SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON GREENING TRANSPORT

INTEGRATING THE ENVIRONMENT INTO TRANSPORT POLICY

The integration of environmental considerations into all areas of policy is important to protect the environment. Environmental problems are increasingly global, with climate change and air pollution caused by similar activities around the world. Hence, there are – at least to some extent – common solutions. In 2019, the EU and China embarked on their latest Environmental Policy Dialogue under which they collaborated on greening their respective economies. Ian Skinner of TEPR contributed to a report, in the context of this Policy Dialogue, on how environmental considerations can be integrated into different sectors, and especially transport policy, drawing on lessons from the EU.  

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IMPROVING THE COMPETITIVENESS OF RAIL FREIGHT IN THE EU

EVALUATING THE RAIL FREIGHT CORRIDORS REGULATION 

Railways have the potential to play an important role in an integrated, multi-modal, sustainable transport system. To do so, they must be able to compete with other modes and rail travel across the borders between EU Member States must be as easy as it is for other modes. However, as national rail systems were developed to serve national – rather than pan-European – needs, they still often have different standards and are governed by different regulatory systems. EU policy on rail, including on rail freight, has tried to address such interoperability concerns in order to help make rail more competitive. TEPR was part of a consortium that supported the European Commission in evaluating a Regulation that aimed to improve conditions for rail freight in the EU

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INFORMING CONSUMERS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE OF CARS

UPDATING LEGISLATION TO ENSURE THAT CONSUMERS RECEIVE THE INFORMATION THAT THEY NEED  

The cars that we drive are changing. There is an increasing range of plug-in hybrid, battery electric and even hydrogen-powered cars on the market. At the same time, consumers are using the internet much more to research potential car purchases and even to buy cars. EU legislation from 1999 currently sets the framework for the provision of information to consumers on the environmental performance of new cars. This was adopted at a time when there were no mass market electric vehicles and when the use of the internet was still in its infancy. TEPR supported the European Commission in reviewing potential policy measures to keep consumers better informed, taking account of developments in the last 20 years.

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IMPROVING TRANSPORT IN LOW DENSITY AND DEPOPULATING AREAS

ENSURING THAT THE EU POLICY FRAMEWORK SUPPORTS TRANSPORT IN LOW DENISTY AND DEPOPULATING AREAS  

From an economic perspective, it is easier to justify the development of transport infrastructure and services in heavily populated areas, than it is in low density and depopulating areas. The latter also tend to be more remote from the major centres of economic activity and employment, while they are often characterised by challenges resulting from their geography, e.g. as islands or mountainous areas. Hence, transport in these areas needs support from the public sector, including relevant EU funds, to ensure that it supports local social and economic development. TEPR worked with VVA on a report that explored this issue and made recommendations on actions that might be undertaken at the EU level.

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FINANCING THE ZERO CARBON TRANSITION

ESTIMATING THE LEVEL OF CITIES’ FINANCE FOR CLIMATE ACTIONS IN TRANSPORT  

The transition to a net zero carbon economy will bring multiple benefits, not least in relation to minimising the impacts of climate change, although a substantial amount of investment is needed. Currently, there is still a lot of investment in activities that damage the environment, and which are contrary to the zero carbon transition, whereas the finance spent on climate mitigation and adaptation actions is currently not sufficient. Ian Skinner of TEPR, and TEPR Associate Marianne Pearson, estimated the climate finance spent on transport globally for a report published by the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance and the World Bank. The report identified the extent of the challenge and made recommendations on how to close the gap.

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A SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT STRATEGY FOR EUROPE?

EVALUATING THE EU’s TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER

There are many challenges to developing a coherent set of transport policies. We all need transport on a daily basis, as does business for moving around the goods that we all eventually consume. At the same time, there are physical and environmental trade-offs to be made when facilitating travel, while the use of transport infrastructure can have adverse social, economic and environmental impacts. Balancing these issues requires a strategic approach that aims to deliver the benefits of transport, while mitigating, or potentially eliminating, any adverse impacts.  

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ENSURING SUFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE TO DECARBONISE TRANSPORT FUELS

IMPROVING THE ALTERNATIVE FUELS INFRASTRUCTURE DIRECTIVE 

In order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the transport sector, it is necessary to significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuels that the transport sector uses. Indeed, a virtual phase out of the use of fossil fuels will be needed by 2050. For vehicles using alternative low and zero emission fuels to be able to operate, there needs to be sufficient infrastructure to enable these vehicles to recharge or refuel. TEPR is currently working, as part of a consortium, to support the development of EU legislation that aims to ensure that there is sufficient refuelling/recharging infrastructure for alternative fuels. 

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INTEGRATING THE ENVIRONMENT INTO EU TRANSPORT FUNDING

ENSURING THAT EU INVESTMENT IN TRANSPORT IS CONSISTENT WITH ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The provision, development and maintenance of transport infrastructure – such as roads, railways, ports and airports – is important for society and the economy. However, using land for transport infrastructure inevitably means that it cannot be used for other purposes, including for nature and the ecosystem services that nature provides. In addition, enabling more transport through the provision of more infrastructure has the potential to increase emissions, both of the CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change and of air pollutant emissions. There is therefore a balance to be struck between developing the transport network and protecting the environment. TEPR and Belgian consultancy Milieu have produced a report looking at the extent to which EU financial support for transport infrastructure is consistent with protecting the environment.

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PROVIDING SUFFICIENT FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CLEAN VEHICLES

THE ROLE OF THE ALTERNATIVE FUELS INFRASTRUCTURE DIRECTIVE 

In order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the transport sector, it is necessary to significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuels that the transport sector uses. In fact, a virtual phase out of the use of fossil fuels will be needed by 2050. As a result, policy has been put in place to ensure that the CO2 emissions from cars, lorries and buses decline, while at the same time ensuring the development of zero emission vehicles. For the latter to be able to operate, there needs to be sufficient zero emission energy sources and fuels available, while the necessary infrastructure is needed to enable these vehicles to recharge or refuel. TEPR is currently working, as part of a consortium, to evaluate a piece of EU legislation that aims to ensure that sufficient refuelling and recharging infrastructure for alternative fuels is put in place

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INTELLIGENT TRANSPORT SYSTEMS FOR SELF-DRIVE CARS

INTELLIGENT TRANSPORT SYSTEMS – DEVELOPING THE RIGHT POLICY FRAMEWORK

There has been much discussion in the last couple of years about the potential for self-drive or autonomous vehicles, which can navigate without the need for a driver. While the widespread use of such vehicles is still a long way off, vehicles are increasingly becoming more intelligent. New vehicles are able to undertake basic actions and to interpret traffic control signals without the intervention of a driver. The potential advantages include increased road safety, and thus a reduction in accidents, increased efficiency with a reduction in travel times and reduced environmental impact. 

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