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‘iTREN 2030’ joining the dots

More than 45 experts from the European Commission, national governments, industry and the researcher community met in Brussels on 27 November 2007 for the iTREN-2030 project workshop. Among the questions they asked was how to predict the combined effects of EU-wide policies on energy, transport, economy and the environment.

Cars on a busy motorway beside skyscrapers as the sun sets
Common concerns: transport,
energy, economy and the

“Launched in May 2007 as part of the Sixth Research Framework Programme, iTREN is developing tools to assess the impacts of policies in inter-related transport, energy and technology fields,” says Wolfgang Schade of Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI). “In particular, we are concentrating on areas such as the implications of alternative technologies and new energy carriers, and extending existing forecasting tools.”

Experts from Bulgaria, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands presented their current approaches to policy development in these inter-related fields, showing the wide variety of experience in integrated assessment that currently exists across the European Union.

Complex assessment

Schade says the project will operate on different levels, taking into account varying levels of experience; countries which have already developed their own assessment capabilities will be able to use iTREN results to compare with their own analyses, while those with less developed procedures will be able to apply the methodologies directly – in particular for strategies to mitigate climate impacts.

The iTREN approach is based on extending four existing assessment tools:

  • TRANS-TOOLS – assessing 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.

Representatives from the automotive industry expressed their interest in the results and are now committed to the project throughout its two-year lifespan, from 2007 to 2009.

Old cars piled up in a scrapyard
Yesterday transport, today

“Some stakeholders at the iTREN workshop expressed concern that the statistics used must be consistent,” says Schade. “At the moment there are differences between the Eurostat data used at an EU level and national statistics.” Another concern is that the model at present does not encompass ‘trend breaks’ due to factors such as high oil prices or technology breakthroughs.

The next iTREN workshop, planned for April 2008, will take a closer look at the assumptions made in the iTREN model, and at how to increase the project’s transparency.