Navigation path

Decrease textIncrease textDividerPrint versionRSSDivider

Containers get a redesign to pack more in: Tellibox

Shipping containers are crucial for European and global trade and yet concerns about capacity and efficiency and potential environmental drawbacks have led for calls for a redesign. Tellibox, an EU funded project, has done exactly that, successfully demonstrating the MegaSwapBox – a 100 metre-cubed container that can be loaded from three sides and is compatible with multiple transport modes.

Used all over the world to ship goods stamped with “Made in …”, containers are at the very heart of global trade. They have been around since the 1950s and have literally revolutionised the way we manufacture, trade and consume goods.

However, if you compare a container from then with one now, you would be hard pressed to spot the difference. The designs of Keith Tantlinger and Malcolm Maclean have essentially remained unchanged since their invention in 1956.

With this in mind, it may surprise you to learn that containers might be about to finally get a revamp. Backed by European Commission funding, the Tellibox project (literally ‘Intelligent Box’) has come up with a new design that is easier to load, can hold much more than a standard container and can still be transported via current infrastructure.

The project’s senior consultant, Mr Heiko Sennewald says “we basically took the elements of design from an easily loadable articulated truck and applied them to a container that can be switched between road, rail and inland maritime transport methods.”

It should result in considerable efficiency savings for potential future owners, he continues.

At present, the fact that containers are standardised means that they are not always loaded and packed in the most efficient way. Clearly this raises concerns among manufacturers over costs and among governments and the public over the potential environmental impact of the sector.   

The new design of the Tellibox takes elements of various current technologies and combines them to give a 100m3 container that can be loaded from three sides, has a flexible lid and is compatible with the current intermodal transport system. In comparison to a standard 65m3 container, it now means it should be possible to stack pallets three high as opposed to two. Similar gains have been possible with standard racks that car manufacturers use.

The €3.1 million grant from European Commission meant that the 10 partner organisations could significantly collaborate in the design and evaluation stages of the project. The partners included a number of commercial organisations, a private rail operator, specialist engineering firms and a number of scientific organisations.

The advisory board of the project, which included representatives of major European car and white goods manufacturers, gave valuable design input to make sure the resulting boxes fitted their needs as much as possible according to Mr Sennewald.

Continuing he says: “The difference in size means that one can expect to transport more goods, more efficiently, which in the long run will make it more profitable than using a standard container. The really interesting outcome is that we can now potentially design a Tellibox to exactly meet the needs of a client and know that it can be shipped via road, rail or inland maritime routes without the need for modification of that infrastructure. That makes it truly tri-modal and unique.”

“It was great that we were able to work with so many organisations. We were able to accommodate many of their requests and use their expertise in finalising the design.”

The project completed in 2011 with the final design being extensively tested and certified. Successful test runs across Poland, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK helped prove its performance under realistic European transport conditions. At the final demonstration of the Tellibox that took place in Duisburg, Germany in March 2011, a number of vehicle manufacturers reportedly showed interest in the concept and designs.

According to Mr Sennewald, “In terms of success, Tellibox has really worked out in that we have a proven design that is on sale and can be manufactured immediately upon an order being taken. It would not have been possible to achieve this without the level of collaboration and the support of the European Commission’s funding.”

Read moreexternal link

Are in-vehicle technologies improving road safety?

As technology advances, vehicle manufacturers are incorporating more and more gadgets such as cell phones, satellite navigators and in-car video systems into vehicles. But what are the effects of these in-vehicle technologies (IVTs) on road safety? Ten European research partners are trying to determine how safe they really are.

The EU-funded 'Interaction' research project focuses on mature technologies that have already been adopted by European car drivers: cruise control, speed limiters, navigation systems and mobile telephony. Their functioning principles, displays and controls are being investigated in detail, while focus groups help to identify how individuals actually use these tools.

With this information, patterns of use and their effects on drivers’ skills and behaviour can be established, both in normal situations and in emergencies. The researchers are also able to compare various demographic groups, as well as people from different countries. With the information gathered, the project will shed light on how to reduce the risks of misusing IVT systems, discourage unsafe practices and increase the global benefits of IVT on road safety.

One key benefit will be the elaboration of actions to strengthen drivers’ awareness of the use of IVT and its possible consequences. Another will be a set of recommendations for the design of future systems, including instructions on safe use of IVT by European drivers. Product designers and policy-makers can integrate these into their agendas to yield a safer road transport system and improved use of technology in vehicles. Such advances may even inspire other nations to exploit the results as well, positioning the EU as a leader in an important field.

Read moreexternal link

Nice - A new era for the internal combustion engine

A new internal combustion engine addresses the drawbacks of petrol and diesel designs. As a result, it cuts both fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The project, NICE, was supported by the European Commission.

A European Union-funded project, called ‘New integrated combustion system for future passenger car engines’, or ‘NICE’, aimed to develop a new integrated combustion system. Involving 26 partners, and coordinated by DaimlerChrysler, the project contributed to achieving the highest fuel conversion efficiency independent of the type of fuel.

