EU conference evaluates transport system progress

Jul 16, 2010

At the third biennial Transport Research Arena (TRA) conference held in Brussels last month, leading researchers, companies, and decision makers in the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) industry explored ways to solve today’s most pressing problems, and plotted the course of next-generation public mobility and transportation systems.

According to the EU Commission, which sponsored the event, “an efficient and reliable transport system is a fundamental requirement for economic growth and mobility for citizens and businesses.” Additionally, the Commission said it considers road transport and urban mobility to be “critical areas for research and innovation.”

EU Commission’s report on TRA 2010

The Commission issued the following brief summary of took place at TRA 2010…

“TRA 2010 drew hundreds of participants from Europe and beyond to discussed topics such as increasing transport safety, finding sustainable modes of transportation and using ICT applications to prevent traffic congestion.

Representing the Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Technological Development, Deputy Director-General Rudolf Strohmeier addressed the TRA 2010 opening session: “This event is very important in that it allows the road transport community to speak with a single voice.”

Strohmeier also welcomed representatives of the rail industry, participating in the TRA program for the first time (the two previous TRA conferences focused only on road transport). “We are here precisely to join forces, bringing together more than just road transport, but the larger multi-modal transport community under a common vision.”

A similar idea was put forward by Ivars Pa┼że, chairman of the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR). He discussed the importance of cooperation, stressing the interconnectedness of road transport and the other transport modes. “Through cooperation at European level,” he said, “we facilitate the exchange of experience and information on all road-related issues, including infrastructure, infrastructure management, traffic and transport, financing, legal and economic problems, safety, the environment, and research in all of these areas.”

At the same opening session, Chairman of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC), Wolfgang Steiger, also stressed the need for co-operation, but only under a coherent and directed strategic programe of research. And he reminded the audience of the key role of road transport innovation in improving urban mobility.

Following the opening session, the participants were invited to take part in a large number of parallel thematic sessions focusing on key technical issues covered by specific research projects. Themes ranged from innovative infrastructure and vehicle designs to traffic management systems and new safety features.

Meanwhile, in the TRA 2010 exhibition area, conference participants got information on funding opportunities under the EU’s ongoing seventh research framework program (FP7) and saw the work of a variety of industry-led and collaborative European projects taking major steps towards better road transport.”

The conference’s complete agenda is available here (PDF download).

U.S. DOT participation

Although unmentioned in the EU Commission’s summary, Dr. Robert L Bertini, deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), delivered two presentations during TRA 2010. The titles and links to his presentation slides (PDF downloads) appear below. The first one was delivered at one of the conference’s plenary sessions; the second, at a session on cooperative mobility.

Further information on the Transport Research Arena conferences is available on the TRA website.

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