a transport mode, air transport is one of the safest. However, the rapid
growth in air traffic, makes a constant focus on retaining and even improving
air safety essential.
management systems are being improved to increase capacity and meet the
increase in demand. It is imperative that operational procedures are changed
without endangering safety standards. The EU has financed a number of
research projects on air safety, the results of which are now available
on the Commission's web site. The research has developed and evaluated
airborne and ground-based systems and procedures, in order to improve
air traffic control and pilot situational awareness.
factor plays a major role in air safety. Meeting the requirements of human
factors is, however, an extremely difficult issue. For example, the number
of automated tasks in an airline cockpit has increased rapidly in recent
years, changing the role of the crew. Instead of actively flying the plane,
the crew's role is far more passive today, i.e. the supervision and management
of widely automated systems. This implies that there is an inherent risk
of the crew not being fully attentive.
to reduce incidents, the crews' tasks, skills, knowledge and existing
training practices have been analysed, as have difficult situations, incidents
and accidents. The resulting knowledge will help to establish more effective
pilot training and performance programmes as well as recommendations for
crew procedures, including emergency procedures.
has also recommended changes in the design of cockpits, e.g. steering,
navigation, system management, communication and cockpit view, i.e. areas
in which more effective procedures or training are not expected adequately
to tackle the problem.
Research in supporting systems has included the development of advanced
ground collision avoidance systems, as well as guidelines for their certification.
Such systems will help to relieve cockpit crews from dealing with complex
information about obstacles, terrain elevation or runway specifications,
thus promoting in-flight safety.
co-operation with major aviation authorities, the European Commission's
RTD initiatives will contribute to increased flight safety, while coping
with the rapidly growing air traffic in Europe.
information on EU research on air safety can be found on the European
Commission's web site: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/extra/home.html
Information and Notes to Editors
transport research programme forms part of the Fourth Framework
Programme, which set out the activities to be launched by
the European Community in the field of Research and Technological
Development (RTD) between 1994 and 1998.
transport programme focused on helping to achieve the objectives
of the Community's Common Transport Policy (CTP), namely efficient
and cost-effective transport networks for goods and passengers
while minimising both energy consumption and the social and
environmental impacts of transport. The Commission has contributed
ECU 270 million Euro to the programme, with further funding
(often 50%) coming from project partners and their sponsors.
transport programme has financed around 280 projects within
seven main areas of research: strategic research; rail transport;
air transport; waterborne transport; road transport; urban
transport; and integrated transport chains. The programme
was set up by the former DGVII (Transport), and is now managed
by the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport. Altogether
37 projects and concerted actions were commissioned on urban
transport research, with a total EU contribution of 27 million
the Fifth Framework Programme, which started up in 1999, transport
policy research is based around themes rather than transport
modes. The work is covered by the Key Action "Sustainable
Mobility and Intermodality", and the European Commission
expects to contribute 370 million Euro.
transport-related RTD is carried out elsewhere in the Fifth
Framework programme - covering such topics as aeronautics,
urban development, and new vehicle and information technologies.
transport programme can only achieve its objectives if project
results are effectively disseminated to people who can use
them - notably policy-makers, planners, industry and the research
the Commission has funded a project specifically aimed at
disseminating information on the transport programme as a
whole, supplementing the more limited efforts of each project.
The aim is to use cost-effective means of communication to
specific audiences in the EU and in Central and Eastern Europe.
project (called EXTRA, EXploitation of TRAnsport research)
has developed an Internet site (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/extra/home.html),
opened an Information Bureau and provides complementary activities
(newsletters, events) to raise awareness of the programme.
Information Bureau can be contacted by telephone:
+ 44 (0) 1235 46 42 46,
by fax: + 44 (0) 1235 43 65 51
or by e-mail to: email@example.com.
provides printed copies of information on the web site, as
well as helping with more general enquiries on transport research.
A handy web site user guide is provided on request.
are encouraged to register with the Bureau to receive monthly
e-mail bulletins announcing the latest information on the
next few months should see a large increase in the volume
of results. Analyses will be provided on the contribution
of research in developing key policy areas.