In particular, one sub-project taken on by a group of partners within the NICE consortium, led by Centro Ricerche Fiat, focused on turbocharged spark-ignited gasoline engines. They developed the application of an advanced system of variable valve actuation using electro-hydraulic technology, which improves on similar systems by allowing multiple valve opening and closing in a single cycle and in being simple and cheap enough to be mounted on the lowest cost segments of the car market

Engines for automotive vehicles are increasingly under several pressures: to cut fuel consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and polluting emissions, and deliver attractive performance and costs for drivers. To date, it has been difficult to optimise engine designs so as to meet all these goals at the same time.

In previous research projects, internal combustion engines for petrol-driven vehicles (using the ‘Otto-cycle’) had been designed to cut noxious emissions to very low levels. Unfortunately they had greater fuel consumption than diesels. On the other hand, diesel engine designs have been able to lower fuel consumption, but only at the cost of higher emissions of acidifying gasses and particles. To complicate things even more, along with petrol and diesel, bio-fuels have now been added to the mix of fuels available to drivers.                                

NICE solutions brought to market

The NICE team tried to combine the best of both worlds and with considerable success: "When operated in a compact car, the project's technologies led to an average improvement in fuel economy and CO2 of around 10% when compared with the baseline engine " says Massimo Ferrera of CRF, which is developing the application of this technology to natural gas engines as coordinator of the current InGas project.

The team also concluded that engine efficiency could improve even further (up to 25% in city driving) through integration of this technology with turbo charging and engine downsizing – shifting the engine ‘operating point’ (i.e. the rhythm at which it operates) to one with higher efficiency.

The technology is now being marketed by Fiat in their Twin Air and MultiAir engines. "We are talking of mass market models which sell in the hundred thousands, not only sport and premium cars, as in the past", comments Maurizio Maggiore from the Transport Directorate of the European Commission, "and this will deliver a real impact on greenhouse gas emissions".

In the future, it will also help in optimising the use of low CO2 fuels such as natural gas and bio-fuels, but "it can provide fuel savings even to truck diesels "says Ferrera, which is involved in the forthcoming CORE project to develop this application.

Optimising the engine cycle

How does the technology work? The basic internal combustion engine cycle relies on the timing of the firing of the sparkplug (to ignite the fuel and air which drives the piston) and the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves (to let fuel/air in and exhaust gasses out). The amount of air entering the engine cylinder is normally regulated through a throttle. This requires energy, which then affects fuel consumption – particularly when driving at the low speeds typical of city driving.

In its simplest form the engine’s valves are opened and closed via camshafts. A cam, a shaped off-centre wheel, pushes the valves up and down (and therefore open and shut) as it rotates.

Through this simple method the valves’ opening and closing are synchronised with the combustion cycle of the engine. However, when the engine runs at different speeds or with different loads, a single basic cycle is not always optimal – leading to the engine working harder than necessary, wasting fuel and driving up CO2 emissions.

The NICE project’s electro-hydraulic system is mounted on the intake valve and allows the timing of the valve’s opening and closing to be controlled independently according to different strategies, such as ‘Early intake valve closing’ or ‘Late intake valve closing’. These can be used to optimise fuel consumption in different circumstances, such as when the engine is running under low or medium loads, or for improving its performance in cold weather. The engine’s running can therefore be modified to meet all these conditions without use of the throttle to determine the quantity of air, and therefore without unnecessary loss of energy.

The new system connects the intake valve to the camshaft via a high-pressure oil chamber, instead of directly. The oil chamber is then controlled electronically via a switch. When closed, the switch runs the engine normally by keeping the oil under pressure, which transmits the camshaft motion in full through the oil chamber to provide full lift to the intake valve as usual.

If ‘Early intake valve closing’ is desired, however, the switch can be opened so oil flows out of the oil chamber, reducing pressure. As a result, the intake valve is no longer coupled directly to the movements of the camshaft and is closed, by a spring, earlier in the cycle than in the full-lift mode.

Similarly, the intake valve can also be made to close later than normally in the cycle via the switch. The engine thus has a much more flexible range of combustion cycles, whereby the timing can be altered to optimise the combustion of the fuel – leading to both lower consumption and reduced emissions. 

Read moreexternal link

Driverless Heathrow pods demonstrate the unimaginable

London Heathrow airport has recently introduced driverless pods to connect Terminal 5 with its car parks, replacing a regular bus service. A hit with travellers and techies alike, these pods are being introduced on the road with support from the European Commission’s Framework Programme for research.

Europe’s transport system is getting increasingly congested, and it is important to preserve our mobility without sacrificing our quality of life. This is why the European Commission has dedicated € 11 million to the Citymobil project, which is developing completely automated city transport systems like the one in Heathrow. By using new intelligent transport technologies and clean fuels, urban vehicles can be made quieter, cleaner and even capable of moving on demand without a driver.

The Heathrow pods are one of the very first commercial applications of a driverless vehicle on the road (two other such projects can be found in the Netherlands and in Abu Dhabi, UAR). The reason for the rarity of these comfortable vehicles, according to the Citymobil researchers, is not a lack of technology, but rather 'a lack of imagination'. One of their main research findings is that sceptical citizens, as well as financial and regulatory hurdles, are giving many European cities cold feet to adopt new solutions.

To change this situation, Citymobil is running demonstrator projects in several European cities, mapping obstacles and developing a detailed protocol for evaluation. Project coordinator Jan van Dijke is convinced that it would be hard to find a better team than this diverse and truly European one, made up of 29 partners: ‘With operators, governments and technical specialists all aboard, the Citymobil evaluation protocol was designed to include just the right questions to get a good view of the experience of passengers, but also of those installing the system and anyone else involved.’ This type of joint expertise and wide range of perspectives is not easily found elsewhere and Mr Van Dijke considers Europe the continent best suited to making progress in urban mobility.

