The European Commission has announced it will spend nearly 1 billion euro ($1.37 billion) on rail “research and innovation” over the next seven years, tripping its current investment.
Siim Kallas, the commission’s vice president in charge of transport, explained that he wants more freight traffic off the highways and on the tracks. He said that only 10 percent of Europe’s freight traffic is currently on rail — a number that is the equivalent of 66 million trucks.
The increased investment will go toward reducing rail operating costs by half, while increasing reliability by 50 percent and creating 100-percent more capacity, he said. Much of this will be accomplished through better traffic management and by improving the quality of the tracks.
“To increase rail traffic, the industry must deliver better services and provide an attractive alternative to passengers and businesses,” he said in a statement.