A strategy unveiled in Brussels showed a vision of the EU with electric trucks and boats, autonomous vehicles, hyperloop, hydrogen aircraft, drones transporting passengers and artificial intelligence underpinning the mobility data space. The European Commission said mobility must become inclusive, smarter, greener, more affordable and sustainable by mid-century.
The European Commission presented its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy together with an action plan of 82 initiatives for the next four years. The document outlines a green and digital transformation of the transportation system in the European Union. As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, the announcement adds.
The target is to make nearly all cars, vans, buses and new heavy-duty vehicles emission free by 2050. Rail freight traffic is seen doubling in parallel to the development of a fully operational, multimodal Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) for sustainable and smart transport with high-speed connectivity.
The strategy will shift the way people and goods move across Europe and make it easy to combine different modes of transport in a single journey, according to the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans. The EU’s executive arm said it aims to reorganize transportation by making it competitive, green, accessible and affordable, in a way that would help a lasting recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
The commissioners declared they want at least 30 million zero emission cars in operation and 100 European cities to become climate neutral by 2030. In the same period, scheduled collective travel for journeys under 500 kilometers should be carbon neutral and automated mobility will be deployed at large scale, while zero emission marine vessels will be market-ready, followed by large aircraft within five years after that, they said.
The European Commission aims to get 30 million zero emission cars on EU roads by 2030
Some of the plans are to install three million public charging points in the next ten years, expand cycling infrastructure and adjust carbon pricing to provide better incentives for users. The EU intends to introduce zero emission airports and ports – for instance through new initiatives to promote sustainable aviation and maritime fuels.
Superfast travel through low pressure tubes
Passengers should be able to buy tickets for multimodal journeys and freight to seamlessly switch between transport modes, the strategy adds. The EU said it would open the way for innovation and the use of artificial intelligence, for instance by fully supporting the deployment of drones and unmanned aircraft and further actions to build a European Common Mobility Data Space.
The decision makers in Brussels said they would introduce the conditions for the development of autonomous vehicles, hyperloop, hydrogen aircraft, electric personal air vehicles and electric waterborne transport.
Elon Musk has launched the open source hyperloop design and several other companies picked up on the idea of transporting people and goods through vacuum tubes above ground or in tunnels
Hyperloop is a concept for an elevated or underground high-speed transportation system in tubes with low air pressure. An open source design was devised by entrepreneur and engineer Elon Musk from Tesla and SpaceX, though the idea dates all the way back to the 18th century and there were numerous historical attempts to implement it. His Boring Co. makes tunnels for such projects.
Several other companies including Virgin Hyperloop One are developing and testing projects around the world.
Inclusion of people with low income, remote regions
The evolution should leave nobody behind: it is crucial that mobility is available and affordable for all, that rural and remote regions remain connected, and that the sector offers good social conditions and provides attractive jobs, the strategy reads.
“Whilst mobility brings many benefits for its users, it is not without costs for our society. These include greenhouse gas emissions, air, noise and water pollution, but also accidents and road crashes, congestion, and biodiversity loss – all of which affect our health and wellbeing. Past efforts and policy measures have not yet sufficiently addressed these costs. The transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased over time and represent now as much as a quarter of the EU’s total,” the European Commission said.