ACEA: Focus on All Transport Modes


European Union institutions should revise the modal shift approach to transport policy – a shift from road transport to other modes such as rail – to a co-modal approach to improve the efficiency of each mode of transport, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a position paper.

The paper delineates ACEAs 10 key priorities for European transport policy after 2020.

Historically, European transport policy has been based on an approach of modal shift from road to other modes, rail in particular, ACEA noted in its papers executive summary. Modes may be in competition for certain journeys or for transporting certain goods, but generally speaking the various modes are complementary.

Based on the experience of recent decades, the commission should now revise this modal shift approach. Future policy should aim to improve both the efficiency of each mode of transport and that of the transport system as whole, in order to match the evolving needs of citizens and businesses.

The association also asserted that Europe should approach its infrastructure investment policy based on making the system as a whole more efficient, instead of basing it on individual modes of transport. “Passenger cars are a key part of the transport ecosystem – individual transportation is, and will remain, an efficient solution because of the flexibility it provides,” ACEA noted.

On the emissions side, the association pointed out that implementation of carbon dioxide reduction targets for cars, vans and heavy-duty vehicles does not depend solely on the automotive industry. Indeed, the roll-out of the required infrastructure for [electric vehicle] charging and refueling alternatively-powered vehicles is an essential component, requiring major investments, ACEA stated. The European Commission should use the opportunity of the upcoming revision to the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive to set binding targets for member states on deploying alternative fuels infrastructure.

The association also asserted that EU member states urgently need to step up their efforts to incentivize the use of alternatively powered vehicles through fiscal and non-fiscal measures.

ACEA also pushes in the paper for more investments in road infrastructure, noting that in recent years, most of the EU funding for infrastructure projects has focused on rail networks. Transport infrastructure policy should not be based on individual modes of transport but rather on making transport as a whole more efficient, the association said. Europe should concentrate on projects that promote the most appropriate transport links.

The group recommended that the European Commission develop a methodology for identifying and selecting priority infrastructure projects that include all major transport axes and geographic coverage. Projects should be subject to a strict socioeconomic evaluation and for their high relevance to traffic flows, ACEA suggested. All future projects will there need to be subject to rigorous cost and benefit analyses.

The ACEA position paper is available at the organizations website.

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