Roads remain dominant but are neglected in stimulus packages

"Even with massive incentives and policies in favour of public transport and rail, road transport will remain predominant for the movements of goods and people.”

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This is one conclusion of a benchmark study entitled “Mobility and Recovery in Europe: Impacts of the Covid-19 crisis”, a follow-up to a major study that we covered in the Interview in Bitumen Matters 1/2021. Produced jointly by among others the European Union Road Federation (ERF) and the Confederation of International Contractors’ Associations (CICA), the study provides insight into the pandemic’s impact on the mobility and transport sectors in 11 European countries.

It also offers an analysis of national recovery plans, identifying trends towards the use of electricity in all stimulus packages. Other trends include an emphasis on public transport, development of cycling infrastructure, a strong focus on railways, especially for freight transport, and initiatives to reduce private car use, mainly through car-free zones in city centres.

Despite its dominant role, the road network is found to be the most neglected infrastructure in the national recovery strategies, with almost no investment mentioned either for the construction of new roads or maintenance. One of the study’s main recommendations calls for a realisation that the maintenance and adaption of road infrastructures are prerequisites for the ecological, digital and energy transition, which will drive economic recovery.


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Talking point: The COVID-19 pandemic