Communication for Sustainable Development

Brussels sets out vision for sustainable travel

European CommissionImage by tiseb via Flickr
A vision for the world’s most modern and sustainable travel network has been outlined by Brussels.
High speed rail is a key component of the European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Transport.
The development of a “multimodal” travel information, management and payment system by 2020 is a key objective outlined by the commission.

The White Paper recognises that competitive high speed rail is an indispensable part of a strong and sustainable European economy. 
But plans to link Europe’s airports to rail networks is described as “highly ambitious” by the European Technology & Travel Services Association (ETTSA), whose members include Amadeus, Expedia, Sabre, Travelport, eBookers and Opodo.

Executive secretary Christoph Klenner said: “Rail can be competitive with air if the railways embrace the independent, online travel distribution technology that revolutionised competitiveness and consumer choice for the airline industry and a variety of other travel providers.
“Competition will lead to lower prices and significantly increase traffic, justifying the capital investments in high speed rail networks.”
He added: “But there’s no need to start from scratch because robust technology exists today and is already bringing unmatched benefits to consumers of travel services.
“Any information, distribution and ticketing system can be built on the decades of experience that the global distribution systems offer. It’s the only realistic way to meet the timetables in the White Paper.”

While highly ambitious, plans to link Europe’s airports to rail infrastructure can be done – “if air and rail travel distribution are joined up, giving us seamless journeys, integrated ticketing, and transparent pricing for business and leisure travel,” according to Klenner.
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