Over what distances is it realistic to expect people to commute by bicycle? And what if that bicycle offers electrically assisted pedalling? These are the questions being researched by Bram Rotthier, an academic at a university in the Belgian city of Leuven. Rotthier has commissioned 15 cyclists to test commuting distances, one of whom is a Green politician who is cycling around 100km per day on a ‘speed pedelec’, an electric bicycle capable of up to 45 km/h.
Today’s finding by the European Environment Agency that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution is responsible for an estimated 75,000 premature deaths in Europe shows how deplorable EU governments’ watering-down of diesel car NOx emissions limits is.  For the first time the EEA has estimated the number of premature deaths from nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is largely created by diesel vehicles.
Industry and civil society groups working on transport have criticised today's State of the Energy Union speech by Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič for failing to prioritise e-mobility as a major means of decarbonising transport. The majority of EU states lag significantly behind Norway – where one out of every five cars sold is electric, the platform of 12 organisations, which includes power sector representative Eurelectric, railway operators' body CER, and sustainable transport group Transport & Environment, said.
The recent support by MEPs for a proposal to encourage the retrofitting of a range of diesel engines with clean-up technology could help solve a paradox in which the EU is funding a rise in air pollution. T&E’s Hungarian member, the Clean Air Action Group, says EU efforts to support public transport in Budapest have ended up bringing back diesel fumes that the residents thought belonged in the past.
The new city government in Oslo has said it will eliminate private cars from the city centre by 2019 as part of plans to make the Norwegian capital reduce its greenhouse gases by 50%.
Train passengers and citizens living along rail-lines must continue to breathe toxic diesel fumes, the European Parliament decided today. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) criticised MEPs of the environment committee for failing to require diesel trains to fit exhaust treatment systems that are now required for cars and trucks, which would have cleaned up the emissions and protected health.
New research has suggested that investing in public and low-emission transport could bring massive financial savings in addition to making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.
The role of shared mobility in shaping European transport is likely to be influenced by a Spanish case referred to the European Court of Justice. A judge in Barcelona has asked the court to rule on whether Uber, the smartphone application for hailing taxis, often unlicensed, should be regulated as a digital or transport service. Meanwhile, the European Commission has launched its own investigation into how to deal with Uber, which will run in parallel with the court case.
The European Commission has developed a test procedure called VECTO to measure CO2 emissions from new trucks and buses. The VECTO test procedure is a simulation tool that aims to provide truck buyers with accurate fuel consumption information. The details of the test procedure are currently being discussed in a DG GROWTH expert committee and the final legislative proposal is expected in mid-2016. In this submission, T&E advocates a truck CO2 test procedure that is reliable, transparent and easy to use for third parties. T&E also demands that the VECTO simulation results be verified through a form of testing for real-world compliance.
As air pollution spikes in Europe’s cities prompt car-free days and talk of banning diesel cars, it’s easy to forget the other culprits behind the air quality crisis: diesel machines. Known in legislation by the innocuous term ‘non-road mobile machinery’, their air pollutant emission limits are now finally under revision.