European Railway Agency - ERA

Making the railway system work better for society.

ERA’s 2021 Annual Interoperability Overview

ERA’s 2021 Annual Interoperability Overview

31 Dec 2021

The Agency published in October the Annual Interoperability Overview. These annual overviews are part of the Agency’s effort to provide more regular outputs from its monitoring of progress with safety and interoperability complementing its in-depth biennial report.

The data/figures confirm that, although interoperability of the Union railway system is improving, the progress has been slow so far and it appears to be unequal/uneven when looking at different areas.

As a consequence, railways have not increased their modal share in the past decade, despite being currently the most sustainable mode of transport. The modal share of rail transport in Europe is stagnating around quite low levels (7 % and 12 % for passenger and freight respectively), with the international rail traffic being significant only for freight (over 50% of the total traffic) and very limited for passenger services. This picture is far away from the EU climate policy ambitions and from the targets set in the 2011 Transport White Paper.

Greater use of rail is critical to satisfy the demand for more sustainable transport and would have substantial positive effects on pollution and energy consumption. In order to achieve the full potential of the Single European Railway Area, crossing internal EU borders should become a smoother process, enabling the increase of rail’s modal share and international traffic; for this goal, the removal of interoperability barriers, the deployment of the ERTMS and the availability of appropriate rolling stock are key elements.

Click here to read the 2021 Interoperability Overview