White Paper on Transport focus on ITS welcomed but higher costs threaten consumer trust, says FIA

Date

29 Mar 2011

Sections

Transport

White Paper on Transport focus on ITS welcomed but higher costs threaten consumer trust, says FIA.

The focus on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), eSafety Systems and eCall emergency services in the European Commission’s new White Paper on Transport was welcomed today by FIA Region I – representing 36 million motorists across its 100 member clubs - but concerns were raised that the Commission’s moves to restrict mobility and impose unpredictable costs in the long-term could lose the trust of consumers.

Jacob Bangsgaard, Director General of FIA Region I said “The Commission has taken our view that the combination of ITS and improved driver behaviour is the best way to fight congestion, improve safety and lower the environmental impacts of mobility. However, its foc! us on restricting mobility and raising new costs in the long-term risks losing the trust of consumers.”

ITS, eSafety and driver behaviour

Commenting on the Commission’s support for ITS and eSafety systems, Mr Bangsgaard said: “The Commission has recognised the role ITS can play to improve consumption levels and for better management of the road network, while also supporting eSafety Technologies like Electronic Stability Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Support Systems, Speed Alerts, Warning and Emergency Braking Systems, and Adaptive Headlights which have the potential to save lives by tackling the root cause of many accidents on the roads. It has been estimated that for Electronic Stability Control (ESC) alone, 4,000 lives could be saved in Europe each year and more than 100,000 injuries prevented if fitted to all cars. The support for eCall is also important: quicker emergency response times could save another ! 2,500 lives each year.”

“For the first ! time, us ers have been involved in the process as a key driver to improve the sustainability of the transport sector. Take for example eco-driving: long-term analysis shows that the promotion of educational driving schemes can increase the fuel efficiency of passenger cars by up to ten percent”, he said, adding “The technology based approach adopted by the Commission is the right one. Information and communication technologies are fundamental in order to achieve a cleaner and more energy-efficient mobility of goods and people.”

Costs for Consumers

On consumer costs, however, noting that transport continues to play a key role to social integration by reducing the geographical handicap of peripheral countries and regions and bringing EU citizens closer together, with 90% of passengers and 80% of inland freight transport in the EU carried on roads, Mr Bangsgaard said: “The passenger car is the premier mode of transport for t! he vast majority of European citizens. The FIA calls for motorists not to be burdened with excessive future costs. The approach chosen by the European Commission to internalise external costs through charges contradicts the goals fixed by the Lisbon Agenda by unnecessarily burdening European economies. External benefits, such as social inclusion and economic prosperity, have not been sufficiently considered.”

Urban and eMobility

On the promotion of better integration of transport policy and city planning, impact assessments should be taken before new urban settlements are created. The provision to make compulsory Urban Mobility Plans in the White Paper is therefore welcomed by the FIA. “The burden put on cities by the mobility of goods and people should be alleviated through better planning and infrastructural measures, not through traffic restrictions or additional charges. These are regional and local competences which th! e EU should leave to the Member States in respect of the subsi! diarity principle”, said Mr Bangsgaard.

With regard to the Commission’s interim target to halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030, he said “The FIA believes it is important to support any technology which reduces CO2 according to the technology neutral principle: this means that mobility policies should support hybrid vehicles, continuing efficiency improvements in internal combustion engines as well as supporting the development of eMobility, in particular by investing in improved battery technologies and standards.”

But looking to the Commission’s long-term goal to phase out conventional cars in cities by 2050, he warned “Electric Mobility will only be a success if the Commission acts on the barriers to consumer uptake such as high running costs and the need for a standardised infrastructure including a recharging station network”.

Last week the FIA released a p! olicy paper on electric vehicles in Europe “Towards eMobility: The Challenges Ahead”. For more information, please contact Niall Carty, Communications Manager, FIA Brussels Office: n.carty@ fiabrussels.com (02 282 0812).