London Heathrow airport’s infrastructure resembles a city in many respects, so outcomes of extensive testing carried out by Citymobil can be extrapolated to understand more about the conditions for successful implementation. Since driverless pods are also significantly cheaper than high-speed rail or monorail, they are commercially attractive. Several airports and urban areas in the United States have already shown interest. This may eventually result in European growth and jobs in a niche of the market that has not previously been explored and create more comfortable urban areas. Meanwhile, the Citymobil team are eager to continue their demonstration projects to show Europeans the unimaginable.

Read moreexternal link

Towards a common European train

Rail interoperability is needed to ensure that the European trains of tomorrow will enjoy the same freedom of travel as the EU’s citizens do today. This is why the European Commission funded the MODTRAIN research project, which worked on standardising the numerous components that make up a train, as well as the interfaces between them.

The demand for transport across all modes is expected to grow by 40% for passengers and 70% for freight from 2000 to 2020. For cost, environmental and efficiency reasons, rail is well placed to take on the bulk of this increased demand and – with trains now driving at high speeds – even compete with air transport. But efforts to boost cross-border rail traffic are currently hindered by wide differences between national networks. Factors such as power supply, signalling, operational procedures and even track gauge vary from country to country. Without a unified internal, onboard power supply voltage or a common electric interface between traction and auxiliary power system, trains are limited in where they can travel. The European Commission funded the MODTRAIN project to ensure that the trains of the future will be able to handle different country’s railway systems and be driven by train drivers from across Europe.

In the course of the project, the researchers redesigned everything from the traction systems to the controls, and even dabbled in interior design. The 37 partners from 10 European countries (including three big railway operators, partners from industry, railway research centres and universities) have agreed on a standardised set of components and component interfaces, so that they are interchangeable.

Helping the drivers feel at home

An important part of the project involved redesigning the driver’s cab. As part of this task, 17 train drivers from different European countries used a simulator to test the new design in different situations, including a high-speed journey, a slower journey with regular stops, and an emergency situation. Feedback from the drivers helped the MODTRAIN team to make the system as user friendly as possible for any European train driver.

The project team also made the train accessible to any European passenger by ensuring that the buttons for opening and closing doors, as well as calling for assistance or requesting an emergency stop, would be easily understood by passengers anywhere in Europe.

Read moreexternal link

Going beyond ‘niche’: innovative public transport for the masses

The EU-supported ‘Niches+’ project recently held its final conference, which included the prize ceremony for the Osmose Awards, honouring local and regional authorities that have introduced new measures for sustainable urban transport.

Novel urban mobility schemes © Niches+

Getting around is a fact of life for any of us living in or visiting a city. When combined with issues of social exclusion and environmental impact, it’s a problem in need of innovative solutions. Launched in March 2008,  Niches+ external link, a ‘Coordination and support action’ funded under the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), studied and promoted 12 innovative urban transport concepts in different thematic areas.

“The aim was to encourage the uptake of new transport solutions, from niche status to mainstream acceptance,” explains Peter Staelens, Niches+ dissemination leader at the European cities network  Polis external link.

The project studied at a variety of exciting ideas:

  • Automated and space-efficient group and personal rapid transit systems;
  • Car-sharing schemes using electric vehicles;
  • Passenger-friendly interchanges to help people move more efficiently between different transport modes, including bicycles;
  • Information, training and planning schemes to improve public transport for socially-excluded individuals and communities.

A team of ‘champions’

Project partners also developed plans for the introduction of selected innovations with the local and regional authorities of six ‘Champion cities’ in France, Ireland, Norway, Spain and the UK. Each of these authorities organised national seminars and wrote a set of ‘Guidelines for implementers’ to promote similar solutions in other European cities.

During the project’s final conference, in April 2011, five European cities were presented with an ' Osmose Award external link '. These are prizes for innovative approaches in local traffic management, especially promising new initiatives that today still occupy a ‘niche’ position but clearly have the potential to become mainstream urban transport policy.

“The awarded cities are all innovative forerunners in their field,” says Patrick Mercier-Handisyde, the European Commission’s Project Officer for Niches+.

For example, Madrid won an award for its Transport Interchanges Plan – an ambitious and possibly unique strategy to create interchange stations for each of the seven main highways that connect the surrounding region with the city. These will link metropolitan and urban bus lines, the underground network, and long-distance and commuter train lines. San Sebastián was also selected for its scheme to operate additional minibus lines and shuttle taxis to provide access to public transport for the 50% of users who live in the hilly areas outside the city.

Read moreexternal link

Making progress on public transport accessibility

EU-funded research projects, including 'Mediate' and 'Access2All' are finding new ways to get the disabled, elderly and other 'transport vulnerable' citizens into the public transport system. In doing so, they are making it easier for everyone to enjoy more efficient mobility.

