Newsletter
Issue n° 169 - 28 March 2014

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

Transport infographics

Transport Business Summit 2014: opportunities and challenges of transport

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas and the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport hosted the second Transport Business Summit on 27 March in Brussels. The conference brought together industry leaders and decision-makers to discuss transport's role in driving Europe's economy forward. The summit participants also saw an illustration of how EU policy has evolved over the last 5 years with the latest infographics, the presentation of the 2014 Logistics Performance Index by the World Bank and the World Economic Forum's view on the "Connected World" of the Future.

More news

Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain) and Ljubljana (Slovenia) win EU awards for sustainable urban mobility


25 March 2014

Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain) and Ljubljana (Slovenia) win EU awards for sustainable urban mobility

The European Commission has announced the winners of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award for 2013 - Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain) - and of the European Mobility Week Award - Ljubljana (Slovenia). Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas and Commissioner Janez Potočnik presented the cities with their awards at a joint award ceremony in Brussels, Belgium yesterday.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for mobility and transport, said: "I am impressed by the commitment of all the finalists to working across different areas to improve urban transport. Looking beyond transport is vital if we are to tackle our cities' mobility challenges. This is also why we are reinforcing our support for coordinated action, as described in our recent communication on urban mobility. Rivas Vaciamadrid is a very deserving winner because it stands out for the joint efforts of its mobility department and the environment, safety, education and health sectors, as well as for its actions for better road safety."

Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik said: "As every year, the European Mobility Week award finalists push the ambition and innovation always higher. I am delighted to see the campaign programmes produced that are a great contribution to the promotion of sustainable living in the EU. Sustainable cities are essential if we are to ensure their liveability for future generations."

Meet the winners

The population explosion of Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain) is unique, having massively expanded from 500 inhabitants in 1980 to 80 000 in 2013. This has presented the city with extraordinary challenges for its urban mobility. To reduce the number of journeys made by car, Rivas Vaciamadrid has developed programmes which aim to improve road safety, whilst also reducing noise and air pollution. With its "School Paths" programme - a municipality-wide road safety educational programme - the city facilitates discussion between parents and teachers on their school’s mobility. Rivas Vaciamadrid stood out as the best example of this year’s theme (integration of economic, social, and environmental policy criteria): its sustainable urban mobility plan is the result of extensive cooperation between the mobility department and the environment, safety, education and health sectors, through the establishment of cross-sectoral working groups.

Close behind were the finalists Strasbourg (France) and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain). Find out more about the sustainable urban mobility plans award finalists here.

Ljubljana - the capital and largest city of Slovenia - confirmed its commitment to the European Mobility Week campaign by setting up an extensive programme of activities and events promoting sustainable travel, and by introducing permanent measures in favour of public transport, cycling and walking. While maintaining a consistent focus on the 2013 theme - "Clean Air, It's Your Move" - the city successfully engaged a wide variety of stakeholders, including research centres, schools, kindergartens, sports associations and citizens associations. By extending the existing noise and air quality measurements, Ljubljana was able to get a better overview of the impact of motorised traffic on public health and quality of life. The city also used the occasion to carry out research on travel behaviour and gather data on bicycle usage. On the occasion of car free day, Ljubljana restricted car access to Slovenska Street, one of the main boulevards of the city that was heavily affected by car traffic. This area will now be gradually redesigned as a pedestrian zone.

Runners-up Östersund and Budapest also demonstrated their commitment to sustainable urban mobility by developing creative campaign formats and introducing new transport solutions. Find out more about the EMW award finalists here.

Background

The annual Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award is presented to local authorities which are excellent examples of how to address urban mobility challenges through developing and implementing sustainable urban mobility plans. Each year has a particular focus and the 2013 awards recognise cities with mobility plans illustrating the "integration of economic, social, and environmental policy criteria". The 2013 SUMP Award attracted 21 applications from 11 EU countries. An expert jury assessed the applications on their achievements and selected the winning city to receive the prize of EUR 10 000 to support their awareness-raising activities on sustainable urban mobility.

The European Mobility Week (EMW) award rewards the local authority which most actively promotes sustainable travel and introduces new measures to encourage a shift towards sustainable urban transport. Finalists were selected for their ambitious and innovative campaign programmes and for the consistent manner in which they linked their activities to the 2013 EMW theme of "Clean Air, It's Your Move!" The winning city will work with a professional production company to film a three-minute promotional clip highlighting its achievements. Together with the other finalists and shortlisted cities, the winning city will also be promoted as an example of best practice. An independent panel of transport experts assessed all eligible applications before shortlisting the 10 best local authorities. The 2013 EMW award received 30 applications from 12 countries.



