Calls for action to tackle the volume of transport, or at least its growth, have frequently been formulated. They have come on the level of experts including the Commission's own expert group on transport and environment, but also on the highest political levels in the EU. In its integration strategy , the Transport Council states "It is necessary to ensure that economic growth can continue without necessarily entailing traffic growth with an increase in the negative effects of transport". The conclusions from the European Council in Gothenburg in June 2001 state that "A sustainable transport policy should tackle rising volumes of traffic and levels of congestion, noise and pollution [.]. Action is needed to bring about a significant decoupling of transport growth and GDP growth, in particular by a shift from road to rail, water and public passenger transport." The volume of transport is also a concern in the 6th Environmental Action Programme which calls for "decoupling economic growth and the demand for transport with the aim of reducing environmental impacts".
DG Environment has launched a study on the unintended transport-generating effects that EU policies themselves may have. This study is a limited, initial survey that points the way for necessary follow-up with the policy sectors concerned.
Some related activities:
The SPRITE project (Separating the Intensity of Transport from Economic Growth) was funded under the 5th Framework Programme for research. Its outcome can be found at http://www.its.leeds.ac.uk/projects/sprite.
Council strategy on the integration of environment and sustainable development into the transport policy submitted by the "Transport " Council to the European Council of Helsinki. Council document 11717/99 TRANS 197 ENV 335, 11 October 1999.