London underground © Peter Gutierrez
London hosts transport
accessibility projects
© Peter Gutierrez

"We are bringing together the experiences of the whole range of users," says  CERTH/HITexternal link 's Evangelos Bekiaris, coordinator of the Mediate project. "This includes the disabled but also the perfectly able-bodied." Mediateexternal link's aim is to establish a common European methodology for measuring accessibility to public transport and to identify 'good practices'. "We can call them 'good practices' or 'best practices', but we are also concerned with 'worst practices'," Bekiaris admits. "The point is that all of us can do better by coming together and comparing, exchanging ideas."

Unique problems and solutions

Meanwhile, the Access2Allexternal link project is working to deliver guidelines and policy recommendations based on a wide-ranging assessment of work towards accessibility across Europe. Project coordinator Tone Øderud of Norway's  SINTEFexternal link says it's important to consider the unique problems faced by cities in different regions. "In my country we have to deal with icy conditions and even problems related to local vegetation, like tree leaves making it difficult to navigate tramway stops."

Tone Øderud © Peter Gutierrez
Tone Øderud
© Peter Gutierrez

At a joint conference in London in November 2010, the Mediate and Access2All projects brought together public mobility players from cities across Europe. London's Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes reminded the participants of the all-encompassing nature of the challenge. "This is about blind people and the hard of hearing, about elderly citizens who may have trouble walking and people in wheelchairs, but it is also about the mother with two kids in a buggy and the Christmas shopper with a load of bags to carry home."

Political will

Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee Richard Howitt affirmed, "The political will to see better access to public transport is there, and not just at the European level." Here, he referenced progress on the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

What is the CRPD?

Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesexternal link are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. Following ratification by the 20th party, the CRPD came into force on 3 May 2008. As of September 2010, it had 147 signatories and 94 parties.

Representing the European Commission, Patrick Mercier-Handisyde agreed with Howitt. He outlined a series of EU-funded programmes aimed at improving public transport. "Accessibility remains a clear priority for us, and we will continue to provide support for the work of important initiatives like Mediate and Access2All."

Read moreexternal link

Cars without drivers – not science fiction

During the recent 'car-free' day in Brussels, an event organised each year in conjunction with European Mobility Week, members of the public got a chance to try out the latest 'cybercars' – small autonomous vehicles for public transport.

The CityNetMobil 'Cycab' in Brussels © Peter Gutierrez
The CityNetMobil 'Cycab' in Brussels
© Peter Gutierrez

CityNetMobilexternal link, launched in 2008 and coordinated by France's  INRIAexternal link, is aimed at raising awareness of automated 'Cybernetic Transport Systems' (CTS). Project partners hope to convince politicians, local mobility planners, and the general public that CTS can deliver more environmentally friendly and safer transport solutions.

The answer is automation

"'Cybercars' are small vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities for collective, semi-collective, and personal public transport," explains INRIA's Carlos Holguin. "They are ideally suited to providing feeder and shuttle services to connect, say, a parking lot with a terminal building, hospital, or a city centre."

Cybercars can provide taxi-like, door-to-door service for individuals or groups, between homes and main public transport lines, replacing large, slow, and infrequent suburban buses. When demand is low or pick-up points are far apart, cybercars are much more effective than conventional transport systems.

"The technologies for driverless cars have been available for 20 years, but they are still not well-known,” says Holguin. “What we need to do is remove the mental barrier from peoples’ minds. We want to show the public and the authorities how we could provide for individual mobility while eliminating conventional cars. For the public at large these types of vehicles are the stuff of science fiction, but the truth is they are very real and ready to go."

Are they safe?

The 'CyCab' on display in Brussels looks like a pumped up golf cart and riding in one feels like you are moving on rails – yet these are virtual rails. The vehicles can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h.

"A major advantage is that they don’t need any additional infrastructure," Holguin says. "These cybercars are operated automatically with state-of-the-art obstacle-avoidance technology. They will deliver the same level of safety as a conventional rail system, and that means excellent."

"Most accidents are caused by drivers, not by cars," he adds. "With no driver, there is nobody to fall asleep at the wheel, answer a phone call, or decide it’s safe to speed down a street where children are playing."

Coming to your town soon

Siim Kallas © Peter Gutierrez
Siim Kallas
© Peter Gutierrez

A number of pilot schemes using such vehicles are now up and running, including a shuttle bus in the suburbs of Rotterdam and at Heathrow airport in London. These schemes have demonstrated the potential of autonomous vehicles on dedicated road systems. The next step is to demonstrate their performance on open roads – something planned for next year in La Rochelle in France.

The demonstration in Brussels also coincided with the 'Move It' conference, where European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas stated, "Traffic congestion is one of the most common complaints of our citizens in urban areas. But the Union is not here to impose solutions. The way forward, therefore, is to work together, all of us, the Commission, the Member States, our regions and our city authorities, along with the research community, to find the best possible mobility solutions."

Read moreexternal link

Solid ground for pedestrians on footbridges

Bringing walkers into the urban transport fold, 'YEAR 2010' award winner Sifiso Nhleko has developed an innovative and inexpensive method for testing the structural integrity of footbridges before they are built.

The Millennium Footbridge
London's spectacular Millennium Footbridge
© Peter Gutierrez

When London's spectacular Millennium Footbridge was unveiled in 2000, participants in the opening event felt an unexpected and, for some, uncomfortable movement underfoot. Much to the embarrassment of designers, tests showed the motion was caused by a 'positive feedback' phenomenon: small sideways oscillations caused walkers on the bridge to sway in step, which in turn increased the oscillations. The bridge eventually had to be closed for almost two years for modifications.