TEN-T project: Study for German rail connection to Fehmarn Belt link awarded EU grant


28 March 2014

The European Union will support to the tune of €14.6 million from the TEN-T Programme a study which will pave the way for the construction of a new rail line from Hamburg north to the city of Bad Oldesloe.

The study, selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call, concerns the preliminary and final design phases for the construction of a new 48 km railway track between Hamburg and Bad Oldesloe (near Lübeck). It also includes the preparation of the necessary applications for construction. The new rail track will be built parallel to the existing one, covering the southern German access to the "Railway axis Fehmarn belt" (TEN-T Priority Project 20).

The study will contribute to improving operations on PP20, establishing key links and interconnections as well as eliminating bottlenecks. The additional rail track and the unbundling of the traffic flows will lead to a more efficient use of the existing capacities and will hence prevent delays. A shift of traffic flows from road to rail is also to be expected, leading to an improvement in the environmental performance of transport in the region and Germany as a whole.

For more information, please consult the project's page: http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/ten-t/ten-t_projects/ten-t_projects_by_country/germany/2012-de-20012-s.htm



TEN-T project: Safe parking area on Danish motorway to receive EU co-funding


27 March 2014

The European Union will support with just over €400,000 from the TEN-T Programme a project to build a safe and secure rest area on the E20 motorway near the city of Kongsted, in Denmark.

The project, which was selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Call, will support the construction of a secure and safe rest area for cars and trucks on the motorway between Køge and Ringsted. The new rest area will consist of 64 parking spaces for passenger cars and 35 parking spaces for trucks, including special 200 metre long spaces for extra-long vehicles. To make it safer at night, the rest area will be illuminated. An Intelligent Transport System (ITS) will also be created to inform drivers on parking availability.

The project is a vital part of implementation of the Danish Rest area strategy, in line with Directive 2008/96/EC on road infrastructure safety management.

For more information, please consult the project's page: http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/ten-t/ten-t_projects/ten-t_projects_by_country/denmark/2012-dk-91165-p.htm



TEN-T project: Business to Motorways of the Sea transport study wins EU support


26 March 2014

The European Union will support with nearly €5.7 million from the TEN-T Programme a study to promote the operational cooperation of the public and private sectors to increase the efficiency of the "Motorways of the Seas" (TEN-T Priority Project 21).

The study, selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Programme, will contribute to establishing a European maritime space without barriers by facilitating and simplifying compliance with regulations and by promoting intermodal sustainable transport solutions that reinforce the Motorways of the Sea (MoS) strategy.

Six Member States (Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom) are aiming to overcome Information and Communication Technology (ICT) obstacles in providing seamless transport operations in the multimodal supply chain.

This will boost the development of a MoS network and improve European cohesion by simplifying specific administrative procedures and reducing barriers to intra-EU trade.

For more information, please consult the project's page: http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/ten-t/ten-t_projects/ten-t_projects_by_country/multi_country/2012-eu-21020-s.htm



TEN-T project: EU co-financing to help Port of Stockholm redevelopment


25 March 2014

The European Union will co-finance with over €14 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to revamp the infrastructure of the Port of Stockholm in Sweden and contribute to the realisation of the "Nordic Triangle" (TEN-T Priority Project 12).

The project, which was selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Programme, concerns the redevelopment of Stockholm's inner city port facilities in the Värta-Frihamnen area.  It targets the expansion of Värtahamnen pier to create an efficient, modern and environmentally-friendly facility for both passenger and freight transport. The pier will be extended and renovated, the existing railway line will be upgraded and a new terminal will be built.

Once finalised, the project will boost the long-term efficiency and sustainability of the Port of Stockholm and contribute to eliminate one of the most serious bottlenecks on Priority Project 12. It will also help secure Stockholm's place as an important port in a region with growing transport needs.

For more information, please consult the project's page: http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/ten-t/ten-t_projects/ten-t_projects_by_country/sweden/2012-se-91035-p.htm



Commissioner's corner

Speech on Transport: driving Europe’s economy forward

"EU transport policy has always focused on overcoming obstacles between Member States – whether technical, administrative or regulatory. The ultimate objective is to create a single European transport area with fair competition conditions, for - and between - the different forms of transport: road, rail, air and waterborne."

