The European Commission's Latest Study Tackles Demographic Change as an Emerging Challenge in Transport

EC TransportIn 2001, the Directorate General for Transport and Energy of the European Commission published the white paper “European transport policy for 2010: Time to decide“, establishing a strategic agenda for European transport policy for 2010. More targeted annual strategies have been drawn up since 2006, and this year the Commission initiated a debate on the main challenges and opportunities in the transport sector in the long term. The final report on this strategy was released in March 2009.

The “Transvisions” report summarises current and future mobility issues privileging transversal approaches such as environmental, economic and social aspects. The specific issue of older people’s mobility was mentioned in the chapter “Mobility of the elderly”, and the Commission referred to the improvement of transport systems as an essential condition for bringing about a change in attitudes: “Even if collective means of public transport, such as rail, are not currently preferred by older people, this could change with significant improvements in terms of quality (comfort, accessibility, information) and adapted tariffs.”

These “visions” or challenges in relation to older people should in fact be regarded as including all age groups and all stakeholders in order to achieve a sustainable transport system, and the development of such a system is directly linked to the initiatives carried out by local actors. Moreover, the pursuit of well-being for older (or not so old) people should be sustainably supported in order to attain this ambitious paradigm shift.

The “Transvisions” study is referred to as a discussion tool for the Communication on the Future of Transport, which the Commission is expecting to adopt in June 2009. A high-level conference also took place on March 9 and 10, 2009, giving stakeholders an opportunity to express their opinions on the future development of transport in Europe.

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Source: European Commission (DG Energy and Transport)