Currently reading: Number of cars on European roads to halve, says EU transport commissioner
Violeta Bulc says autonomous transport and changing attitudes will mean fewer driving licence holders in the future
Julian Rendell
2 mins read
15 May 2018

The EU’s transport commissioner has outlined a future in which the number of cars on European roads are halved, autonomy is much more common and the car becomes part of a multi-modal transport network.

“I know people will still want to own cars, and they will be part of the transport solution, but the car will become a module to support the needs of individuals, companies and society,” European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc (pictured below) told delegates at the 2018 FT Future of the Car Summit.

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The EU has a vision for transport by 2050 that focuses on road safety, environment, self-driving, digitisation and red tape.

Under the banner 'Vision Zero', Bulc explained the EU wants to reduce road fatalities, transport emissions and red tape to zero.

“Everything we do in the European Commission will be focused on the three zeroes,” Bulc said.

Bulc recognised that Europe has the safest roads in the world but that 25,000 deaths and 137,000 injuries are still too many, asking: “Why did we agree that transport kills?”

The legislative pressure on car makers to introduce greener cars will only increase.

Bulc added: “The toll on our health is really high; 24% comes from road transport — far more than road accidents. Why is that acceptable? We are pushing for more clean cars to be used throughout the EU.”

Speaking about car ownership, Bulc predicted that the number of owners would decrease, while the number of people holding driving licences would similarly go down.

“The attitude to a driving licence is changing. My own family wants mobility but not to drive,” she said.

In place of drivers owning their cars, she believes autonomous driving will offer personal mobility.

“The appeal of owning is declining. Young people say mobility time should be used for something else. We need to listen to that; we can’t ignore this call for a more streamlined transport,” she noted.

However, she cautioned that self-driving technology had to be protected from cyber interference — a problem that could affect improvements in road safety. In addition, she promised that the EU would ensure there's legislation to keep up with cyber threats.


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“Cyber security is becoming an issue. With modern technologies, we can remove them. [There] can be no compromise; in mobility, the sensitivity is much higher because you can lose your life,” Bulc said.

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15 May 2018

I wouldn't want her round for dinner.

15 May 2018
Britain's population is rising at almost 2,000 a day. You do the maths.

15 May 2018
Bazzer wrote:

Britain's population is rising at almost 2,000 a day. You do the maths.


What is your point caller?

15 May 2018
...that Europe (and Britain) won't see a reduction in cars. With Britain, that daily increase of almost 2,000 in population is 7 million in just 10 years. A LOT of those 7 million are going to want to drive. It's nonsense to think there's going to be a reduction. Africa is about t experience a population boom (experts' opinion, not mine) and a lot of them are going to be headed towards Europe.

15 May 2018

Better public transport and a whole new direction for cycling provision are the only ways to reduce the number of people driving.

Public transport is variable, but cycling for 'normal' people is especially unattractive at the moment. Bicycles and cars just don't mix and the danger and unpleasantness I reckon stops the vast majority doing it. Separate them completely and suddenly cycling becomes attractive. It should be the law that all new roads have a properly segregated cycle lane built at the same time. And incentivise electric bikes – then cycling for people who just want to go somewhere becomes much more attractive. But the law on electric bikes is opaque and a bit dumb. The motor power limit of 250W is designed to stop speeding, but it actually stops bikes being more capable on hills. Why can't we have more powerful electric bikes limited to a sensible speed but with the power to maintain that speed uphill? And what's the point of the necessity to pedal assist? If I'm limited to 25 km/h why should I have to pedal if I don't want to? My route to work is actually not that hilly, and only nine miles. Yet with only the occasional dotted line for protection from rampant traffic, cycling to work is totally out of the question. I've seen too many accidents and near misses. The only bikes I see are being harrassed by buses or threatened by thoughtless drivers. Cars park in the rare stretches of cycle lane making them useless.

We've only ever had small changes in these areas. We need a MASSIVE change in thinking. Then the roads would be pleasant for all. We could do better than the Netherlands. We should.

15 May 2018

we are seeing a trend in the UK, like America, where the younger population are not taking driving tests or purchasing cars, so this figure could be possible as more people flock to the metropolis where multi storey new builds and rentals offer little parking.

living in such a metropolis we've downgraded to a one car family due to tougher parking restrictions, rising costs in parking permits and off street parking fees, then mix into this the convienance of e-commerce, availbilty of shared car acces and the ease to hail and pay for a taxi journey questions a lot of people to ask why?

15 May 2018

One of the reasons that cars and bikes don't mix is that even when local authorities have spent a fortune making seperate cycling lanes cyclists insist on cycling along the main road with a long line of cars following behind. The law should be changed so that if there is a cycle lane it is compulsory to use it

15 May 2018

However laudable some of this is you can guarantee it will not effect Ms Bulk and family, with the earnings and perks that go with the job it is taxis all round and the taxpayer pays

"“The attitude to a driving licence is changing. My own family wants mobility but not to drive,” she said." yeh right........


“The appeal of owning is declining. Young people say mobility time should be used for something else. We need to listen to that; we can’t ignore this call for a more streamlined transport,” she noted.

Young people where I live spend all there time either on the phone or driving, have you ever heard a "young person" say mobility time should be used for something else, they make it up on the hoof.

15 May 2018
The modern world doesn't want to own an asset that sits still 90% of the time. People want comfortable, clean, convenient transportation. This can easily be supplied by autonomous cars that come to you like Uber. Just look at Roll Royce Aero. They no longer sell engines but sell thrust to airlines. People want music not cupboards full of CDs (Spotify). I don't own my mobile phone, broadband router etc. I'll take an autonomous on demand car lease scheme for daily transport and keep a classic in the garage for enjoyment.

16 May 2018

Clean? That's a good point. Who's going to clean out all these robot taxis after they've been used to take the kids to the beach, or the dog for a walk, or to go mountain biking on a particularly muddy hill; to deal with all muck, rubbish, puke, umbrellas, hats, scarves, half-eaten sandwiches, toys, dog hair, snotty hankies and everything else that people are inevitably going to leave behind in them?


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