We need sustainable digital mobility services

The connection between transport and communications has made transport digital. Large amounts of data are already needed, for example, for navigation, ticket and payment transactions and for enabling automation. The utilisation of information is not an end in itself, but rather what is achieved with it. Does the combination of data and transport produce more sustainable services that meet the needs of consumers?

Sustainable, digital solutions for transport will be discussed on 7-9 October at the Digital Transport Days. The event will be organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and Communications as part of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Transport’s role in emissions reduction

Transport accounts for nearly 30% of the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions and 72% of transport emissions come from road transport. One way to reduce emissions is to improve the conditions for sustainable mobility services – public transport, walking and cycling – and to make them more interoperable and attractive to users. In other words, make mobility a real service. A better use of data is essential in this regard.

Data is a renewable fuel for sustainable mobility services that enables easy and efficient services. The EU should aim to improve the access to information on transport services and the interoperability of ticket and payment systems. This would allow different mobility services to be combined into a seamless service chain (Mobility as a Service).

The ease of use and seamlessness of services play a key role when people make a choice between the use of a car or mobility services. More extensive utilisation of data would also improve the efficiency of freight transport.

Better mobility services for citizens

However, information is only one factor in the implementation of user-driven mobility services. We also need infrastructure that supports sustainable services and enabling regulation. The transport system must be examined holistically and from the customer’s viewpoint, not through individual modes of transport.

At EU level, efforts should be made to expand the available mobility services and to ensure they are sustainable and of high quality. Such services would provide users better and easier ways to be mobile. In addition, companies must be provided with good operating conditions so that they can offer and innovate new transport services. More extensive and diverse services are in the interest of the user.

Traffic volumes and the transport service market are projected to grow. In the fight against climate change, Europe has a unique opportunity to be a pioneer in a sustainable transport market and transport system. Europe can show the world how smart connections build sustainable growth.

Olli-Pekka Rantala
Director-General, Ministry of Transport and Communications

The column was originally published on www.eu2019.fi, the official website of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Kirjoittanut: Olli-Pekka Rantala