EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

The transport sector - what future?

Sector Futures provides specialised reports based on the monitoring of existing foresight studies, scenario work, innovation studies and reliable data sources. The third article in the series on the transport sector (May 2005) explores some of the issues that have arisen from policies of the Commission White Paper 'European transport policy for 2010’, and from subsequent policy documents.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, mobility is an essential component of Europe’s economic and social development. The transport of people and goods is more extensive and far-reaching than ever. The transport sector provides a significant source of employment with 7.5 million people working in the transport services sector in the EU25 in 2002. In the majority of the EU Member States the road transport industry, particularly freight transport, employs between one-third and one-half of all those working in the sector. Any structural changes in the transport industry may therefore impact on conditions of work and employment in the sub-sectors concerned.

At the same time, transport uses up a considerable proportion of people’s income. In 2002, private households in the EU25 spent €745 billion per year or roughly 14% of their total consumption on transport. About one sixth of this sum (€ 124 billion) was spent for purchased passenger transport services, the rest (€ 621 billion) for private transport, mainly cars.

However, there are growing concerns about the negative side-effects - such as air pollution, climate change, degradation of landscape and ecosystems, noise, congestion and safety problems - of a continuously growing demand for transport. The question is how will Europe cope with the increasing constraints and side effects of transport, without major disruption to the economy and to people’s lives?

From defining trends and drivers...

The January 2005 article, Transport: Where are we going? (pdf 272 kb), outlines the role of transport in Europe, and examines some of the trends and driving forces that will map its future.

…to shaping the future of the transport sector

The second article in the series, Transport: Which direction? (pdf 568 kb) explores the future of the sector in Europe, by examining different potential scenarios. First it looks at the sector from a ‘business as usual’ perspective assuming that past trends will continue, before exploring some of the implications of this scenario. Forecasts based on this assumption predict continuing growth in transport demand for both goods and people. However, there are a number of factors that challenge this view of the future and the continuation of past trends is not necessarily inevitable.

Policy implications

The third and last article in the transport series, Transport: Policy issues (pdf 270 kb), moves on to explore some of the issues that have arisen from policies of the Commission White Paper European transport policy for 2010: Time to decide, and from subsequent policy documents. It focuses on the broader area of transport policy and should be read in conjunction with Balancing conflicting pressures: the automotive sector of tomorrow (pdf 228 kb), the third article in EMCC’s series on the automotive sector.

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