publications 2015

A year is almost over and my experience with the new job is growing.

Among other things, I have contributed to two articles this year that you may access online. One article on the current sustainability goals for the EU and another one on an important externality rail noise.

Transport poses two major sustainability challenges: greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and dependence on imported oil. Railway transportation has very favourable characteristics on both counts, making modal shift in favour of rail a naturally attractive policy goal.


Railways have an almost negligible impact on climate and environment compared to other modes of transport. The only remaining environmental challenge for the European rail sector is noise – a side effect of railway operation. For European Railway Review, Libor Lochman, Executive Director of The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and colleagues Ethem Pekin (Environment Economist) and Enno Wiebe (Senior Advisor for ERA and Research-Related Issues), explain that the sector has a long history of noise mitigation and is committed to continuing to make progress based on cost-effective solutions.

Both were published at the European Railway Review.


white paper 2011

Transport is a key element in generating economic progress through trade and labour forces mobility. Ensuring the distribution of goods throughout the single market from manufacturer or producer to end-user, transport contributes to the welfare of the EU and its citizens. For Europe, transport also represents an important sector of the economy, which is accounting for almost 10 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employing 10 million Europeans. There has been a continuous growth in traffic in Europe, reflecting increased mobility levels, rising income levels, increased social and leisure time, and the abolishment of national barriers within Europe. In contrast to the positive effects of transport, the increase in mobility of persons and goods leads to a concern at a European level, where the European transport policy plays a pivotal role in achieving sustainable mobility in Europe.

An integrated transport policy at the European level dates back to the Community’s founding Treaty of Rome (1957), where the CTP was defined as one of the Community’s priority tasks. However, the progress towards the realisation of a CTP was slow. November 1993 marks a turning point in the evolution of the CTP, when the Treaty of Maastricht came into force. Coupled with the establishment of the European Economic Area, it provided a new basis for the Community to contribute to the establishment and development of transport infrastructure (Notteboom, 2000). From six members in the 1950s to 27 in 2007, the EU promotes an integrated CTP to regulate competitiveness, cohesion and environment. Figure below depicts the evolution of the European transport policy.

EU policy timeline
European transport policy timeline
Pekin, 2010

Section below is quoted from my PhD thesis. On March the 28th, the European Commission adopted a roadmap of 40 concrete initiatives for the next decade to build 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. By 2050, key goals will include: No more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities. 40% use of sustainable low carbon fuels in aviation; at least 40% cut in shipping emissions. A 50% shift of medium distance intercity passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and waterborne transport. All of which will contribute to a 60% cut in transport emissions by the middle of the century.

From this document I would like to highlight the reference on freight & intermodal transport:

24. Freight shipments over short and medium distances (below some 300 km) will to a considerable extent remain on trucks. It is therefore important, besides encouraging alternative transport solutions (rail, waterborne transport), to improve truck efficiency, via the development and the uptake of new engines and cleaner fuels, the use of intelligent transport systems and further measures to enhance market mechanisms.

25. In longer distances, options for road decarbonisation are more limited, and freight multimodality has to become economically attractive for shippers. Efficient co-modality is needed. The EU needs specially developed freight corridors optimised in terms of energy use and emissions, minimising environmental impacts, but also   attractive for their reliability, limited congestion and low operating and administrative costs.

26. Rail, especially for freight, is sometimes seen as an unattractive mode. But examples in some Member States prove that it can offer quality service. The challenge is to ensure structural change to enable rail to compete effectively and take a significantly greater proportion of medium and long distance freight (and also passengers – see below). Considerable investment will be needed to expand or to upgrade the capacity of the rail network. New rolling stock with silent brakes and automatic couplings should gradually be introduced.

27. On the coasts, more and efficient entry points into European markets are needed,avoiding unnecessary traffic crossing Europe. Seaports have a major role as logistics centres and require efficient hinterland connections. Their development is vital to handle increased volumes of freight both by short sea shipping within the EU and with the rest of the world. Inland waterways, where unused potential exists, have to play an increasing role in particular in moving goods to the hinterland and in linking the European seas.

Under the “Ten Goals”, the European Commission is aiming to shift 30% of road freight over 300km to other modes by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050. This will be facilitated by efficient & green transport corridors. Infrastructure needs are mentioned under EU-wide multimodal TEN-T ‘core network’. By 2020, a framework for a European multimodal transport information, management and payment system will be established.

Going through the Strategy and the number of initiatives suggested I am not very optimistic about the future of European transport policy. I expected more concrete scheme and especially better linkages to other Community policies such as regional policies and the RTD.

You can download the White Paper 2011 here.

the electric generation

Today’s WSJ Europe included a special report on Tomorrow’s Transport. Christian Wolmar is touching the future of battery-powered cars.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=%22electric+car%22&iid=9884417″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”163″ /] Legislation and Regulation

Governments across Europe will have to set the right framework to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles. So far several have announced the introduction of subsidies to bring down the cost of vehicles. The UK government is proposing a subsidy of £5,000 on the estimated average £32,000 price of an electric vehicle.

