Road freight transport demand has grown strongly over recent decades, and this trend looks set to continue, with growth of a further 60% forecast up to 2030. Currently 75% of freight transport in the EU is carried by road. As this briefing outlines, road freight transport imposes serious negative impacts on society and the environment.
The polluter pays principle is enshrined in the EU Treaty, but as long as the transport sector is not obliged to pay for negative effects imposed – or indeed gets a free ride at the expense of others – there is no effective incentive to reduce the harmful impacts on safety, the environment and the economy.
Trucks represent a small proportion of vehicles, but a disproportionately large share of negative impacts of road transport. A revision of the so-called ‘Eurovignette’ Directive is therefore needed to allow the internalisation of these costs in road charging schemes for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is an essential step towards a more sustainable transport system.