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More and better public transport is the key to decarbonised mobility in Europe


21 Jun 2011



The European Union Committee of the International Association of Public
Transport (UITP) calls on the European Parliament to set the right priorities!
The European Union Committee of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) calls on the Members of the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament to set the right priorities when discussing the EU White Paper on Transport ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ tomorrow. Low or zero-carbon urban mobility in Europe will require major investments and can only be achieved with more and better public transport.

In this respect, technological innovation and modal shift are key factors.

“The vision of decarbonised urban transport for the coming decades, as proposed in the Transport White Paper of the European Commission, has to rely on high-quality public transport networks responding to the future mobility needs of citizens. Replacing conventionally fuelled cars by electric cars will just lead to ‘green congestion’ and will not solve mobility problems in cities,” underlinedTony Depledge, President of the UITP EU Committee.

In Europe today, urban mobility consumes yearly 140 million tons of oil equivalent, and emits 470 million tons of CO2 equivalent (i.e. 8% of total emissions). Public transport in urban areas represents 21% of motorised mobility and is responsible for roughly 10% of transport-related GHG emissions.

Public transport is already helping cities to better manage their transport energy consumption. Despite energy-efficiency improvements made by the private car industry in recent years, public transport consumes on average 60% less energy per passenger/km.

Today, between 40 and 50% of public transport is already powered by electricity. Public transport has thus already been a major and robust electro-mobility provider for decades and is willing to decrease further its carbon footprint.

The smart use of resources through an efficient management of energy on-board and throughout the whole system is a key point.

Buses account for 50-60% of total public transport in Europe, and 95% still use fossil fuels. Longterm decarbonisation efforts obviously include electric buses, but also second-generation biofuels. Electric cars are best deployed in captive car fleets complementary to public transport, such as taxis or car sharing.

Rail transport in urban areas is already running nearly exclusively on electricity. In the last ten years, passenger rail transport decreased its specific energy consumption by 22%. Finally, public transport also offers additional features that could deliver improved GHG performance, such as eco-driving or traffic management measures.

In addition to technological developments and innovations, achieving the EU’s 20/20/20 objectives requires strong modal shift ambitions. In line with the UITP ‘PTx2’ strategy of doubling the public transport market share worldwide by 2025, the EU Committee strongly underlines that technology alone will not deliver the solution for urban mobility. The decarbonisation objectives can be achieved only with a mix of policy measures promoting high-quality collective transport modes. An increase in cleaner cars will not solve congestion problems and other difficulties linked to the use of space and energy in our cities.

Notes to the Editors

The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) is the international network of public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry. It is a platform for  worldwide cooperation, business development and the sharing of know-how between its 3,400 members from 92 countries.
UITP is the global advocate of public transport and sustainable mobility, and the promoter of innovations in the sector. Visit
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Press Contact: Sarah D'Angelo | UITP Press Junior Manager
Direct phone: +32 (0)2 6636639 | Fax: +32 (0)2 6601072 |