This report takes a look at general European transport and environmental trends, and the (likely) influence of the policy focusing in the White Paper, 'European transport policy for 2010', in realising a favourable shift in these trends.
The possible environmental effects of policy proposals in the White Paper are evaluated by focusing on three main subjects in the Paper:
- modal shift and cleaner urban transport policy proposals
- alternative fuels.
A recent European research programme has shown that policy scenarios, including White Paper modal shift measures (targeted investments in rail and inland waterways), fail to result in modal shift effects in passenger transport on a European level, while the modal shift impacts in freight transport on a European level are very modest. Modal shift as a way of achieving environmental gains seems to be more promising on an urban level.
Internalisation of external costs
The current progress in restructuring prices towards better internalisation of external costs in the EU is slow. Model studies show that marginal cost-pricing schemes in Europe proposed in the White Paper could result in overall welfare gains and environmental improvements. Recent studies show biofuels and hydrogen to offer potential for a transport system with lower CO2 emissions and, in the case of hydrogen and natural gas, lower urban air- polluting emissions. However, alternative fuels are, at present, expensive.