Eco-efficient Transport
Transport is a complex system, which is triggered by various kinds of demand, by different preferences and by different interests, with interdependencies between internal and external factors. Given this complexity, it is crucial to assess approaches to eco-efficiency in a broader context: a systemic perspective is required. Therefore, a set of scenarios on eco-efficient transport futures has been developed and combined with a stakeholder consultation to better understand different assessments of the feasibility and desirability of pathways towards eco-efficient transport. For this project, it is assumed that eco-efficient transport encompasses all approaches that help to reduce the ecological footprint of transport-related activities. The point of reference is the amount of resources needed to fulfil a certain purpose (e.g. work, social contacts, production or purchase of a good). The general quality of life and the economic wealth should explicitly not be reduced. The focus of the project lies on road, rail, and waterborne transport (excluding aviation). The stakeholder consultation revealed that there is a need to look beyond the technological scope in order to move towards a more eco-efficient transport system. It was clearly emphasized that the development and the commercialization of technologies needed to be accompanied by corresponding infrastructures. In general, non-technical issues were seen as hampering factors: particularly high costs of cleaner technologies and the importance of addressing infrastructure challenges, as well as uncoordinated institutional actions and responsibilities. Moreover, service, attractiveness, information, planning, and cooperation should be improved. Further, stakeholders stated that a much better understanding of dynamics in consumers’ preferences, attitudes and behavioural patterns is needed. R&D strategies for alternative fuels and propulsion technologies should be embedded into a broader context. Further, it was emphasized that to assess the eco-efficiency of alternative fuels, the generation of hydrogen, electricity, or biofuels need to be considered, as well as the potential role of new technologies in the energy system (e.g. batteries in cars as storage for fluctuating renewable energy). As regards a possible reduction in traffic volumes, it was stated that this contradicted the idea of moving goods and people freely within a single European market. The desirability and acceptability of this was questioned, since the impacts on economic wealth and quality of life might be negative. Mainly reducing transport volumes appeared to be too simplistic to the stakeholders. However, several stakeholders argued that elements this concept are needed to cope with future challenges. In this context, the term mobility management was mentioned to express the need for strategies focusing on the development of transport growth. However, there were different understandings of how mobility management should be executed. For example, the main controversies emerged in relation to measures restricting car transport in urban areas. The majority welcomed these approaches, while there were clear critical voices as well, pointing out negative consequences for the economy. However, stakeholders emphasized the need for incentives and public investments to achieve modal shift. Furthermore, stakeholders pointed to a gap between European policy and “reality”. There was a claim that then EU needs to focus on the feasibility and success of the implementation of EU strategies. One of the findings of the project is that the assessment of the potential eco-efficiency of different approaches needs a broader and systemic perspective. Corresponding policies should not be taken in isolation; policy packages are usually needed to cope with systemic impacts of measures. Accordingly, instead of single measures, a number of key areas were identified by the project team, based on the scenarios and the stakeholder consultation. These key areas are regarded as being crucial for a transition to a more eco-efficient transport system: Energy system; cleaner cars; cleaner trucks; smart logistics; automation; integrated ticketing; access instead of ownership; shift to rail; shift to short sea and inland shipping; awareness of/making use of habit and attitude changes; urban design; and mobility pricing. Based on the findings of the project, a series of policy conclusions can be drawn that are considered promising: - Enabling progress in fuels and propulsion technologies, - Enabling progress in information and communication technologies (ICT), - Applying a broader systemic perspective, - Enabling new mobility concepts, - Considering non-technical factors, - Considering land-use planning, - Understanding end-users, - Applying integrated strategies, - Understanding new and emerging technologies,
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European Parliament / Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) (STOA)