"Footbridges form an important part of a transport network," says PhD student Sifiso Nhleko, "where design is governed by pedestrian traffic demand, aesthetic value and sustainable use of materials. The 'lateral walking force coefficient', first identified a decade ago in connection with the Millennium Footbridge, is now a major factor in the modern bridge construction process.

"However," he adds, "expensive field tests are still required to determine this parameter on the actual structure after it has already been built. Furthermore, the use of human subjects to induce 'deliberate' structural vibrations is extremely unsafe."

Sifiso Nhleko holds a BSc (honours) degree in civil engineering and an MSc degree in structural engineering, both received from the University of Cape Town. He is now working on his PhD in structural dynamics at the University of Oxford. His paper on 'Lateral excitation mechanism of slender structures induced by crowds' won the first place ' YEAR 2010external link ' award for 'Design and production of vehicles and infrastructure'.

An innovative approach

Sifiso Nhleko
Sifiso Nhleko
© Peter Gutierrez

Nhleko has been exploring the relationship between the lateral walking force coefficient and 'pedestrian gait parameters' – limb movement patterns used to achieve human walking locomotion. This has led to a new technique for predicting the lateral walking force coefficient of large virtual pedestrian crowds.

"We are using a novel and inexpensive method that involves a typical subject walking on an aluminium foil sheet," Nhleko says, "with a portable circuit designed to be switched on and off by the subject's walking mechanism."

The YEAR competition is funded by the European Commission and coordinated by University College Dublin's Urban Institute Ireland. Other partners included FEHRL, ZAG and Continental Automotive. Organisers say Nhleko's work promises to change the way footbridges are designed and tested.

For more on the YEAR 2010 competition and its winners, click  hereexternal link.

Read moreexternal link

'VIAJEO' for more efficient travel, transport planning

The newly launched EU-funded VIAJEO project will design, demonstrate and implement an IT-based open platform to collect and process data for travel information and transport planning in cities in Europe, China and Brazil.

Urban traffic © Peter Gutierrez
Improving urban traffic in
Europe and further abroad
© Peter Gutierrez

Today's cities and urban areas are seeing serious and increasing demands on their transportation systems, requiring effective planning for public mobility, better management of urban traffic, and provision of a wide range of traveller information services.

Officially launched in September 2009 at the ITS World Congress in Stockholm, and coordinated by  ERTICOexternal link - ITS Europe, VIAJEO is funded under the 'Transport' theme of the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). As an international co-operative initiative, VIAJEO is part of a larger EU push to promote transport research projects with third countries. These include the FP6-funded SIMBA project, aimed at fostering European collaboration on road transport research with emerging economies, including Brazil, South-Africa, India and China. SIMBA is also coordinated by ERTICO.

The 'open platform' proposed by VIAJEO will facilitate information exchange and centralise data from various sources, providing needed support to transport management and city planners. “With the fast development of new data collection and dissemination technologies, integration of new data sources and services is becoming a real challenge for data management,” says European Commission Project Officer Patrick Mercier-Handisyde.

Patrick Mercier-Handisyde © Peter Gutierrez
Patrick Mercier-Handisyde
© Peter Gutierrez

"The objective of this project is to offer a comprehensive solution to enhance efficiency of data collection and usage, thus improving overall urban transport services and planning."

Great expectations

Demonstrations are planned to start from 2010 in a number of selected cities, including Athens, São Paulo, Beijing and Shanghai. The cities have been carefully chosen as national role models. “We hope that successful results in the demonstration cities will be extended to other cities in these countries, or even to other countries in their respective continents”, explains Vincent Blervaque, ERTICO’s Director of Development and Deployment.

Project partners say implementation of the open platform in Europe and in its partner countries China and Brazil is expected to contribute to more sustainable urban transport schemes that will feature:

  • Better access for all travellers
  • Increased acceptance and uptake of new urban transport solutions and technologies
  • Reduced road transport pollution
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Increased safety in urban transport

Confidence is key

Project partners feel confident that informed travellers, transport operators and city planners, given better and more comprehensive information, will choose to act in such a way that reduces congestion and negative environmental impact in urban areas.

The VIAJEO team includes end users, traffic managers, public authorities, transport operators, equipment manufacturers, service providers, application and service developers, content owners and providers, and research organisations. The multi-sector make-up of the partnership will ensure a comprehensive social, economic and environmental assessment of the implementation of project results.

Read moreexternal link

'CONCERTOUR' – transport for tourism

The CONCERTOUR project, developing new strategies and solutions for sustainable tourism, has held its final conference in Rome. Participants from across Europe discussed results and looked towards further research linking tourism and transport.

Tourist waiting for tram © Peter Gutierrez
Tourist connection
© Peter Gutierrez

"Tourism depends largely on the availability of efficient transport solutions," says EU Project Officer Karsten Krause. "For example, the introduction of new low-cost airline destinations has created new opportunities for regional tourism – as well as new challenges for local transport systems and the environment. And, once you arrive at your destination, integrated transport modes or innovative offers can help make your trip more pleasant."

