Towards sustainable and smart mobility in the EU

Connecting all the EU’s regions and integrating them in a single economy has always been one of the EU’s key objectives. An integrated and efficient transport system contributes to this objective since mobility is a vital element of the European internal market. Mobility enables not only economic growth and job creation, but also the free movement of EU citizens.

As the demand for transport is rising, so too are its environmental impacts. As part of the Green Deal, the Commission is working on a strategy for sustainable and smart mobility which will address the rise in emissions from all transport modes. Given that a quarter (25%) of EU CO2 emissions is accounted for by transport and mobility [1], there is much to be gained.

Berenschot sees three major shifts at work, in freight and passenger transport and in smart mobility innovations.

Freight transport: shift from road to rail

By shifting a substantial part of road freight to rail and inland waterways the Green Deal hopes to improve transport sustainability. As the EU continues to establish Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), Berenschot has identified interoperability as a key success factor: the current infrastructure must be made technically compatible so that rolling stock can run across national borders. Interoperability and standardisation of safety systems and equipment will be crucial to raise efficiency and reduce costs. As international rail freight volumes rise, Berenschot is also assisting regional and local governments by formulating policy on nuisance mitigation and spatial development.

Passenger transport: shift from air to rail

One proposal to make passenger transport in the EU more sustainable is to replace short-haul flights by train journeys. The design of the air-rail proposition must make train travel sufficiently competitive on both price and service to form an attractive alternative. Berenschot advocates the creation of the right context and incentives both for operators to better integrate the worlds of aviation and trains, and for customers to adopt the offer.

As experts in cross-border cooperation in passenger transport, market regulation, project, and policy development, Berenschot works with policy makers, high-speed rail and aviation stakeholders to develop both short- and long-term approaches and solutions. Berenschot is also an active player in the European public-private Hyperloop ecosystem which is currently under construction and could be one of the most promising future passenger transport and freight solutions.

Smart mobility: inspiration for innovation

Innovations relating to shared vehicles, alternative fuels, and automated driving systems are key to the shift to more sustainable transport. The EU currently offers funding for the development of new concepts that contribute to more efficient and sustainable transport. Berenschot has created an inspiration guide to showcase 15 best practices in sustainable mobility and their requirements for successful implementation. From the perspective of fossil-fuels versus green alternatives we performed an analysis to create a new perspective on the functioning of petrol stations in the Netherlands.

How can Berenschot help?

The transition to sustainable modes of mobility throughout the EU requires vision, an integrated approach and cooperation between a large group of diverse stakeholders.

Berenschot is well acquainted with the key players and market opportunities in the European transport sector. One of our key qualities is the ability to assess the broader impact of technological, economic or social changes on future policy decisions. The capacity to link the theory of mobility policies to their implementation in practice is what sets us apart. For instance, we have successfully translated the goals of the Dutch Climate agreement to practical actions in numerous cases in the Netherlands.

Making use of best practices drawn from our Dutch and broader EU experience, Berenschot helps institutions, governments, European regions, enterprises, and organisations in several ways. We provide high-quality support and advice on a range of issues and are proud to have worked on many innovative mobility projects.

More information

If you are interested in hearing more about one of these projects or what we can offer for your organisation, please contact

[1] European Environment Agency, 2018. See link.

Wouter Metzlar

Wouter Metzlar

Managing consultant
+31 (6) 57 57 05 72