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Brussels hosts major transport conference ‘TRA 2010’

The 2010 Transport Research Arena conference saw leading-edge researchers and top industrial players unveiling the latest prototypes and technologies, and exchanging ideas about how to solve modern-day transport problems, while high-level decision makers discussed public policies on mobility and transport.

Brussels road traffic
TRA road transport research comes to Brussels
© Peter Gutierrez

For the European Union, an efficient and reliable transport system is a fundamental requirement for economic growth and mobility for citizens and businesses. A key sponsor of TRA 2010, the EU Commission sees road transport and urban mobility as critical areas for research and innovation.

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.

Linking European roads and railways

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.

Wolfgang Steiger
Wolfgang Steiger
© Peter Gutierrez

Strohmeier also welcomed representatives of the rail industry, participating in the TRA programme for the first time (the two previous TRA conferences focussed 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 ( CEDRexternal link). He discussed the importance of co-operation, stressing the interconnectedness of road transport and the other transport modes. "Through co-operation 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."

Improving road transport

At the same opening session, Chairman of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council ( ERTRACexternal link), Wolfgang Steiger, also stressed the need for co-operation, but only under a coherent and directed strategic programme 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.

The TRA expo
The TRA expo
© Peter Gutierrez

Meanwhile, in the  TRA 2010external link exhibition area, conference participants got information on funding opportunities under the EU's ongoing 7th research framework programme (FP7) and saw the work of a variety of industry-led and collaborative European projects taking major steps towards better road transport.