CONCERTOURexternal link's overall objective has been to support EU policies on improving the competitiveness of the tourism sector. To do so, it has proposed new guidelines for tourism based on the concept of the 'whole travel itinerary'. It has also taken into account emerging tourism needs and demands, focusing on the main elements that affect the tourism market, i.e. co-modality, information and ticketing, and removing barriers to mobility and tourism.

A 'Horizontal Activity/Support Action' funded by the European Commission, CONCERTOUR includes consultancies and research organisations from seven EU countries, all working to create new synergies between transport, research and the tourism sector in Europe.

Positive collaboration

"CONCERTOUR bridges the gap and helps to understand the interdependencies between transport research and tourism," says Krause. "One of the main impacts of the project has been to highlight the role of cities and how they can better respond to the special mobility needs of tourists."

In order to develop constructive and tangible solutions, CONCERTOUR encouraged the active participation of key stakeholders, including organisations and services that deal with tourism and transport-related issues on a daily basis. Partners successfully brought together their respective visions in the form of two concrete deliverables: a new CONCERTOUR Handbook, essentially a step-by-step guide to support tourism and transport stakeholders as they make important transport-related decisions; and an Action Plan.

New tools for tourists and the tourism sector

The CONCERTOUR Action Plan is a useful reference instrument for anyone working in tourism and transport in Europe, addressing the needs of the various European tourism segments, destinations and stakeholders. It also contains advice on strategic measures to meet these needs at EU, national, and local levels. The Action Plan is also intended to convey the results of the CONCERTOUR project to a broader audience across Europe.

Call for action

The CONCERTOUR Action Plan proposes tangible measures involving infrastructure, supporting services, information schemes, incentives for stakeholder co-operation, regulation, promotion of sustainable tourism, and removing physical and psychological barriers to travel, in nine priority areas:

  • Intermodality solutions
  • Information services
  • Booking, ticketing and payment systems
  • Handling and tracking of passengers’ luggage
  • Congestion, overcrowding and peak management
  • Safety and security
  • Local tourism mobility infrastructure and services
  • 'Access for all' tourism
  • Policy-driven priorities

New horizons

According to CONCERTOUR partners, networking and dissemination actions have played a big part in the success of the initiative and they hope more work of this type will follow. Meanwhile, Krause says, the new FP7 calls for proposals offer opportunities to further develop some of the ideas they have explored.

Karsten Krause presents case study award © CONCERTOUR
Karsten Krause (right)
case study award

At the final conference in Rome, six European city project case studies received awards as valuable initiatives for improving tourism accessibility and services. They were:

  • 'Programme of unification of archaeological sites' – Athens, creating a continuous fabric of public spaces, parks, and cultural and recreational facilities, linking the city's numerous archaeological sites.
  • 'The Oslo pass', a 24-, 48- or 72-hour pass for entry at 33 museums and attractions, free travel on all public transport, free parking, discounts at restaurants, special offers and much more.
  • 'Railway station Paris', an integrated, environmentally friendly, high-speed train station at Charles de Gaulle Airport, providing easy and efficient intermodal connections for air and train passengers.
  • 'Increased mobility for Lisbon air arrivals', a new 'aeroshuttle' service connecting Parque das Nações, the city airport and the city centre.
  • 'Online multimodal information' – Rome, an Internet-based 'Infopoint' for calculating public transport and combined intermodal routes, including timetables, addresses and points of interest.
  • 'Black Sea tourism' – Constanta and Dobrich, a cross-border co-operative project aimed at developing tourism and related transport services.

For more details about the case study awards, see the  CONCERTOUR websiteexternal link.

Read moreexternal link

‘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.

Read moreexternal link

‘FELICITAS’ for heavy-duty transport powertrains

The FELICITAS Integrated Project is focusing on the development of fuel cell (FC) drive trains capable of meeting the exacting demands of heavy-duty transport for road, rail and marine applications.

At a recent meeting at the Technical University of Athens, FELICITAS partners, led by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, had the opportunity to participate in intensive discussions. Topics included:

  • Combined cycle gas-turbines and high-temperature fuel cell systems
  • Controller design for polymer electrolyte fuel cell clusters
  • Fuel processing issues.

Partners say FELICITAS will provide improved technologies for marine applications, onboard diesel reforming technology for powertrains, as well as gas turbine and solid oxide fuel cell hybrid powertrains. All of this will require significant improvements in performance and design.

Onboard fuel reforming is also a critical issue, because operating with high-energy-density fuels, such as liquid fuels, is essential for long distance operation of heavy-duty vehicles or ships. Addressing the particular demands of marine applications is therefore the first logical step in the FELICITAS process.

Read moreexternal link

CITYMOBIL: advanced road transport for the urban environment

Partners in the EU-funded CITYMOBIL project presented their work at the Podcar City International PRT conference on 1-2 October 2007 in Uppsala, Sweden.

Today’s cities face a range of problems related to rising mobility demands. These include pollution, congestion and safety problems caused by increasing traffic. Traditional transport systems are widely seen as no longer able to cope with these and other issues.

With the exception of some automatically operated metro systems, as in Paris, London and Lille, and some recently introduced automated buses and people-movers in Clermont-Ferrand, Eindhoven and Capelle aan de Ijssel, transport systems in present-day European cities remain rooted in aging and outmoded technologies.

Paving the way to better urban transport

The objective of the CITYMOBIL project is to achieve more effective organisation of urban transport. At three project sites, Heathrow, Castellón and Rome, large-scale demonstrators are being set up to deliver proof of concept of innovative automated transport systems integrated in the urban environment.

