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Decarbonising Transport in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DTEU (Decarbonising Transport in Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-01-31

Problem addressed and importance for society
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 ITF has recently evaluated the emission reduction potential of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by countries in support of the Paris Climate Agreement. While these targets represent a significant improvement relative to projected emissions levels in a business-as-usual scenario, they still fall short of the “well-below two-degree” scenario set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement. Thus, a significant gap remains between stated ambitions with respect to emissions objectives and the policy measures that have been put in place to achieve them.

Research on the effectiveness of individual measures or combinations of measures that will be necessary to reduce emissions is therefore an important priority. Having reliable projections of transport demand and related CO2 emissions under different policy environments, as ITF proposes to establish in this project, is crucial to support the development of effective policy pathways to reduce CO2 emissions.

Overall objectives
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. This dialogue will aim to 1) gather information regarding which transport policies may have the greatest potential, 2) identify which modelling techniques and data inputs are most relevant, and 3) disseminate analytical results regarding effective policies or policy packages for reducing transport CO2 emissions.
In this first report period, the following work-packages were completed:

WP1: Decarbonising Passenger Transport:
The team has advanced all ITF’s in-house transport models with regards to passenger transport (i.e. urban and non-urban passenger transport). This entailed policy mapping and data collection activities to make ITF’s in-house global models more relevant and detailed for Europe, and to integrate relevant passenger transport CO2 mitigation actions into the models to assess their impact.

WP2: Decarbonising Freight Transport:
o The team has advanced ITF’s in-house global freight transport model. This entailed policy mapping and data collection activities to make ITF’s in-house global models more relevant and detailed for Europe, and to integrate relevant freight transport CO2 mitigation actions into the model to assess their impact.
o The team has also built from scratch a transport model that assesses and forecasts freight activity at the urban level, i.e. for urban areas in Europe. This task involved extensive data collection and processing efforts. This component also entailed policy mapping exercises to ensure relevant transport CO2 mitigation actions in the area of urban freight transport are reflected in the model.

To support the above activities, first stakeholder engagement activities took place (part of WP4 of this project). Mainly, two stakeholder expert workshops were carried out, bringing together experts from industry, academia, NGOs, intergovernmental organisations and representatives of the European Commission. These workshops helped ITF developing ideas in how to improve their transport models further, and how to integrate which most relevant transport CO2 mitigation measures into their models.
The work of workpackages 1 and 2 resulted in a total of four ‘model reports’ that provide an overview of ITF’s transport models, how they were advanced in the context of this project, and how and which transport CO2 mitigation measures were integrated.
The workshops resulted in two summary workshop notes, that provide main outputs of the discussions during the workshops, and give insight into the agenda and participants of each of the workshops.
This project supports decision makers across Europe (and beyond) identify transport policies that can contribute to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement. It will do 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.
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