Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area

Reducing barriers to free movement

Train and boat going through red tapeThere is still much work to be done to remove the many barriers – technical and administrative – that are holding back transport users, businesses and citizens. Movement across the EU has got easier, thanks in part to the single market, but is still not free enough. These barriers cost us time, money and energy and more needs to be done to make travel easier whether it be for goods or people.

  • Each EU country has its own safety certifications for train rolling stock that represent a major barrier to expanding international passenger and freight services.  Estimated cost of each national recertification is between €1-4 million, and can take up to two years.

    Source: European Railway Agency

  • The Thalys high-speed train through France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands has to adapt to seven different signalling systems. The EU currently uses seven gauge sizes and seven types of electric currents (with different voltages and frequencies, and alternating or direct current, etc).

    Source: ERTMS

    Gauges and currents: Energy and Transport in Europe – Statistical Pocketbook 2010

  • Today international hauliers need in their vehicle the Eurovignette, 5 different national vignettes and 8 different tags and tolling contracts if they wish to drive on all European tolled roads without stopping at tollbooths.

    Source: European Commission

  • In 2008, close to 9 million flights crossed EU airspace, or an average 25 000 flights a day. In the EU, 27 air traffic management systems add an average 49 km to each journey.

    Source: Commission Communication on SES II, COM (2008) 389 final .

  • Removing barriers in the EU and opening up markets to competition has had a profound impact. Air transport liberalisation has boosted the number of air passengers and routes served. The EU now has 20 low-cost carriers, representing 40.2% of the internal EU market – in 1990 there were none. Scheduled passenger carriers have risen from 135 to 152, and the average number of routes inside the Union has increased by 140% from 1 680 to 4 000.

    SourceOfficial Airline Guide database

  • An EU-registered ship travelling from Antwerp to Rotterdam can require the same amount of paperwork as a ship travelling to Rotterdam from Panama.

    Source: ‘European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers pdf - 454 KB [454 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) '

  • EU laws will bring the number of freight train tail lights and plates down from 18 to two, making it easier for trains to cross borders.

    Source: Draft Commission Decision concerning the technical specification for interoperability relating to the 'operation and traffic management' subsystem of the trans-European conventional rail system

  • The trans-European transport networks (TEN-T), which represent 25 800 km of key European corridors, have nine north-south connections linking the continent, but only four east-west ones.

    Source: TENtec Information System

  • Urban access policies have been introduced to many cities across the EU. However, the various authorities use their own criteria and enforcement means: out of 58 urban access schemes, 42.6% charge a daily rate, 25.9% charge per trip, while the others don’t charge anything at all.

    Source: ISIS, 2011, Study on Urban Access Restrictions. pdf - 9 MB [9 MB]

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Last update: 09/08/2011 | Top