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Decarbonising Transport in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DTEU (Decarbonising Transport in Europe)

Reporting period: 2021-02-01 to 2022-01-31

In facilitating trade and passenger mobility, the transport sector in the European Union plays an integral role in making intra- and extra-EU economic activity possible. Transport-related activity itself accounts for about 5% of GDP in the EU. As such, its development will be an important condition for continued economic growth and prosperity. Transport also provides citizens with access to opportunities, such as jobs, education and other services. The transport sector also represents a significant source of emissions, as road transport alone is responsible for 24% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the EU. Unlike emissions from other sectors (e.g. energy, industry, residential), emissions from transport continue to rise, due in large part to rising transport demand.

Decarbonising the transport sector is therefore an important priority for EU Member States and the international community. In its Nationally Determined Contribution in support of the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. In alignment with this agenda, the European Commission has identified specific targets for the transport sector: reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050 by at least 60% relative to 1990 levels.

The objectives of this project are the following:
1) Develop a suite of transport models that address the EU’s policy-making priorities regarding carbon emissions from transport. The models will notably have the capacity to take into account the impacts resulting from transport policies that affect local (urban) and international transport in Europe (EEA + Turkey), and assess the potential spill-over effects of such EU-wide policies on global transport demand and accompanying CO2 emissions.
2) Facilitate dialogue among stakeholders (e.g. policy makers at different jurisdictional levels, international organisations, transport operators and their representative organisations) regarding possible transport policy pathways throughout the duration of the project.

Conclusions of the action can be summarised as Ten recommendations for policy makers for transport decarbonisation in Europe:

1 Act now. Do not delay policy decisions.
2 Set policy and build infrastructure so it adapts to changing conditions. Invest in multiple solutions and contingency plans.
3 Create cross-sectoral governance structures with the power to address decarbonisation challenges.
4 Use decarbonisation to make transport more resilient, sustainable, accessible and equitable.
5 Communicate the wider benefits of transport decarbonisation to ensure citizens' acceptance and involvement.
6 Increase support for innovative technologies and services and ensure new solutions are introduced where they have most impact.
7 Empower local authorities to take transport decarbonisation actions that correspond to local specificities.
8 Invest in digital transport infrastructure and use the decarbonisation opportunities that digitalisation has to offer.
9 Design stimulus packages for economic recovery from the pandemic to accelerate the transition to low-carbon transport and energy generation.
10 Help transport sector companies to accelerate the uptake of green solutions by reducing uncertainty through transparency and collaboration.
By the end of the third reporting period, all five work packages have been completed:

WP1 – Decarbonising Passenger Transport / Model advancement
In this work package the ITF enhanced its global urban passenger and international passenger transport models to allow for the assessment of transport CO2 mitigation measures in Europe.
This allowed to build and assess scenarios that reflect different possible future trends regarding
i. socio-economic developments,
ii. technological developments, and
iii. transport policy making.
Respective scenarios were developed in WP3.

WP2 - Decarbonising Freight Transport / Model advancement
In a first sub-task ITF addressed urban freight transport by building a new model that is capable of assessing CO2 emissions from urban freight transport (i.e. urban goods deliveries).
In a second sub-task ITF enhanced and refined the existing ITF International Freight Model for the European context, and accommodated the assessment of relevant CO2 mitigation measures.

WP3 - Scenario development
In this work package, the ITF developed a set of scenarios that reflect possible futures of the transport sector and their impact on transport CO2 emissions in Europe and globally. The following sub-tasks were completed:
- Development of a baseline scenario
- Development of alternative policy scenarios
- Refine of scenarios based on inputs received from stakeholders (see WP4)

WP4 - Stakeholder engagement and knowledge transfer
In this work package, the ITF carried out several stakeholder engagement activities to ensure the relevance of this project, developed models and scenarios for policy making in the EU.
Notably, four stakeholder workshops were carried out:
- 2 for the development of the enhancement of ITF global models (1 on passenger transport; 1 on freight transport) - feeding into WP1 and WP2
- 2 for the development of policy scenarios (1 on passenger transport scenarios; 1 on freight transport scenarios) - feeding into WP3
The workshops brought together a broad range of stakeholders that presented their perspectives and advised the ITF team on how to enhance their models/ define realistic, yet ambitious and useful policy scenarios.

WP5 - Dissemination and outreach
- the ITF provided information on the project progress via its social media channels and a dedicated page on its website
- result dissemination events brought together stakeholders to present and discuss the results of the modelling and scenario build exercises, including their implementation feasibility.
- Project deliverables were made accessible via ITF’s project page, this includes:
---> reports summarising the methodologies underlying the ITF global models
---> workshop summary reports
---> a report summarising the scenario outputs and feeding into the final result dissemination events

Furthermore, the project outputs fed the ITF Transport Outlook 2021, the ITF's flagship publication, and allowed the development and continuous update of the ITF's Transport Climate Action Directory (see - an online database of transport CO2 reduction policy measures.
This project supports decision makers across Europe (and beyond) identify transport policies that can contribute to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement. It does so by providing quantitative evidence on the impact of transport mitigation measures and possible transport CO2 mitigation pathways up to 2050. A large share of the effort and resources of this project is dedicated to stakeholder engagement and results dissemination activities, which will both benefit from ITF’s extensive network of transport decision makers in administrations of ITF member countries (and beyond), non-governmental organisations and corporate partners. This way, the ITF can ensure that relevant stakeholders are engaged over the course of the project and make sure that project results are applicable and useful for practitioners. Stakeholder engagement activities further contribute to cooperation among the relevant decision makers and eventually facilitate the implementation of transport CO2 mitigation pathways in the future.
ITF Decarbonising Transport image