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‘iTREN 2030’

More than 60 experts from the European Commission, national governments, industry and the researcher community met in Brussels on 21 October for the final presentation of the iTREN-2030 project, which has developed an integrated scenario for energy and transport in Europe.

iTREN 2030 in Brussels © Neil Maclean
iTREN 2030 in Brussels
© Neil Maclean

Launched in May 2007 under the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme for research (FP6), iTREN 2030 introduced a modelling system to assess the likely future impacts of policies in the related fields of transport, energy and technology.

“The project has managed to give us a comprehensive toolset for assessing most transport policy measures,” said Tobias Wiesenthal, a scientific officer at the of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS).

Tobias Wiesenthal © Neil Maclean
Tobias Wiesenthal
© Neil Maclean

The project team created two scenarios. A reference or ‘frozen policy’ scenario assumes that the socio-economic and policy environments across the EU remain much the same as at present. This is then compared to an integrated scenario which takes into account the EU’s goals in relation to climate policy and the growing impacts of climate change, growing fossil fuel scarcity, and the introduction of new technologies to cope with these first two factors.

“It can give the order of magnitude of the different effects of policies for instance, how much changes in an activity contribute to CO 2 or the changes of a modal shift,” added Wiesenthal. “With the project, we really have moved a big step forward in the assessment of transport in terms of the economic and environmental effects. It gives an idea of what can be achieved.”

Approach

iTREN combined four existing assessment tools to develop its scenarios:

  • TRANS-TOOLS – for transport networks
  • TREMOVE – looking at the environmental effects of the transport sector
  • POLES – simulating long-term energy scenarios for different parts of the world
  • ASTRA –forecasting the long-term consequences of EU transport policies.

The project took into account the varying levels of experience in integrated assessment across Europe. Countries which have already built up their own assessment capabilities used iTREN results to compare with their own analyses, while those with less developed procedures could apply the methodologies directly – in particular for strategies to mitigate climate impacts.

Policies

“It is clear that increasing energy and climate efficiency will be the main drivers shaping a new energy-transport system,” said project coordinator Wolfgang Schade, the leader of Business Area Transportation Systems at Fraunhofer-ISI.

Some of the main policies taken into consideration include the Fuel Quality Directive, eco-driving, CO 2 emissions reductions targets, along with the voluntary agreement by European car makers and the Euro VI standards for vehicles.

On the demand side, they considered measures such as road user charging, the inclusion of the air and maritime sectors in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, the greater introduction of city tolls and the liberalisation of the railways.

Results

The scenarios give estimates for key indicators for 2030, such as the sectoral breakdown of freight and passenger transport, energy consumption by source, the total CO 2 emissions from transport and car fleet size.

The integrated scenario estimates that CO 2 emissions from all transport modes will drop by 10% due to policy measures and the resulting changes in technology and shifts between transport modes. The biggest decrease comes from road, with a fall in CO 2 emissions of -17% and shift in its share of transport from 75% to 70%. Meanwhile, rail will increase its market share, while air will remain the same.

The project made a number of recommendations for future policies, based on its projections. “The integrated scenario shows one way forward,” said project coordinator Dr. Wolfgang Schade, from Fraunhofer-ISI “Overall, it showed that the policy measures implemented in the integrated scenario will not be enough to meet the EU’s [climate and energy] goals.”

Learning

Schade emphasised that this was the first attempt to link previous models on individual policy areas. “The project was a learning process,” he said. “It sheds light on the problems of trying to link these different policy areas into one model. What we can do in future modelling is link better to the strategic level.”

For example, actions at the urban level were underrepresented but could make significant contributions, he added.

“Another important area is to consider ‘trend breaks’ when we look at scenarios up to 2030,” continued Schade. “It is clear we will change from dependence on fossil fuels to mixed energy sources but the technologies to enable this are not clear. For instance, we have difficulties forecasting the development of batteries.”

Results

Representatives of the various sectors involved in transport and energy were involved throughout the project and their input was invaluable to shaping the project. Another important factor was the economic crisis that hit in 2008. It occurred in the middle of the project and its effects were factored into the scenarios

Many of the stakeholders present at the event gave their input into what was needed now to create the tools and improve the accuracy and refine the modelling. Relevant areas to look into in the future would be able to better assess the effects of individual measures or the ability to break results down geographically, look at regional traffic flows or localised environmental effects, for instance.

“The next steps will be to look at the effects of individual policies. We need to be able to use modelling to test policies,” said Frederik Rasmussen, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for transport and energy (DG TREN). An example would be able to see the link between fleet composition and fuel prices, he added. “We need to be able to know where effects can have the most effect.”

However, he warned that policymakers would have to understand better the advantages of using an integrated approach over individual modelling tools.

The JRC will build on the project’s work. An FP7 project that is just starting, GHG TransPoRD, will be using the same models to further the link between research and development and policy, said Schade.

With the major part of the research completed, the final deliverables will be finished by December.

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