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70000 km of non-stop cycling routes

By Raf Canters / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
ECF reports that Europe looks set to have a pan-European network of cycle routes by 2020. The network will require a substantial investment, but this will be small compared to the estimated annual economic benefits.
“EuroVelo, the European long-distance cycle route network, should be included in the TEN-T network”, the European Parliament plenary voted on December 15 in a non-legislative response to the European Commission White Paper on Transport. In doing so, the plenary confirmed the November vote of the Transport & Tourism Committee.

“In 1995 we had a vision to develop a European cycle route network, to be completed by 2020. With the demand of the Parliament to integrate EuroVelo into the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), this vision has taken a big step forward in becoming reality,” says Bernhard Ensink, ECF Secretary General.

The plenary vote also reaffirmed its demand that the Commission fulfils the following actions: submit proposals by 2013 to develop initiatives that promote walking and cycling, especially in cities, with the aim of doubling the number of users; develop policies aiming to halve road fatalities by 2020, with special consideration to “vulnerable” road users; present by 2014 a proposal to provide for the internalisation of external costs of all modes of transport of freight and passenger transport.

About TEN-T and why it is important to EuroVelo

TEN-T is an EU policy area within DG MOVE designed to focus money on supporting trans-European transport infrastructure developments considered to be strategically important by the EU. ECF estimates that finalising the 14 routes of EuroVelo network, totalling about 70,000 km, would come at a price tag of about € 1.5 – 2 bn. This is not cheap, but it is little money compared to the estimated annual economic benefits of about € 5 bn that cycling tourists would spend along the EuroVelo routes when completed.

Sustainable transport

Remarkably, the European Parliament also wants the EU transport sector to slash CO2 emissions by one fifth by 2020, using 1990 as a baseline. The European Commission had aimed for the same reduction target, but using 2008 as a baseline. CO2 emissions from transport increased between 1990 and 2008 by some 35%, eliminating to a large extent progress made in other sectors (housing, farming, industry).

Cycling and CO2 Emissions

A landmark study was conducted by ECF on the potential of cycling to reduce CO2 emissions. It demonstrates that a modal shift towards cycling can help the EU achieve 25% of its targeted emission reduction for transport.

ECF is regularly following EU Developments and Legislation, liaising with key stakeholders and drafting key position papers on transport and bicycle related issues.

Source: ECF newsletter, by Fabian Kuster, Policy Officer at ECF.
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