Siim Kallas

Read the full speech.


Transport Business Summit Brussels, 27 March 2014

Ladies and gentlemen

Many thanks for accepting my invitation to the second Transport Business Summit.

Transport is a vital component for fulfilling three freedoms of the European single market: the free movement of persons, services and goods.

It ranks highly in terms of its business contribution and produces almost 5% of European GDP.

Our transport and storage services sector employs more than 11 million people: about 5% of the EU's total workforce. If you include transport equipment manufacturing, it accounts for 8% of employment – or 18 million jobs.

A business first must be profitable to stay viable, which is the result of balancing revenue against expenditure, salaries and other costs. However, the profits made across the transport sector are rather uneven.

Land transport tends to be the most insolvent, mostly because of the high number of small and medium size road freight businesses that are more exposed to financial weakness.

In aviation, between 2000 and 2011 there were more than 100 insolvencies of EU airlines providing scheduled services. Since the start of the economic crisis, at least ten European governments have bailed out flag carriers suffering from spiralling debts.

Insolvencies are less frequent, however, in the rail sector - where public subsidies are used to support provision of services.

The salient point from all this is that if there is no profit, no economic viability, not only is there the threat of bankruptcy, but there are also no jobs.

So what has the European Union done – and what is it doing now - to make sure that transport remains a profitable business?

Most importantly, we have created a pan-European strategy for building and investing in transport infrastructure. This is the Trans-European Transport Network, backed up by dedicated financing in the Connecting Europe Facility to make sure it becomes a reality on the ground.

Funding for transport infrastructure for the 2014-2020 budget period has more than tripled – to €26 billion - compared with the previous budget period.

One of the best ways to stimulate growth is to remove more barriers. The European Union has always been economically successful when it has done this.

This is why EU transport policy has always focused on overcoming obstacles between Member States – whether technical, administrative or regulatory.

The ultimate objective is to create a single European transport area with fair competition conditions, for - and between - the different forms of transport: road, rail, air and waterborne.

The barriers are not only physical. There are others which are more hidden.

Barriers to efficiency, fairness and transparency.

Barriers to the free movement of people, services, goods and capital.

In aviation, for example, there have been many successes. But there are still many barriers.

Take safety, where effective standards have made the European Union's record among the best in the world, with the European Aviation Safety Agency and common safety rules that apply both to industry and to civil aviation authorities.

At the same time, however, we are having to work hard to get rid of the fragmentation that still plagues European airspace.

Many regional and periphery airports remain poorly connected.

Air travel is more congested and expensive than it needs to be.

The Single European Sky has yet to be completed and made operational.

I am frankly disappointed with its development in the last few years.

There is a lot of resistance to reforming air traffic management. Given that air traffic in Europe is expected to nearly double by 2030, unless we do something right now, the chaos is just going to get worse.

I'm sorry to say that the concept of Functional Airspace Blocks, which is an ambitious and sensible one, has not worked as well as I had hoped. There is only so much the Commission can do, so I think that Member States do have to shoulder some of the blame for the lack of progress.

Today, nine FABs are in place – and we cannot be happy with a situation where one block works well and the rest don't, because that means the overall fragmentation of airspace is still there.

Or let's look at rail: whose inefficiencies, network gaps and protected markets reduce its attractiveness to such an extent that freight and passenger traffic often prefer to use roads instead – adding to congestion and pollution.

We have taken some important steps towards creating a Single European Railway area.

On the technical side, full interoperability looks to be on its way. This means that we will have a competent and efficient European regulator in the form of the European Railway Agency to make sure that standards are aligned across Europe. Not only technical standards for rail equipment but also product standards like journey planning, ticketing and passenger rights.

But we are far from seeing all barriers to a fair pan-European market for rail services removed. I would say that there are two main issues to solve.

Firstly, it's normal that a rail company offering cross-border services should pay to use rail infrastructure. But it's not normal that the money paid ends up in the pockets of a rival who can then use it to cut the price of its own service.

Secondly, there are the subsidies paid by the taxpayer.

The amounts spent on supporting regional rail services are huge. And there's no doubt that the functioning of regional rail services – commuter trains - is politically sensitive and important.

Why should we then prevent the taxpayer, the commuter who uses rail services every day, from being able to choose between different rail travel options?

For me, the fundamental choice for railways is clear.

Either we have more cross-border, business-based rail activities all over Europe.

