Significance and challenges of a European mobility strategy

© Oliver Helbig

The European Green Deal includes a target to reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by 2050. The BDI welcomes a comprehensive European strategy for intelligent and sustainable mobility that addresses all modes of transport and their advantages. The transport sector is the backbone of the entire single market. A strategy needs to be practical and feasible.

The ambitious climate targets for the sector can only be achieved if all technical levers are taken into account. It is essential that the strategy recognises and makes use of the advantages of each mode of transport for the overall economic value added. In addition to long-term support for R&D, consistent use of digitisation potential, targeted investment in transport infrastructures, the strategy should focus on the market ramp-up of alternative drive systems and fuels for all modes of transport. The strategy should contain concrete measures for connected and automated mobility which recognise the potential of these innovations in the transformation process. Intelligent traffic management systems, connected and automated driving and "Mobility as a Service" applications are an important building block on the road to safe and climate-friendly mobility and offer new business models.

Creating a framework for incentives

Particular attention must be paid to road traffic and therefore, in addition to electric mobility (BEVs and PHEVs), fuel cell mobility and synthetic and biogenic fuels must be developed as alternatives. For this reason, the EU must set the framework conditions for the efficient market ramp-up of alternative drive systems and fuels and their charging and refuelling infrastructures consistently and openly with regard to technology within the framework of the announced revisions such as the CO2 fleet regulation, the Energy Tax Directive, Renewable Energy Directive II, the Eurovignette Directive and Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. A central element must be the tax exemption of low CO2 and neutral fuels. In addition, concrete proposals are needed for incentives to encourage both the supply and demand sides to switch to climate-friendly technologies.

Strengthening of intermodality

The ambitious goal of climate-neutral mobility should be pursued without losing sight of economic and technical feasibility. Solutions need to be found that will help the heavily burdened mobility industry out of the crisis in a targeted manner without placing an additional burden on it. The strategy should include a well-founded assessment of the current and possible future performance (including transport capacities) of all transport modes. The aim should be to strengthen intermodality and each mode of transport according to its potential. Greater account should be taken of the fact that, in order to make rail freight transport attractive, efficient inward and outward road haulage must be guaranteed, e.g. by increasing permitted total weights. The development of the rail network for passenger and freight transport must be promoted.

Recognising global nature of air and maritime transport

Measures to increase the ecological and sustainable efficiency of air transport must be promoted. A European mobility strategy therefore also requires modern air traffic management, which must be encouraged at EU and Member State level. The air transport industry is also undergoing fundamental changes as digitalisation and networking continue to develop. This potential must be promoted in order to strengthen the efficiency, flexibility and resilience of passenger and air freight transport. The rapid and demand-oriented implementation of the Single European Sky is of great importance in this context. The BDI rejects any further burden on air transport by tightening the requirements of the European emission trading scheme (EU-ETS) for aviation.

The planned inclusion of maritime transport in the EU-ETS must be viewed critically. An international solution at the level of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is necessary to avoid carbon leakage and to maintain a "level playing field" for maritime transport. The highly international character of shipping requires a global approach to reduce negative externalities and ensure a level playing field in international competition. The strategy should therefore avoid distortions of competition and address measures to achieve climate objectives in maritime transport at IMO level.