New green and international focuses for TEN-T

By Chris Sleight10 February 2009

The European Commission has proposed a new policy framework for the Trans European Transport Networks (TEN-T), which would see a greater emphasis on combating climate change and better links with the EU's neighbours.

Commenting on its Green Paper, the commissioner responsible for Transport, Antonio Tajani said, "We have to develop forward-looking responses to tomorrow's needs for transport infrastructure in Europe. While building on 15 years of experience, we need to harness new ideas to redirect and streamline the policy approach and - more importantly - the commitment to ensure its full implementation."

The tentative proposals include finding ways of combining all transport modes, making the best use of intelligent transport systems and incorporating new technologies into TEN-T. The Commission says this will lead to more efficient, safe and secure transport systems, which would in turn lower carbon emissions. It also stresses the social and economic benefits of better transport links with the EU's neighbours in its Green Paper.

In practical terms, this is likely to mean more emphasis on port infrastructure as maritime transport grows. The idea of interoperability of transport systems means more investment is likely to be targeted to freight handling systems and passenger connections in areas where different modes of transport meet.

Finally, the nod towards ‘new technologies' signals a renewed commitment to intelligent transport systems and more sophisticated pricing for users to drive more efficient use of infrastructure.

The Commission's Green Paper is now open to comment. In parallel, the European Parliament is preparing its own report on future transport policy, and this is expected to be released over the next few months.

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