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Three modes + four challenges = new approach

The three surface transport modes – road, rail and water-borne – are critical to driving Europe’s employment, prosperity and global exports. Aside from stimulating innovation and knowledge, technological advances in transport will have a positive impact on Europe economic and social integration.

But transport modes also raise major challenges for environment, society and research mainly due to an inexorable rise in transport demand. The EU has targeted four objectives in surface transport research to meet these challenges, namely to:

  • improve the competitiveness of surface transport manufacturers, operators and infrastructure managers;
  • improve the safety and security of transport operations and services;
  • reduce the environmental impact of transport, including emissions and noise;
  • increase the mobility of people and goods via a better balance between all three surface transport modes.

These goals demand a coordinated approach among all research and transport stakeholders, which is being achieved via the new technology platforms for each transport mode. ERRAC – the European Rail Research Advisory Council – has guided EU and national rail research planning since December 2002. ERTRAC, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council, delivered its strategic agenda in January 2005, while the WATERBORNE technology platform was inaugurated in October 2004.

Transporting society

“Efficient transport is a fundamental condition for sustainable wealth and prosperity in Europe by providing it with essential resources and mobility.?

“In this highly regulated sector, efficient knowledge sharing and pooling of resources is now critical.?

“Transport research leads to new products, processes and services, while creating a competitive edge for Europe in the global transport market place. Creation of the European Research Area (ERA) under the Sixth Framework Programme has led to a better pooling of dispersed resources and expertise, thus promoting more substantial and rewarding research initiatives.?

Janez Poto?nik - European Commissioner for Research



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