Five horizontal sub-projects are investigating and attempting to resolve issues that still prevent full scale implementation of these systems. Ultimately, CITYMOBIL will allow increased mobility, using technologies feturing low pollution, high safety levels and increased efficiency.

Read moreexternal link

‘EURO-TRANS’ hits the ground running

The EU-funded EURO-TRANS initiative is promoting and supporting the participation of small and medium size enterprises in European surface transport research projects. Partners met at a launch meeting in Brussels on 16 January 2007 to discuss actions and objectives.

Tunnel traffic
© Peter Gutierrez

Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in fostering innovation, creating employment and maintaining economic competitiveness. Their active involvement in the EU research is considered crucial.

“Our aim is to help get SMEs involved in the Seventh Research Framework Programme [FP7],” said EURO-TRANS coordinator Robert Csukai of OSEO. “This means enhancing co-operation between SMEs, major European R&D players, and industrial stakeholders.”

EURO-TRANS project partners, he said, will deliver direct assistance to potential SME participants, and a web-based communication infrastructure will be developed, providing access to important information on EU integrated projects (IPs) and networks of excellence (NoEs), specific projects with innovation needs, SME funding programmes and a complete SME database.

New SME events announced

Specific EURO-TRANS actions are to include the organisation of two international workshops, explained Csukai. The first is now set to take place in Warsaw in October 2007 and the second in Paris in January/February 2008. Between 200 and 300 SMEs are being targeted to attend each workshop, with coaching services provided, including help in searching for partners, call topics and the preparation of proposals. A new help desk will also be set up.

EU EURO-TRANS project officer Susana Martins outlined the Commission’s expectations, stressing the importance of increasing SME participation in FP7. She also presented the new work programme for transport research, to be announced officially at the FP7 Transport Research Information Day in Brussels on 14 February 2007.

What makes an SME an SME?

As defined by the European Commission:

  • Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises employ fewer than 250 people and have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.
  • A small enterprise employs fewer than 50 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding €10 million.
  • A microenterprise employs fewer than 10 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding €2 million.

Strong team effort

The EURO-TRANS consortium Advisory Group includes the European Technology Platforms (ETPs) ERRAC, ERTRAC, and WATER BORNE TP, as well as professional associations EARPA, CLEPA, UNIFE, EUCAR, COREDES and EMECRID. The ETPs will present their strategic research agendas and provide information on the running of future FP7 projects during the plenary sessions of the EURO-TRANS workshops.

Read moreexternal link

‘GLOBAL VIEW’ bringing railway world closer together

The Specific Support Action GLOBAL VIEW is disseminating the results of selected EU projects and learning from similar projects in India, China and Russia, identifying needs and priorities for joint international rail research projects.

Russian rail transport
Russian rail transport

Under successive EU Research Framework Programmes, the European railway sector has focused on integrating its research resources and targeting strategic rail sector priorities. The European Technology Platform ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council) has played a key role in this process, elaborating its groundbreaking Strategic Research Agenda based on the ‘2020 Vision’ report. The result has been a new wave of flagship projects and initiatives such as MODTRAIN and EURNEX, with international partners beginning to contribute in more substantial ways.

More needed now

“We are seeing increasing participation in European research initiatives by non-European Union partners,” says EC project officer Susana Martins, “but so far they have had limited impact. There is a real need to develop a stronger and more sustainable process of international co-operation in the railway sector. GLOBAL VIEW is addressing this need.”

This pioneering project, she says, represents an important step in co-operation on railway research, bringing together international undertakings, the supply industry, rail operators and infrastructure managers, as well as academia. Initially, GLOBAL VIEW will focus on the dissemination of results of previous and ongoing research projects under the Union’s Fifth and Sixth Research Framework Programmes (P5 and FP6), including MODTRAIN, INNOTRACK, MODURBAN, INTEGRAIL, RAILENERGY, among others. This will then pave the way for more fruitful joint projects under FP7 (2007-2013).

“GLOBAL VIEW is targeting specific emerging regions relevant to European railway stakeholders, namely China, India and Russia,” explains Martins. “The end result will be a stronger and better integrated ‘International Railway Research Area’.”

Getting the rail word out

GLOBAL VIEW will mount a two-pronged dissemination campaign, including communication of FP5 and FP6 results and identification of needs and priorities for joint research under FP7. But GLOBAL VIEW is more than a dissemination action. It is expected to deliver immediate results on:

  • Cross-fertilisation between international rail researchers and industry, fostering more rapid two-way transfer of technologies and knowledge.
  • Increasing visibility of European technology solutions, aimed at wider acceptance of European standards and more rapid industry response to needs in emerging markets.

A new website and contact database will provide support tailored to the needs of specific countries. Some key issues have already been identified. In China, for example, signalling, long distance freight transport and the GALILEO satellite radionavigation system are all priorities. In India, infrastructure, signalling and GALILEO are of particular interest. In Russia, high-speed rail transport, safety, modularity and long distance freight are the key issues.

