Preparing for transport in the future
At the Council meeting on 9 October, EU transport ministers held a public debate on a communication from the Commission "A sustainable future for transport". It aims to stimulate the discussion on the EU's future transport policy from 2010 to 2020.
The paper identifies challenges in the transport sector for the decades ahead, in particular:
• Ageing - a higher ratio of older people - will increase the demand for safe and reliable transport services, with appropriate solutions for users with reduced mobility.
• Migration is expected to rise, partly to mitigate the effects of an ageing work force. Migrants' demands for transport both inter EU and to their countries of origin are also expected to increase. The expanding mobility of workers and growing urbanisation should also step up the load on the transport networks.
• Climate change and the transition to a low-carbon society pose another challenge to transport in the future. Decreasing oil reserves and higher fuel prices underline the urgency of improving the environment-friendly and energy-efficient aspects of transport.
During the discussions, ministers emphasised that the main fields of action should be better integration of all modes of transport, intelligent transport systems, a clear innovation strategy and financing of infrastructure.
Council Press release (pdf)
Commission communication (pdf)
Council webcast of public debate