Or our railways simply fade away as a serious alternative to road and air transport. That would mean an irreversible slide down the slippery slope to a Europe where railways are a luxury toy only for a few rich countries – and are unaffordable for most in the face of scarce public money.

We are removing barriers in maritime transport, where the shipping sector is often deterred by heavy red tape – especially customs. This put coastal shipping at a competitive disadvantage and doesn't bring any added value to the public.

It is why we launched the Blue Belt concept, to reduce the costs and delays that can make maritime transport less attractive for moving goods within the EU internal market.

So far, we have not managed to introduce much more market dynamism in European ports.

However, as you know, our proposed review of EU ports policy is now on the table. It aims to promote a more open business environment, raise port performance across Europe, guarantee equal conditions for competition and provide legal certainty for all involved.

Ladies and gentlemen: you may have spotted some common threads running through these proposals and plans that I have just been describing.

Over the years, Europe has seen many good ideas and plans for improving its transport systems.

But we often encounter huge opposition to some of these ideas, so they often end up either delayed or diluted. That means there is always more to be done to let the market work openly and fairly.

In Europe today, I see too many views that consider the market economy to be a problem - not a solution. There is suspicion, even hostility at times, to the very idea of it. This is dangerous: it causes rising unemployment and falling competitiveness compared with other parts of the world.

Then there is the issue of conflicting interests, both economic and national.

In some areas of transport policy – railways and ports spring to mind - we are battling against lingering vested interests to inject some competition into closed and protected markets.

Time and again, strong Member State and industry interests together adopt a purely national, short-term perspective.

This prevents us from taking and implementing the tough decisions needed to complete the single market.

Europe is strongest and most successful when it is united and acts together. But when we don't act together, our global rivals are usually ready – and quick - to exploit the divisions.

Ladies and gentlemen

There are some fundamental policy principles that must stay at the forefront of European transport policy in the years ahead.

The first is to build and complete an integrated and joined-up transport network.

Close on its heels comes the second:

There can be no backsliding on the goal to reduce Europe's oil dependency.

We all know the reasons. They haven't changed.

Reliability and availability of oil supply, environmental considerations and commitments, to name just a few. This has to be a continued effort for everyone to make, while we gradually raise transport's use of alternative fuels.

That work will be boosted by the European Union's continued strong support for transport research, backed up by substantial EU funding to encourage innovation in areas such as intelligent transport systems.

We have already made great inroads with decarbonising transport, with a particular focus on the urban environment. And congestion, especially in cities, remains a major social, economic and environmental problem to be tackled.

We should continue the work on dismantling all types of barriers, push for EU-wide standardisation across the transport sector to avoid bottlenecks and delays, and continue to open up the remaining closed transport markets.

Here we could look at the road sector, Europe's main form of transport. While it is relatively open as a market, we do still have obsolete restrictions on cabotage.

But the main problem in this sector is investment – pan-European investment in particular - and maintenance of road infrastructure.

Up to now, this has been considered mainly as a regional priority – even a negative priority, since roads generate by far the most congestion in transport.

The widespread view has been that EU transport policy should limit the use of roads as much as possible, in favour of other forms of transport.

Perhaps this view has been too narrow.

We also have problems with poor cross-border links in the wider European road network. The road system in Eastern Europe is a particular example of this and puts Europe to shame.

While we now have the Connecting Europe Facility to fund infrastructure, it has its limits - whereas there are other ways to end the years of chronic underinvestment in the road sector.

The solution suggested by transport planners is charging. It follows the 'user pays' principle, a cornerstone of a fair and efficient pricing policy that also implies changes in road transport cash flows. Just as trains pay track access charges and airlines pay airport fees, those who use roads could also pay towards their maintenance and improvement.

These are just a few remarks about transport priorities that will be with us in the next few years. Of course, none of us here today has a crystal ball. We cannot predict all that the future will bring us.

But I do believe that if we stick to the policy principles and philosophy that have guided us well over the last few years, then we will be in an excellent position to rise to new transport challenges – and to make the most of them.

Thank you all for your attention and for attending today.

I wish you a successful Transport Business Summit.



Figure of the month

8 billion

26 Billion euro in funding will be provided by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to transform today’s patchwork of roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified trans-European transport network.

We were asked about...

