The railway, key in the ecological transition

THE TRANSPORT SECTOR IS CURRENTLY GOING THROUGH A PERIOD OF CHANGE. TECHNOLOGY, DECARBONISATION, SMART MOBILITY, THE INCREASE IN POPULATION IN CITIES OR THE TRAVELLER AT THE CENTRE OF EVERYTHING ARE SOME OF THE KEY POINTS THAT THE INDUSTRY FACES.

According to EU data, the transport sector contributes to approximately 5% of the EU’s GDP, employing more than 10 million people in Europe. With regard to Spain, and according to data from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA), this same sector represents 4.27% of GDP and generates some 961,600 jobs in Spain (5% of total employment).

In contrast, it is also one of the largest consumers of energy and one of the main causes of greenhouse gases emission in steady increase. Also based on data from the European Union, transport emissions account for around 25% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. In Spain, the situation is no different, since the transport sector is the main generator of CO2, with more than 27% of emissions.
That is why it becomes of vital importance the commitment to the means of transport that are more respectful with the environment, as well as the tools and initiatives that help achieve the objectives proposed by the European Union: to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

One of these initiatives developed by the European Commission to achieve this end is the European Green Deal which, financed with a third of the €1.8 trillion of investments in the NextGenerationEU recovery plan, as well as the EU’s seven-year budget, sets out the key elements that should structure climate action so that the EU can become that carbon-neutral and competitive economy between now and the european Union. 2050 to which it aspires. In the first instance, it adopted a set of proposals to adapt EU climate, energy, transport, and taxation policies to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The European Green Deal focuses its actions on 8 axes: climate, energy, agriculture, industry, environment and oceans, transport, regional financing and development, and research and innovation.

As far as transport is concerned, the European Union estimates that a 90% reduction in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions is needed by 2050. To this end, the European Executive proposes five key areas of action within the European Green Deal: promoting zero-emission vehicles, ships, and aircraft as well as low-carbon and renewable fuels; a shift towards emission-free airports and ports; achieving sustainable interurban and urban mobility; and introducing carbon pricing mechanisms.

Within the transport axis – one of the 8 that make up this European Green Deal – the ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy’ is an initiative presented at the table with which the Commission wants to guide European transport towards 3 pillars: the European Green Deal itself, digitalisation, and resilience to future crises.

In this context, railway transport is the mode of collective transport with the lowest emissions per passenger and therefore, it has a decisive role in the fight against climate change.

And only by promoting the railway as the backbone of national transport and sustainable mobility policies can the objectives set by the European Union and those established by the international community be achieved. In fact, and among the main milestones of the European Union – and to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 90% by 2050 – it is intended, among other measures, to double high-speed railway traffic by 2030 and to triple it by 2050. This is also the year in which the EU wants to double the freight railway transport.

 

European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy
Pillar Actions
Digitalisation Smart mobility

Modernise the transport system, making it safer and more efficient

Promoting a connected and automated multimodal mobility

Driving innovation and the use of Artificial Intelligence data for mobility

Resilience Driving more resilient mobility models

Source: European Union