Safety Security & Sustainability

   Sustainable Transport
  Sustainable Transport Overview
D2.3.3 Sustainable Transport ILS 7Sep09.pdf

T Katsoulakos & T Tait INLECOM

The concept of sustainable development originated with the 1987 report ‘Our Common Future’ by the World Commission on Environment and Development (known as the Brundland Commission). Sustainable development refers to “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Sustainable development emphasise intergenerational responsibilities and the need for multi-stakeholder coalitions to create the conditions for better quality of life for everyone, now and for future generations.

In 1992 the 'Earth Summit' (UN Conference on Environment and Development) in Rio de Janeiro agreed the Rio Declaration setting out 27 principles supporting sustainable development, a plan of action (Agenda 21) and a recommendation that all countries should produce national sustainable development strategies.

Creating a sustainable future, economically, socially and environmentally requires governments, society, corporations and individuals to rethink their expectations, their responsibilities and their interactions.

The EU's sustainable development strategy (SDS) was originally adopted at the European Council in Gothenburg in 2001 and extended by the European Council in Barcelona. However one of the main issues of the EU's sustainable development strategy is its relationship with the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs. The EU's competitiveness agenda implies that the first requirement is economic growth to enable the EU to tackle environmental and social protection.

The Renewed EU Sustainable development strategy adopted by the EU heads of state and government on 16 June 2006 starts from the need for synergies between the SDS and the Lisbon agenda.

The new SDS identifies seven key challenges with corresponding targets and actions (most of which are repetitions of targets already defined in other policy papers):

   climate change and clean energy

   sustainable transport

   sustainable consumption and production

   conservation and management of natural resources

   public health

   social inclusion, demography and migration

   global poverty and global sustainable development challenges


Environmentally Sustainable Transportation (EST) was defined by OECD as it follows:

“transportation that does not endanger public health or ecosystems and meets mobility needs consistent with (a) use of renewable resources at below their rates of regeneration and (b) use of non-renewable resources at below the rates of development of renewable substitutes.

EU policy for Sustainable Transport (Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our Continent (COM 2006, 314) includes:  

1.     The greening of surface transport: reduction of environmental and noise pollution, including green house gases through technological and socio-economic means; development of clean and efficient engines and power-trains, including hybrid technology and the use of alternative fuels for transport applications in particular hydrogen and fuel cells, taking account cost-efficiency and energy-efficiency considerations; end of life strategies for vehicles and vessels.

2.     Encouraging and increasing co-modality and decongesting transport corridors: development of sustainable, innovative, intermodal and interoperable regional and national transport and logistics networks, infrastructures and systems in Europe; cost internalisation; information exchange between vehicle/vessel and transport infrastructure; optimisation of infrastructure capacity; optimal use of modes individually or in combination (co-modality) to encourage energy efficient means of transport.

3.     Ensuring sustainable and accessible urban mobility for all citizens including the disadvantaged: innovative organisation schemes, including clean and safe vehicles and non-polluting means of transport with lower levels of pollution, new high quality public transportation modes and rationalisation of private transport, communication infrastructure, integrated town planning and transport including their relationship with growth and employment.

4.     Improving safety and security in the design and operation of vehicles, vessels, infrastructures and within the total transport system.

5.     Strengthening competitiveness: improvement of design processes; development of advanced power-train and vehicle and vessel technologies; innovative and cost-effective production systems and infrastructure construction; integrative architectures.


By clarifying the definition of sustainable transport as aimed to balance the interests of the broader set of stakeholders involved in multimodal transport chains, the measurable impact of sustainable transport can be defined across economic, social and environmental dimensions as follows:

·        Economic impact: improved efficiency of multimodal transport chains based on innovative transportation and logistics services, development of 'human capital’, stakeholder engagement in sustainable wealth creation processes at global, European, national and local levels and participation in the management of the effects of globalisation.

·        Social impact: improved mobility and accessibility to transport services meeting high standards for quality, safety and  security, improved labour standards and working conditions , increased interregional trade by means of efficient and low cost transport services and enhancing quality of life in coastal regions

·        Environmental impact: the impact of transport operations on environmental degradation including related emissions, energy consumption and waste.  

 The EU Common Transport Policy for sustainable transport as captured in the SKEMA Policy Index.

The Communication "A sustainable future for transport: Towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system" adopted by the Commission on 17 June 2009 indicates that with respect to the goals of the EU SDS  the European transport system is still not on a sustainable path on several aspects.

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