Last month the European Commission (EC) published a communication on “Developing a European transport-technology strategy”. The communication takes stock of the results and proposes ways to remove bottlenecks in research and innovation in the EU transport sector. With this communication, the EC aims to develop a European strategic transport-technology plan to ensure a coherent approach across various funding sources for research and innovation in transport for the period 2014-2020. Horizon 2020 has a proposed budget of 6.8 billion euro for research and innovation on “smart, green and integrated transport”, while the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) has a proposed budget of 31.7 billion euro to modernise Europe’s transport infrastructure, including 10 billion euro in the Cohesion Fund for transport projects in cohesion countries.

This initiative will also focus on overcoming the market barriers by emphasizing on demonstration, market uptake and full deployment of new solutions.  Transport innovation could be more strongly influenced by developments in other sectors such as telecommunication and energy. Transport operators that could benefit from such innovative solutions often operate at low profit margins and have limited incentives to invest in new solutions.

The communication outlines the following 10 priority areas in transport and proposes specific actions to accelerate the deployment of new transport solutions:

  • Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart road vehicles;
  • Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart aircraft;
  • Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart vessels;
  • Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart rail vehicles;
  • Smart, green, low-maintenance and climate-resilient infrastructure;
  • Europe-wide alternative fuel distribution infrastructures;
  • Efficient modal traffic management systems (including capacity and demand management);
  • Integrated cross-modal information and management services;
  • Seamless logistics;
  • Integrated and innovative urban mobility and transport.

The definition of a set of roadmaps focusing on the deployment of technologies and innovation in the 10 key areas of transport will start shortly.

With the EU transport services and storage sector accounting for 5.1% of total value added and 5.0% of total employment (around 11 million persons employed), the Commission will highlights smart, green and integrated transport as one of the six major societal challenges where European research and innovation can spur growth.

More information is available here.