharing data, creating a level playing field, addressing the technical challenges, privacy, creating a regulatory framework, and connectivity.