Road transport policies in Europe

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What are potential road transport policies in Europe (EU-30) during the period 2010-2050 such that

  • they maintain or improve the logistics of the transport system,
  • they help to achieve the climate change mitigation targets,
  • they are economically feasible?








Road transport policies.
European climate scenarios
Policy European BAU European policy scenario
Basic transport policy None of the policies below All policies below
Increased energy efficiency None except this All except this
Behavioural changes None except this All except this
Alternative drivetrains None except this All except this
Economic policies None except this All except this
Tigther speed limits None except this All except this
Transport/road planning None except this All except this

The logic of the assessment is the following: there are two main climate policies for Europe. The first is business-as-usual (BAU), the second is an active climate policy with lots of actions reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first does not contain any specific transport policies over those that are in the policy pipeline anyway. The second contains all of the transport policies identified on this page. The Basic transport policy is the major decision between these two main policies: it is either none or all.

This major decision can be adjusted by choosing only one specific policy, or choosing all but one. In theory, there are of course 2n (26 = 64 in this case) possible policy combinations if there are n separate policies and yes/no decision for each. However, the assessment of this becomes so complex so quickly that it is not feasible. By restricting ourselves to only one or all but one we can get an overview of the suite of policies also an idea of each individual policy by assessing only 2(n+1) (2*(6+1) = 14) policy combinations.

Description of specific policies:

  • Increased energy efficiency
    • Reference scenario: Energy efficiency of vehicles increases slowly (energy consumption decreases by ? % between 2010 and 2030).
    • Policy scenario: energy efficiency increases rapidly by using lighter materials (4 % fuel savings), aerodynamic design for heavy-weight vehicles (10 % fuel savings), low resistance tyres and tyre pressure monitoring (6 %), efficient engines (15 %), start-stop systems (4 %). These combined are estimated to result in 34 % fuel saving between 2010 and 2030.
  • Behavioural changes
    • Reference scenario: No change in car driving.
    • Policy scenario: More economic driving (1 % fuel saving), more cycling (4 % less car driving), more bus instead of cars (net change 4 % less car driving), total 9 % saving in fuel consumption.
  • Alternative drivetrains
    • Reference scenario: ?
    • Policy scenario: 70 % of new private cars will be hybrids (with 24 % fuel savings) and 30 % will be electric cars. In addition, 80 % of light duty vehicles and buses will be hybrids vehicles.
  • Economic policies
    • Reference scenario: No new taxes on transport fuels, driving, or city tolls.
    • Policy scenario: City tolls widely used (8 % fuel saving), fuel tax increased (6 % reduced fuel use, in total 14 % fuel saving.
  • Tighter speed limits
    • Reference scenario: ?
    • Policy scenario: None defined.
  • Transport/road planning
    • Reference scenario: ?
    • Policy scenario: None defined.

See also