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Sustainable transportation



In the field of transportation, the concept of durability is polyhedral. One can talk about economic durability, mainly focused on solving congestion problems experienced by transportation means in many places, but also focused on the interiorization of the resulting costs. One can also speak about environmental durability, directly linked to the impact of transportation systems on the environment, via emissions of gas and polluting elements or the accidents caused by the dumping of dangerous substances into the sea, for example. And one can refer to the application of concrete agreements and treaties on the subject such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, adopted by the European Union in 2002.


The white book on transportation

In September 2001, the Commission adopted its white book on the European transportation transportation policy entitled, « The European policy on transportation for 2010 »: the hour of choice, which brings together a number of initiatives and legislative proposals to adopt in order to develop the common transportation policy for 2000-2010. The three main messages included in this document are as follows:

  • Rebalance the division between the different types of transportation in order to guarantee mobility in an expanded Europe
  • Fight to reduce traffic congestion and its environmental effects.
  • Reorient transportation policy in favor of users, sho demand more security, quality and protection when they need to get from .one place to another. 


Euroregion and transeuropean networks

The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 recognized the importance of setting up trans-European networks (RTE) in the fields of transportation, energy, and telecommunications.

This was a new expertise of the Community bringing together, in one single concept, a group of actions which up until then were implemented under the aegis of other European Union policies (transportation, industry and regional policy);. Transeuropean networks are an essential component in terms of strengthening the interior market and economic growth, as well as being important for the economic and social cohesion of the EU. These objectives must be achieved thanks to the definition, planning, and implementation of strategic transportation lines and priority projects which could substantially improve communications between EU member countries. During the last revision of the policies regarding trans-European transportation networks in 2003, several projects were defined as a priority for development of the network, including the high-speed Madrid-Barcelona-Perpignon rail link (before 2010) and the grand capacity crossing of the Pyrénées in the less immediate future. The two projects are based in the Euroregion and play a fundamental role in defining the concrete transportation strategies of its members.


Road transportation

While it is clear that we must invest significantly in rail transportation, this can never totally replace road transportation, which shall continue to play a key role in the development of a structured system of transportation as well as in preserving the equilibrium of the territory, and in improving services available to places where trains can’t go. It is important to increase the capacity of the main road networks to prevent congestion which could put into question the global efficiency of the economic system. In addition, we must ensure that trucks in transit do not disturb mobility in metropolitan zones, by implementing actions that separate their traffic depending on their routes.


Sea routes

During the last revision of the Trans-European Transportation networks in 2003, sea routes were introduced for the first time as a priority project, to be encouraged, as a means to better balance transportation means. In accordance with the recommendations of the Commission, the development of sea routes is as much a priority as the development of rail or road networks. Sea routes are an efficient means to guarantee service to the most peripheral regions of the European Union. The European Commission has more and more financial resources needed to create new integrated maritime routes. Recently, a new call for ideas was launched to choose the initiatives which will be awarded Marco Polo grants.


Euroregion and airports

Concerning the Euroregion airport network, the main line of action is to reinforce the system of euroregional airports, so as to set up between the different airports cooperative mechanisms to create a system of multipolar knots so as to limit air traffic congestion and provide users an ever-wider range of destinations. The airport system must be capable of providing good services in regional aviation, making it possible to provide and concentrate services in airports planned for long haul flights. To be competitive in a global environment, fluid, easy air links must be provided. The peripheral character of the Euroregion territory is such that it must be equipped with a good network of airports.