A new study has suggested that investing in high-speed rail can bring various benefits, but should not be marketed as a major part of efforts to combat climate change. The study, 'The Future of Interurban Passenger Transport' by the Swedish transport economist Per Kågeson, calculates the effect on emissions from building a new high speed line connecting two major cities 500 kilometres apart. It says there is no reason to prohibit investment in high-speed rail on environmental grounds as long as the carbon gains outweigh the emissions during construction, but the greenhouse gas savings are sufficiently small that it would be wrong to justify such investment as a solution to climate change.
A legal challenge against Berlin's 'environment zone' has failed. Eleven citizens and Germany's biggest car club ADAC had challenged the ruling that prevented the most polluting vehicles from driving in the designated zone. But in a written verdict published last month, the judges said the environment zone was 'reasonable' to secure the 'protection of the public's health from air pollution'. The judgement could prevent the Hannover environment zone from being abolished, which is being sought by the environment minister of Lower Saxony.
Three cities have been given awards for the best sustainable urban mobility activities and progress in Europe. Gent (B), Nantes (F) and Sutton (GB) were described as the most outstanding, ambitious and innovative cities of 2009 by Civitas, an initiative for city vitality and sustainability.
The EU has been accused of missing targets put forward in the 2001 Common Transport Policy. A study from the University of Leeds says the 2001 white paper promised sustainable mobility, but progress made in greening transport over the past 10 years have been limited. The study, which was carried out for the Community of European Railways says limited progress has also been made in revitalising the rail sector, with achievements largely restricted to intramodel competition.