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Transport sufficiency: Towards a new sustainable mobility culture

Nov 05, 2015
CIPRA Position on the mobility of goods and people in the Alps
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Making transport sustainable is a common challenge for all Alpine countries. Therefore, a common approach to decision-making is needed in order to distribute the transport flows among all countries and to consider effects of infrastructure and policy on an Alpine wide level. Many different actors are involved in the way mobility evolves in the Alps: politicians, administrations, businesses and civil society must establish a better dialogue and work together to reduce the negative impact of transport in the Alps.

The following demands are addressed to the EU, the Alpine countries, regions and municipalities. In some cases additional actors such as tourism or transport operators are also called to action.

CIPRA demands the introduction the concept of “transport sufficiency” into public policies, meaning that the level of necessary transport should be assessed and adapted to the “transport capacity” of Alpine regions, based on shared criteria for ensuring a good quality of life.

CIPRA asks for meaningful steps towards a new and more sustainable mobility culture by:

  • raising awareness of the negative impacts of transport, such as air pollution and related health conditions;
  • launching and promoting soft mobility offers to reduce individual car-based leisure activity;
  • supporting environmental friendly mobility also in peripheral areas, amongst others through integrated, forward-looking spatial and mobility planning as well as integrated mobility systems;
  • helping to strengthen regional value-added chains and the local offer of services in the Alps, in order to reduce the distances travelled by goods and people;
  • making better use of the potential of new information and communication technologies (ICT), in order to both reduce the need for transport and to increase the attractiveness of remote regions for businesses, in particular those in the service sector. This means narrowing the digital divide and mobilising enterprises to use these ICT solutions to set up branches and activities in remote Alpine valleys. This must go together with the development of resource-efficient ICTs.
  • raising awareness on the fact that the replacement of carbon fuels through electricity or fuels from renewable energies offers certain opportunities, but is not a complete answer to a meaningful and responsible reduction of the negative impacts of transport. For all forms of necessary individual and commercial mobility, priority should be given to the most efficient technologies throughout the life cycle of the vehicles, i.e. from production to disposal.


CIPRA asks for the implementation of an integrated, modal shift to public transport (in particular railway) in the Alps:

  • In order to make the modal shift a reality, clear, long-term political and legal frameworks are required. In particular, CIPRA demands the implementation of existing air quality and noise regulations and action plans. Furthermore, CIPRA asks for the adoption and implementation of an Alpine transit stock exchange an instrument that would support the modal shift with a well-used railway infrastructure.
  • A fair competition and realistic financial modelling is needed for comparing the different modes of transport in order to strengthen the attractiveness of the railway as an alternative to air travel and individual car journeys, for tourists and inhabitants of the Alps.
  • The realistic cost should also be applied to infrastructure projects, including railway infrastructure. If additional railway capacities are required, the priority should be given to the improvement and further development of existing infrastructure.
  • Public transport is a fundamental service which must be maintained. In a context in which public expenses are being cut, solutions are needed to organise public transport in an effective, innovative and cost-efficient way, instead of allowing these services to be downgraded or to disappear.
  • The quality of public transport services, in particular railways, should be improved, in order to encourage passengers to use public transport rather than individual car journeys or short distance air connections for transit journeys through the Alps as well as for local  and regional mobility.
  • Several major new road infrastructures (in particular the Gotthard, Fréjus, Colle di Tende, Feldkirch and Karawanken tunnels but also the Val d’Astico and Alemagna motorways) are being planned or already implemented. All of these are in conflict with the aims of the Alpine Convention and compromise the principles of a modal shift by increasing capacities for transport by road. CIPRA demands that the Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention and bans on developing road transit routes in the Alpine region be respected.

Position paper, CIPRA International, 31.08.2015