The White Paper on Transport

In March 2011, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive strategy (Transport 2050) for a competitive transport system that will increase mobility, remove major barriers in key areas and fuel growth and employment. At the same time, the proposals will dramatically reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050. Hence the White Paper’s subtitle: “towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system.”


The White Paper on Transport spells out 10 strategic goals and benchmarks. The following four are the main focus of TRANSFORuM:

  • Goal 1: To halve the use of ‘conventionally fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; phase them out of cities by 2050; achieve CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030
  • Goal 3: 30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50 % by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. To meet this goal will also require appropriate infrastructure to be developed.
  • Goal 4: By 2050, complete a European high-speed rail network. Triple the length of the existing high-speed rail network by 2030 and maintain a dense railway network in all Member States. By 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail.
  • Goal 8: By 2020, establish the framework for a European multimodal transport information, management and payment system.

The White Paper is part of the tradition of other major transport-related European strategic documents. In 1992, the European Commission published a White Paper on the common transport policy, which was dedicated to market opening, in line with the priorities of the time. Almost ten years later, the 2001 White Paper emphasised the need for managing transport growth by achieving a more balanced use of all transport modes.

Other previous transport-related documents include “Logistics – Keeping freight moving” (2007), “Greening Transport” (2008), “Maritime Transport” (2009) and “The Future of Transport” (2009). Now, the 2011 White Paper takes a global look at developments in the transport sector, at its future challenges and at the policy initiatives that need to be considered. It takes on the challenge of seeking a deep transformation of the transport system, promoting independence from oil, the creation of modern infrastructure and multimodal mobility assisted by smart management and information systems. It is put forward together by providing a roadmap to a low-carbon economy by 2050 and a new Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 and forms an integral part of the ‘Resource Efficiency’ initiative of the Commission.

In other words, it formulates an integrated vision of how transport should look in the year 2050. It also spells out some intermediate goals for the year 2030 in order to make the scope of the transformation task more tangible and to facilitate monitoring.

Shortly after the release of the White Paper, a call for proposals of the 7th Framework Programme was issued under the Directorate General on Transport for a “forum to help implement the future orientation of the overall transport system as defined by the White Paper” (call ID TPT.2012.1-1). In particular, such a forum would focus on the four White Paper goals related to urban mobility, high-speed rail, freight and ITS. A group of organisations which later became the TRANSFORuM consortium proposed a systematic and comprehensive strategy to organise such a forum with all major stakeholders and to feed its results back to all actors – including policy makers at the European level.

This context also explains the project title: It is clear that we are facing massive changes, a complete transformation of a whole sector. A synchronised approach of all stakeholders, incumbent and emerging, is required to achieve this goal. This synchronisation requires frank, transparent and targeted dialogue, that is, a well-moderated platform or forum. TRANSFORuM fits this role exactly as a truly independent broker and facilitator. It is independent in the sense that it is free from any vested interests. It is not, however, blind to substantive issues. On the contrary, the TRANSFORuM consortium consists of some of the most respected experts in their field in all of Europe.

This combination is the guarantee for transparent, credible, rigorous and relevant results.