Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area

Investing the network

Train on euro shaped tracksTransport has to be planned over the long term. Decisions taken over the next few years will define the landscape for decades. But considerable investment is needed to improve infrastructure across the EU. Europe is lagging behind other global leaders and public money will not be enough. To deliver a high-quality service we need new private money and new ways of securing investment.

Why we need to invest...

  • The EU has more than 4.5 million km of paved roads, 212 500 km of railway lines and 41 000 km of navigable inland waterways.

    Source: EC estimations based on data from Eurostat, UIC and national sources

  • Since the last enlargement in 2007, EU transport policy covers most of the continent and 500 million citizens. The new Member States have only 4 800 km of motorways and no purpose-built high-speed rail lines; conventional railway lines are often in poor condition.

    Source: Energy and Transport in Europe – Statistical Pocketbook 2010.

  • A well-performing transport network requires substantial resources. The cost of EU infrastructure development to match transport demand has been estimated at over € 1.5 trillion for 2010-2030. An additional investment of a trillion euros in vehicles, equipment and charging infrastructure is needed to achieve emission reduction goals. The completion of the TEN-T network requires about €550 billion by 2020, out of which some € 215 billion are for the removal of the main bottlenecks.

    Source: EC calculations based on TENtec Information System and the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358 pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] .

  • Freight transport activity is projected to increase by around 80% by 2050 compared to 2005, while passenger traffic should grow by 51%.

    Source: PRIMES-TREMOVE and TRANSTOOLS transport models pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

  • European skies and airports risk saturation without substantial investment to support the deployment of Europe's air traffic management system (Single Sky). Air passenger travel is expected to grow by over 50% by 2020, and freight by 125%.

    SourceTRANSTOOLS transport model pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]  (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

  • In 2000-2006, the EU invested €859 billion in its transport infrastructure.

    Source:  Steer Davies Gleave, 2009, "Ex Post Evaluation of Cohesion Policy Programmes 2000-2006, Work Package 5A: Transport", First Intermediate Report pdf - 6 MB [6 MB]

Investment decisions are long term…

  • The average lifetime of a plane is around 30 years, of ships around 28 years and train rolling stock is replaced approximately every 35 years. 

    Source: Pridmore et al, 2009, An overview of the factors that limit new technology and concepts in the transport sector

  • It can take up to 20 years to build a motorway, from planning to construction. The average cost per km varies depending on the location and complexity of the route. It can be as low as €7.1 million and as high as €26.8 million.

    Sources: Geldidee magazine, 3/2007; Press relations 

  • It has been estimated that the present value of investments required for developing the electric road transport infrastructure in the EU would be in the range of €80-140 billion.

    Source: PRIMES-TREMOVE transport model pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]  (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

Last update: 01/06/2011 | Top