The transport sector is undergoing a time of great changes. The traditional concept of mobility has been upset, on the one hand, by the exponential growth of the global trade in goods and, on the other, by the growing number of people moving to and within urban areas. The sustainable transition is one of the main challenges facing this sector in the coming decades. Transport accounts for almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise. Over recent decades, emissions from the EU transport sector have not been decreasing in line with other sectors, and certainly not enough to limit its environmental and climate impacts. Therefore, reducing transport pressures on the environment and climate is key to achieving the EU’s long-term vision of zero net emissions by 2050. At the same time, work is needed to be carried out on the resilience and recovery of the transport industry, starting with the security of supply chains, interrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital transformation can profitably contribute to both sustainability targets and the technological innovation of mobility and transport. Both goals, however, require a considerable amount of investment and a broad spectrum of integrated policy measures.
In the first part of this paper, we analyse the composition and trends of the European transport system, highlighting its evolution in recent years and its environmental impacts. In the second part, we focus on energy transition policies in the mobility sector, above all, on the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, defining its objectives, flagships and actions. Lastly, we underline the need to support European strategic autonomy with adequate measures in sectors that are key to the decarbonisation and flexibility of the transport and mobility systems such as the hydrogen and electric battery industries.
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