Sustainable transport

Tackling the adverse impacts of mobility (both personal and freight transport) requires the promotion of co-modality (that is, the optimal combination of various modes of transport), support for technical innovations, and a shift towards the least polluting and most energy efficient modes of transport in terms of both long-distance and urban travel.

Efficient and sustainable transport services and infrastructure are crucial in order to facilitate economic and social cohesion. The performance of the transport sector is correlated with market access and the quality and efficient use of infrastructure. Although significant funds have already been invested in sustainable transport and urban mobility, some common challenges remain in financing such investments. These include tight budget constraints and the insufficient involvement of the private sector in public-private partnerships. The polluter pays and user pays principles are not sufficiently applied in all transport modes, thus in many cases investments do not integrate price assessment and user charge systems.

Tools and methodologies

  • EU Sustainable Waterborne Transport Toolbox (European Commission, 2011). The toolbox comprises a set of medium- to long-term measures aimed at promoting the use of green ship technology in terms of fuels, green transport infrastructure, possible funding instruments and implementing the results of research, development and innovation activities.
  • Global Fuel Economy Toolkit The online 'Autotool' platform provided by UNEP aims at gathering best practise in fuel economy. It offers a great variety of information, including a global overview of the state of the art of fuel economy policies, detailed explanations around useful policy instruments, a guideline showcasing the necessary steps to set-up a fuel economy baseline as well as a compendium of case studies, highlighting successful fuel economy policy development and implementation projects around the world. Fiscal and economic instruments are a part of the toolkit.


Information platforms

  • CIVITAS EU: This co-funded platform supports cities aiming to achieve sustainable urban mobility.
  • Connecting Europe Facility: This facility finances smart, sustainable and interconnected transport projects.
  • Horizon 2020 portal: The EU's new research framework programme supports several initiatives in the field of sustainable mobility and transport.  

Case studies