Transport and traffic connect the economy and people while ensuring peace - challenges: cross-border connectivity, efficient logistics systems high costs of external effects.
"The mobility of the future will shape the lives of young people", opens Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport until 1 December 2019, in her guest lecture at MCI. Transport also means much more than just mobility and infrastructure: "Because transport connects people and companies, it enables cooperation and ensures peace, just as the EU is a peace project at its core".
According to Violeta Bulc, three major forces are driving developments in the European transport sector: there is a lack of cross-border connectivity, i.e. EU-wide transport systems that adequately interconnect the entire economic area. One consequence of this is overloading the Brenner route. Another issue is the efficiency of transport systems. This refers primarily to logistical aspects: For example, until now there has been no standardized e-document for the transportation of goods, which is equally valid in all EU countries, nor a Europe-wide ticketing system for passenger transport. The third point is the so-called external effects, i.e. the negative effects of traffic and transport. These include first and foremost climate change, but also traffic safety and congestion in transport systems. Violeta Bulc adds further interesting facts: The follow-up costs of external effects have now reached EUR 1 trillion. This corresponds to about 7 % of the EU's gross domestic product. Another figure: 25,000 people are killed on Europe's roads every year. This is the equivalent of 125 plane crashes.
"Transport and traffic were of such great benefit to society and the economy that the negative effects were simply ignored for a long time," explains Violeta Bulc the dilemma. Internal combustion engine vehicles, which cause much of the air pollution, are still considered the flagship of European industry, and almost half of Europe's economic output is heavily dependent on transport. No wonder, then, that the discussion about ways out of the misery is making huge emotional waves.
Solution concepts exist on all levels and refer, for example, to decarbonization – the keywords here are "clean energy" and "clean vehicles", or digitization. This category includes autonomous driving, but also completely new concepts such as supplying people from the air (urban aviation) or the "Smart Villages" project, which is concerned with the networking of rural settlement areas. All of these solutions require innovation as a basis, i.e. new technologies, new business models, but also a new type of policy. Here, Violeta Bulc takes citizens to task: "Choose politicians who are ready for change, who are willing to embark on new paths of cooperation, who reform tax systems ... and reward them by re-electing them.
Violeta Bulc sees the fact that the implementation of solution concepts requires staying power as one of the greatest challenges. By 2050, Europe's conversion to "clean energy" should be complete. By then, many small measures should be in place to raise awareness, change people's habits and drive innovation.
Einladungsflyer ( pdf | 291.12K )