2021 – the European Year of Rail – the journey has begun
Launched by the European Commission, a variety of activities will put rail in the spotlight throughout 2021, to encourage rail use by both citizens and businesses and to contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.
On Friday 1 January 2021, the European Year of Rail began.
The European Commission (EC) initiative will highlight the benefits of rail as a sustainable, smart and safe means of transport. A variety of activities will put rail in the spotlight throughout 2021 across the continent, to encourage the use of rail by both citizens and businesses and to contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.
Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, said: “Our future mobility needs to be sustainable, safe, comfortable and affordable. Rail offers all of that and much more! The European Year of Rail gives us the opportunity to re-discover this mode of transport. Through a variety of actions, we will use this occasion to help rail realise its full potential. I invite all of you to be part of the European Year of Rail.”
The initiative, proposed by the EC in March 2020 and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2020, is part of the EU’s efforts under the European Green Deal, the EU’s plan to make its economy sustainable by achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
One of the key elements of the plan is to roll out cleaner and healthier means of transport, as the transport sector is currently responsible for about 25 per cent of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions. The European Green Deal seeks a 90 per cent reduction in transport emissions by 2050.
In order to meet this goal and to ensure that transport continues to play its part during the transition towards a clean, digital and innovative EU economy, the EC adopted its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in December 2020. It outlines the path towards more sustainable, smart and resilient mobility, and includes milestones, such as doubling rail freight and tripling high-speed rail activity by 2050. The EC will present an action plan to boost passenger rail transport during 2021, and the strategy foresees measures to improve capacity and to simplify ticketing across different transport modes to further increase the attractiveness of rail.