Unless they are of an apocalyptic nature, disasters like the recent European floods are likely to revitalise interest in environmental issues and highlight the need for more sustainable development. Tackling the consequences of the floods in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and The Czech Republic can thus be a big impetus for a reform of European policies that have had a role to play in this environmental disaster – amongst them transportation.
The urgent need for transport reform is reflected in the scope of the floods’ impacts on both local life and national economies estimated to be more than € 25 billion. Such impacts underline the fragile balance between nature and culture – between water systems and transport systems. In doing so, they stress the need for a European transport policy that turns away from dominant “predict and supply policies” towards more sustainable transport demand management.