The highest incentives will be in Norway and Denmark, where electric vehicles will be exempt from vehicle purchase tax, worth more than €10,000 ($13,000).

Merely reducing the cost of vehicles is not enough. Governments will also need to ensure that battery charging facilities are relatively cheap and sufficiently available. France has a target of one million charging points by 2015. There are also numerous safety considerations such as preparing emergency services to deal with accidents involving vehicles that have considerable electric power.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=emissions&iid=9884287″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /] Think you can just plug your new electric car into the mains? Unfortunately, it is not so simple. The rate of recharge and the voltage are issues, and so is the design of the plugs required. Nissan, for example, suggests that owners would need a special box, with would cost several hundred pounds, fitted by an electrician in the home or office to ensure that recharging batteries is safe and carried out in a way that maximizes battery life.

But this may prove to be unpopular with potential owners. Meanwhile, no standard has yet been developed for recharging points and countries look set to adopt different approaches. The Netherlands, for example, is set to mandate a five pin plug while neighboring Belgium is developing a two pin version.

Then there is the expensive issue of providing recharging points. This is a chicken and egg problem. Not many people will buy electric cars if they fear they cannot recharge, which means governments need to provide a network of charging points. And yet, governments will find it hard to justify the investment with only a handful of electric cars on the road.

Several countries, notably France and Ireland, or cities, such as London, have programs to provide large networks but they will take several years to build.

Read more here

travel smarter, live better

European Mobility Week 2010: ‘Travel Smarter, Live Better’

United Kingdom, Hackney

From 16 to 22 September 2010, hundreds of towns and cities across Europe and beyond will take part in European Mobility Week, the biggest global event dedicated to sustainable urban travel. The 2010 campaign theme – Travel Smarter, Live Better – recognises the detrimental effects that current urban transport trends have on citizens’ health. The aim is to encourage local authorities to promote alternatives to the car and highlight their positive impact on public health and the environment.

Belgium, BrusselsCommission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: “Most of the world’s people live in urban areas. Most of our daily journeys start and end in urban areas, so we really depend on urban transport systems. We all suffer from the negative effects of urban transport such as congestion, accidents, poor air quality or noise, which clearly diminish our quality of life. These problems are not local matters but concern the EU as a whole. By working together, I am certain we can come up with innovative and sustainable ways to tackle the mobility problems in cities and give people more alternatives that would suit their needs.”

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Too many Europeans rely on their cars for short journeys. This is a concern: more driving means more accidents on the road and more air pollution. The theme of European Mobility Week 2010 – Travel Smarter, Live Better – should be a wake-up call to local authorities to think more about the impact of travel policies on the urban environment and quality of life and help people make smarter, healthier choices.”

Travel Smarter, Live Better

The heavy use of vehicles in cities, particularly private cars, creates many health challenges for citizens. These include injuries and fatalities due to road accidents, respiratory infections and diseases from air pollution, and chronic conditions such as obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Other risk factors to physical and mental health include social isolation and community breakdown triggered by traffic congestion and reduced public space, and noise pollution leading to sleep disturbance and stress.

Mobility Week is intended to change people’s travel behaviour by offering environmentally-friendly alternatives to the car. The public get the chance to sample alternative forms of transport and local authorities have the opportunity to test-run new services and infrastructure. A lasting legacy is ensured as participating cities are encouraged to launch at least one permanent practical measure. The week culminates in a Car Free Day, officially designated as 22 September, when participating towns and cities set aside areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

Mobility Week highlights for 2010

Among the many events being organised in Bologna, Italy, is an auction of second hand bicycles found abandoned around the city. The event is being managed by a university students’ association in collaboration with the Municipality of Bologna. Lucky bidders will receive safety tools, brochures about road safety and other promotional material and gadgets.

London’s Smithfield Market is the venue for the capital’s first City Cycle Style event on 17 September celebrating cycling as a fashionable form of transport. Participants are invited to turn up in their best cycling outfit and meet cycle fashion designers, try on outfits and sit on the saddles of some of the latest two wheel designs. Part of the money raised from the event will go to a charity which collects second-hand bikes and ships them to Africa.

The city of Brno in the Czech Republic has developed a range of activities promoting Nordic walking, cycling and inline skating. The programme includes guided city tours, training and public exercises accompanied by open air music performances.

Growing participation

Mobility week has seen a continuous increase in the number of cities taking part since its launch in 2002. Last year, a record 2,181 cities representing some 237 million people registered to take part. More than 4,440 permanent measures were introduced as a result of the week-long campaign. European Mobility Week’s successful model is also increasingly being adopted by countries outside Europe including Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Japan and Taiwan.

European Mobility Week is coordinated by three non-governmental organisations specialising in urban environmental issues: Eurocities, Energie-Cités and Climate Alliance. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment provides financial support and organises the annual European Mobility Week Awards for the best programme of activities and measures.

For further information visit the European Mobility Week website:

Click here for the press pack for more information.