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With the contribution of the LIFE programme of the European Union - LIFE14 ENV/GR/000611

Policymakers should not give up on multimodality

As the EU moves into the era of “smart mobility”, Dan Wolff wonders whatever happened to the idea of multimodal transport. Just because road freight innovates faster than other modes doesn’t mean policymakers should give up on multimodality, he argues in this interesting article.

Back in 2001, the European Commission was all about modal shift from road to greener transport modes. In the 2010s, multimodality and intermodality became the new EU religion for transport. It seems that we are now moving to an era of smart mobility, regardless of how many modes are involved.

Rail freight struggles to remain competitive and continues to lose market shares. While the EU average modal share of rail freight reaches 18%, the road sector still reigns supreme with 75% despite being responsible for over 70% of transport greenhouse gas emissions. This is far from the objective set by the 2011 White Paper on Transport, which called for shifting “30% of road freight over 300 km to multimodal transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050”.

Policymakers should not give up on multimodality just because road innovates faster than other modes. However, the future of rail freight also lies in its own ability to innovate (interoperability, automation, signalling, noise mitigation…).

Dan Wolff is managing partner at  Eurotran, an advisory firm specialised in EU transport policies. Laure Roux is a consultant at Eurotran.

For more information: click here.

The LIFE GYM [LIFE14 ENV/GR/000611] project is co-funded by the LIFE programme, the EU financial instrument for the environment.


The sole responsibility for the content of this report lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.


Start Date: 15 September 2015 – Duration: 35 months

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