EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc has declared 2018 to be the "Year of Multimodality," a year to improve the infrastructure, connections, incentives and digital solutions for the entire EU transport network by judicious use of different modes of transport on the same journey - road, sea and rail, cycling or walking.

 

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A multimodal hub with bicycles, trains, buses and passenger cars all meeting at Flintholm Station, Copenhagen, Denmark
(Photo by Caroline de Francqueville)

 

The concept applies to both freight and passenger transport and is facilitated by digitalisation that makes possible advancements such as electronic freight transport documents, digital corridor information systems and multimodal travel information and ticketing.

 

Throughout the year the European Commission will put together a series of legislative and policy initiatives and events. The next event - a high-level conference on European Multimodal Freight Transport - is slated for March 20 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria.

 

Bulc intends to use all the tools she has to enable multimodality, also called intermodality, such as economic incentives achieved through revision of the Combined Transport Directive.

 

She is offering financial support for multimodal infrastructure and innovation, through the Connecting Europe Facility, a key EU funding instrument promoting growth, jobs and competitiveness through infrastructure investment at the European level.

 

And she wants to make the Year of Multimodality fun for EU residents. “We are working for the #EU transport sector to function as a fully integrated system. Plenty of initiatives & events are planned for 2018!” says Bulc on her personal Twitter account @Bulc_EU.

 

Registration has just opened for the European Commission's 5th European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) on May 14-15 in Nicosia, Cyprus. The theme of this year's conference is multimodality; attendance is free of charge.

 

Click here for information on more multimodal events.

 

A wide spectrum of civic groups support the move toward multimodal transport.

 

The International Road Transport Union (IRU), an NGO based in Switzerland, upholds the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators.

 

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto, speaking at the UN’s Inland Transport Committee this week, called for "urgent collective action across all transport modes to digitalise the industry and effectively pave the way for intermodal freight transport and full logistics interoperability."

 

One of Europe's largest nongovernmental transport coalitions, the London-based Transport & Environment (T&E), declared that "genuine multimodality" is at the heart of its eMobility strategy. Founded in 1990, T&E represents 53 groups from 26 countries, totaling more than 3.5 million people. 

 

T&E says multimodality "can generate huge synergies across the whole EU economy by ensuring that electrified public and private transport modes - from metros to e-bikes - are fully integrated into a low carbon energy system."

 

 

By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)