Question asked by Oldřich Vlasák (ECR)

(31 January 2014)

Subject: Question on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

In order to secure co‐financing for transport infrastructure from EU funds, the Czech Republic will have to assign transport projects to the operational programme for transport or to the CEF in the upcoming programming period of 2014‐2020. I should like to put the following questions regarding the CEF to the Commission:

  1. Will the Commission apply any rules on the allocation of CEF funds in respect of specific transport projects other than those laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 or Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013? An example could be rules on the distribution of funds between individual types of transport infrastructure (motorways, rail, etc.).
  2. If so, what would these rules be? What specific EU legislation would the Commission take as the basis for implementing these additional rules? 

Read the answer


Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission

21.02.2014

1 and 2. The CEF funds for transport will be allocated in accordance with the provisions of the regulation (EU) No 1315/2013(1) and the regulation (EU) No 1316/2013(2).

Pursuant to Art. 21(3) of the regulation (EU) No 1316/2013, the Commission adopted a delegated act(3) detailing the transport funding priorities to be reflected in the work programmes for the duration of the CEF.

In parallel with the delegated act, the communication ‘Building the Transport Core Network: Core Network Corridors and Connecting Europe Facility’(4), provides information on the potential budget and instruments available under the new framework.

As specified in its general objectives in Article 3, the CEF is an instrument aiming at enabling the Union to achieve its sustainable development targets, by promoting cleaner modes of transport. Therefore, the focus of the CEF, including for the EUR 11.3bn transferred from the Cohesion Fund to the CEF, will be on rail, inland waterways, the deployment of new technologies and telematic applications. Projects on the TEN-T road network can benefit from the CEF in the form of innovative financial instruments, and are also eligible to other EU instruments such as the European Structural and Investment Funds. The CEF contribution to road infrastructure projects in the form of grants will remain limited. This is reflected in the proportion of road projects in Part I of Annex I to the CEF Regulation.



Transport and You

Events

3 April 2014

Workshop on trends and prospects of jobs and working conditions in transport


Workshop on

Trends and prospects of jobs and working conditions in transport

3 April 2014

Universitaire Stichting - Fondation Universitaire
Egmontstraat / Rue d'Egmont 11
1000 Brussels

In the framework of the initiatives foreseen in the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper, DG Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission launched a study aimed at assessing the labour market situation in the transport sector at the light of the ageing of the working population. Part of this study is carried out by JRC, the other part by the research-based consultancy firm Panteia and the advisory firm PwC. This study, which is nearing completion, assesses the sufficiency of labour and skills supply in transport up to 2020. It evaluates in particular the risks of critical skill shortages and possible remedial action to avoid them. To do so it examines the influence of working conditions on labour and skills supply, as well as the availability of training facilities to meet these possible shortages.

This study will provide a very practical input to the strategic planning of transport firms and to the career decisions of current and future workers while offering updated information to their respective representatives at Member State and EU level. It will also provide elements of judgement for the Commission and Member State governments to consider whether any specific policy action is needed.

Preliminary results show (future) shortages in many professions. These seem to be caused by ageing, unattractive working conditions, insufficient training, changes to required competences, etc. The relatively unattractive working conditions are shown to be partly due to the characteristics of the sector, can to some extend be related to market opening processes and are perception rather than reality in some other cases.

Matching demand and supply for labour and skills at a fair level of job quality will not be an easy task. It is clear THE solution does not exist; multiple efforts by many jurisdictions and stakeholders are required!

The study so far entailed literature and data analysis, modelling, expert interviews, dedicated MS survey on training and a targeted stakeholder consultation. The study will finish with a workshop with experts from a wide range of stakeholders. The goal of the workshop is to present, discuss and validate the provisional results of the study and especially on possible solutions for the identified problems/risks. Via this e-mail we would invite you to join this workshop. A copy of the draft synthesis will be sent to those intending to participate in the workshop the 27th of March at the latest.

The workshop will take place on thursday the 3rd of April 2014. It will be held in English (no translations).

The workshop is aimed at the following types of organisations:

  • EU officials (JRC, DG MOVE, DG EMPL, Cedefop, OSHA)
  • EU Transport Agencies (ERA, EMSA, EASA)
  • Member State officials
  • Employer Organisations
  • Trade Unions
  • Relevant EU representative organisations employers/employees
  • Key companies in passenger and freight sectors
  • Scientists
  • Skills Councils

Representatives of organisations and firms or individual experts who wish to attend the workshop should inform Mr Paul Vroonhof, Team leader of the study on the trends and prospects of jobs and working conditions in transport, at the firm Panteia which is organising the event, by writing to the e-mail address: p.vroonhof@panteia.nl.



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