Transport policy

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The issue

The transport sector directly accounts for roughly 7 % of GDP and 5 % of employment in the EU. Transport continues to have a disproportionate impact on the environment and there is little evidence as yet of a shift to sustainable transport across Europe. Key negative impacts relate to air quality, climate change, biodiversity loss, noise and human health, especially in urban areas. Some energy efficiency gains have been made, and environmental regulations have led to some progress in reducing emissions, but these are unlikely to meet international and national environmental targets. Overall, transport volumes, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, with the least energy efficient transport modes — road and air freight — witnessing the largest increases.

Review process

Under the EU 2020 Strategy's 'resource-efficient Europe' flagship initiative, the European Commission announced that it would 'work on a plan defining the key actions necessary to achieve the energy saving potential of 20 % in the building and transport sectors.' The planned white paper on the future of transport will aim to 'achieve transport sustainability, which requires actions to remove bottlenecks to competitiveness, progress towards a transport system less dependent on fossil fuels and improvements in safety, security and working conditions.' Furthermore, according to the European Commission's Work Programme for 2010, 'it will set out the actions required to create a Single Transport Area and address the targets of the EU 2020 Strategy.'

Links to SOER 2010 and other EEA products

Global megatrends


Thematic assessments

Other EEA products

  • Population
  • Ch. 3: Nature and biodiversity
  • Ch. 4: Natural resources and waste
  • Continued growth


  • Global power shifts
  • Soil


  • Global competition
  • Marine and coastal environment


  • Decreasing natural resources



  • Material resources and waste



  • Water resources: quantity and flows


  • Global regulation and governance


  • Freshwater quality








Note: Above cells with hyperlinks lead to specific SOER 2010 information and other EEA products that are relevant to the policy area on this page.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100