Sessions details

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Session 1 – INTERMODALITY AND CORRIDORS

Intermodality is recognised as a mode of transport with less impact on the environment and as a way of unburdening road transport infrastructure. In order to obtain a fully integrated intermodal network and a functioning EU Single Market, we need cross-border planning in the TEN-T corridors to achieve coherent capacity, avoid bottlenecks in all modes of transport and interconnect different modes of transport.

This session is was step in the process of shaping the Core Network Corridors in Europe, arranged by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), to contribute to the current discussion on the Connecting Europe facility and the implementation of the TEN-T network.

The core network corridors are now mapped and the European Coordinators have submitted work plans with proposals for measures and actions. They highlight the importance of the use of ITS, efficient management and the promotion of future-oriented clean transport solutions. Many crucial questions concerning infrastructure and regulatory issues still need to be addressed. The session focused on dialogue between authorities and civil society aiming at the development and improvement of the corridors.

The EESC "underscores the importance of incentivising a shift towards low emission modes including rail and combined transport and the importance in that respect that infrastructure charges and external costs are addressed in a way that ensures fair competition between modes."

"The EESC notes with satisfaction the emphasis on investment in transhipment terminals and the obligation to coordinate such investments with neighbouring Member States and with the Commission to ensure balanced and sufficient geographical distribution, particularly in the TEN-T network."

"The Committee would like greater recognition of the importance of supporting modal shift with more incentives to encourage public transport and moving freight from road to rail." The overall strategy, Clean, competitive and connected mobility for all, "may help to decarbonise road transport but will not necessarily deal with congestion and pollution, particularly as demand for road transport is expected to continue to grow."

 

Session 2 – GREEN MOBILITY

If the EU is to meet its climate goals it must move rapidly to decarbonise transport. This means serious attempts to cut carbon use in air transport, a switch from air to rail for journeys of under 750 km, the further decarbonisation of road transport including the widespread roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and further moves from private to public transport in cities. What does the available technology allow? What economic incentives can be used to drive this revolution in transport? Where are the best examples of successful action at local level? Is there a role for hydrogen and biofuels? This session explored these questions and many more.

The EESC "would like greater recognition of the importance of supporting modal shift with more incentives to encourage public transport and moving freight from road to rail. The overall strategy may help to decarbonise road transport but will not necessarily deal with congestion and pollution, particularly as demand for road transport is expected to continue to grow".

The EESC "strongly welcomes the European Commission's initiatives to decarbonise the transport sector, particularly its determination that the provision of alternative fuels infrastructure should be accelerated so that there are zero greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions by 2050".

The EESC "is concerned that the national policy frameworks agreed by each Member State as instruments to achieve decarbonisation are currently falling significantly short of their stated aims and objectives. Because of that, the Action Plan on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure is likely to fail."

 

Session 3 – CHALLENGES FOR AGGLOMERATIONS

The continuing growth of cities - about 70% of the EU population lives in cities and 80% of the Union's GDP is generated in cities - is an opportunity and a challenge at the same time and in many different areas. Offering a high quality of life in cities requires ecologically compatible forms of mobility, clean air and low traffic noise on the one hand, and an optimally developed transport infrastructure as well as high quality jobs in the transport sector on the other hand.

What opportunities does the digitalisation and robotisation of the transport sector offer? What does that mean for employees? How do big cities respond to these challenges? How can we improve the urban climate and reduce pollution? How can "Smart Cities" make use of the technological change in the interest of its citizens? These and other questions were dealt with in this panel.

"The digitalisation and robotisation of transport will bring about profound changes in the nature of work and the demand for skills. The EESC highlights the importance of dealing with these structural changes by enhancing a fair and smooth transition and addressing the skills gap, together with the appropriate monitoring of progress. Social dialogue and informing and consulting workers play a key role in the transition process. Member States also have to adapt their education systems to respond to the new demand for skills."

"Solid and coherent coordination must be developed between all public and private decision-makers at all levels. Sustainable urban mobility plans, consistent with targets for the climate, the environment and energy, health protection and time and energy savings, which are key drivers for the economy, should become a priority at all levels in the EU."

"The sustainability of cities will be the result of a smart mix of more mature and innovative technologies, integrated (European, national and local-level) platforms, modern infrastructure, energy efficiency, more efficient services redesigned to reflect the needs of the public and users, and the integration of smart electricity networks, the internet, and sensor technology."