Transport modes


Good road transport is essential for business - 75% of European inland freight is transported by road.

Citizens also use road transport. Cars account for about 73% of passenger road traffic.

Effective and efficient road transport provides benefits that result in multiplier effects such as:

  • better access to markets
  • employment opportunities
  • additional investment in local economies


Research and innovation in road transport is crucial.

Researchers are working on:

  • safety
  • production technology
  • new vehicle concepts
  • decarbonising car engines
  • improving air quality

Research policy in road will greatly contribute to sustainable living, especially in cities where car transport is the main source of dangerous pollution.


Road vehicle automation is a major trend that will shape the future of road transport. It could help to address many of the major challenges of today's transport system such as: user safety, energy efficiency, air quality and congestion. It could also enhance individual drivers' comfort and convenience, and make transport more accessible to both people with reduced mobility and the elderly.

To transform road transport in Europe, the EU provides funding through its Horizon 2020 programme which funds calls for new technologies in the sector.

Two Horizon Prizes on cleaner engines (Engine Retrofit for Clean Air and the Cleanest Engine of the Future) were launched in 2016 to help achieve zero-emission road transport in Europe.

You can read more about these prizes by following the link on the side of this page and in the funding and prizes section.


To help achieve the above goals, there is a partnership between the EU and the private sector dealing with road transport – the European Green Vehicles Initiative.

This initiative covers:

  • research
  • technological developments
  • innovation and demonstration of energy efficiency in road transport vehicles
  • the use of new types of non-conventional energies in road transport such as electricity, CNG and LNG, renewable and tailored fuels.

Collaboration with automotive research stakeholders is ensured through ERTRAC, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council. ERTRAC is a European technology platform which brings together road transport stakeholders to develop a common vision for road transport research in Europe.

Success Stories

A successful example of smart public transport technology: EBSF2 - European Bus System of the Future

This EU-funded project aims to lower operating costs and cut carbon emissions by encouraging the prioritisation of energy-efficient solutions and by providing new bus services. Smart IT solutions should also enable public transport authorities to offer more integrated transport solutions in urban areas.

More about EBSF2


CITYMOBIL: A successful example of more sustainable urban mobility

Every day, Europe's streets are clogged with excessive traffic and blocked by accidents, roadworks and other hazards. It is little wonder that 90% of Europeans think that traffic congestion in their cities and neighbourhoods needs to be improved.

Thanks to this EU-funded project, the future of road travel is going in the right direction – no petrol, no drivers and less pollution.

More about CityMobil