EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, welcomed today the agreement - in trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament and Council - to back proposals for tougher vehicle testing rules to save lives. Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. More than 5 people die on Europe's roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. The agreement reached will be submitted for final approval to vote in both institutions.
The European Commission is stepping up its support to towns and cities in a new "urban mobility package" adopted today. The Commission will reinforce the exchange of best practice, provide targeted financial support and invest in research and development. In addition, it is encouraging the development of "sustainable urban mobility plans" to stimulate a shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transport in urban areas.
The European Commission today adopted "Shift2Rail", a new public-private partnership to invest just under €1 billion in research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways. Rail is amongst the most efficient and climate-friendly forms of transport, but currently it only carries about only 10% of European cargo and 6% of passengers each year.
Eurobarometer: Half of all Europeans are satisfied with their railways, but more needs to be done to improve the service offer
According to a Eurobarometer survey published today, 58% of Europeans are satisfied with rail services in their country. However, comparatively few Europeans take the train. In some countries, the number of users who consider it overly complicated to buy tickets is worryingly high. And some 19% of Europeans do not use the train because of accessibility issues. Persons with reduced mobility complained in particular about bad accessibility of train carriages and platforms and a lack of information on accessibility when they are planning their journey.
The European Commission launched today Calls for proposals worth €350 million to finance European transport infrastructure (TEN-T), for projects in all EU Member States and for all transport modes: air, rail, road, maritime and inland waterways.
The EU's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has today updated its guidance on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers. It confirms that these devices may be kept switched on in "Flight Mode" (non-transmitting mode) throughout the journey (including taxiing, take-off and landing) without a risk to safety. EU Transport Commissioner, Vice President Siim Kallas has asked EASA to accelerate its safety review of the use of electronic devices on board in transmitting mode, with new guidance expected to be published early in 2014.