GLOBAL VIEW is an initiative of the worldwide International Union of Railways (UIC). It includes relevant European FP5 and FP6 partners from industry, represented by the Association of the European Railway Industries (UNIFE), and from academia, represented by the European Rail Research Network of Excellence (EURNEX). To implement GLOBAL VIEW, coordinator UIC have relied on local experts – in India, the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), in China, the Academy of Railway Sciences (CARS), and, in Russia, the Russian Railway Research Institute (VNIIZHT).

Into action

Specific GLOBAL VIEW actions are set to include three workshops in emerging markets. The first will be held in June 2007 in Moscow, in conjunction with a major industry exhibition supported by UNIFE, UIC and RailTech. The second workshop will be held in October 2007 in Beijing, within the framework of the EC-China Scientific and Research Days (CESTY). The third workshop will be held in New Delhi in February 2008 and will mark the 50th anniversary of India’s RSDO.

A final conference, featuring technical visits to European rail research sites, will be held in Brussels in autumn 2008. A very successful first GLOBAL VIEW meeting took place at UIC headquarters in Paris on 4 December 2006, underpinned by a strong European Commission presence and concluding with an agreement on short-term actions.

Read moreexternal link

Advanced Noise Reduction Systems

Further efficient reduction of transport noise requires intensive research. CALM II aims at coordinating European research for advanced transport noise mitigation, in particular facilitating interdisciplinary networking and dissemination of knowledge, and at further development of the CALM strategic research plan. All transport modes are concerned: road, rail, waterborne and aeronautic together with outdoor equipements.

Tags: Multimodal


Over the last 30 years, noise reduction has become an increasing priority for legislation and research, both at national and European level. Despite substantial improvements, today’s noise pollution is still a major concern of European citizens, with transportation as the main source of noise.

An estimated 80 million Europeans (ca. 20 % of the EU population) suffer from unacceptable noise levels. Estimations of the related annual financial damage lie between 0.2 and 2 % of the gross domestic product. This is an important societal problem. As mobility is a basic human need and an essential precondition for economic prosperity and growth in an enlarging EU, the adverse effects of noise must be reduced, while allowing a continued growth in freight and passenger transport.

Regulations limiting the noise emission from vehicles have been successful but not sufficient in the past. The Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC (END) strives for avoiding, reducing or preventing harmful effects on human health. Therefore a major goal for future research is the transformation of END and the further development of noise policy covering the wide fields of noise assessment and abatement, new technologies and methodologies for improved noise control at source, and the future development of legislative standards.

The EC has published substantial noise reduction targets for the future, medium and short term, which can only be achieved by system approaches that involve research from all concerned areas. One general target is to find common research issues for road, rail, aeronautic and maritime transport utilising a maximum of synergies.


The overall strategic objective is the synchronisation and encouragement of European transport noise research through a holistic system approach involving all related research areas. CALM II is designed to facilitate the networking of organisations, the coordination of activities and the exchange and dissemination of knowledge so as to optimise research efforts, reach critical mass, strengthen the complementarity and coherence of noise research objectives and enhance the impact at a European level.

Further aims are:

  • monitoring European research activities and identification of research synergies
  • identifying remaining research needs and setting research directions leading to updated noise research strategy plan
  • considering the situation in the new Member States and integrating the demands of national research initiatives
  • supporting the exploitation and dissemination of European noise research results
  • increasing public awareness of environmental noise and the awareness of noise research with young people (e.g. by involving promising young researchers with CALM II workshops).
Latest outcome of CALM II: the Blue Book with CD-ROM
Latest outcome of CALM II: the Blue Book with CD-ROM
AVL List

Description of work

The whole work programme is split into five work packages (WP).

WP1 (Networking of European transport noise research activities) is designed for the monitoring of European noise research activities and noise abatement technologies at EU and national level across all relevant research areas of transportation noise, including outdoor equipment and generic issues like noise exposure, health and socio-economic aspects, city planning and infrastructure. The most important recent research activities are summarised in an inventory called the Blue Book. For identification of the remaining gaps and discussion of the needs for further research in an open dialogue, workshops are held with industry, research organisations and public authorities.

WP2 (Sectoral integration of different areas of transport noise research) improves the coordination and information exchange between different noise sectors and platforms with specific workshops together with the European technology platforms ACARE (aeronautics), ERRAC (rail), ERTRAC (road) and WATERBORNE (maritime).

WP3 (Noise research strategies) is designed for identifying technology gaps and research needs which is done in close co-operation with the European Noise Working Groups. This gives the input for the updating of the CALM Strategy Paper 2004, which is done twice within CALM II.

WP4 (Dissemination and exploitation of results) is focused on the information transfer and dissemination of results amongst all stakeholders, with a special focus on the new Member States and with specific workshops.

WP5 (Network management, coordination and administration) ensures an effective execution of the project including all administrative services like the organisation of meetings, reporting, etc.


All results of CALM II are published on the project website. So far, the results comprise the reports of three workshops (one large workshop with RTD project coordinators for exchange of knowledge and results, and two specific workshops for identifying technology gaps and future research needs); the continuous updating of the CALM project database (with over 800 entries); the continuous maintenance of the homepage (now including a public calendar with major events on environmental noise in Europe) and the Blue Book, which is an inventory of 105 noise research projects and also contains a CD with all data in electronic format. An update (electronic, not printed) of the CALM Strategy Paper 2004 is under preparation and is to be published by the end of 2006. The update is focused on the latest information on the noise research road maps for air, rail and road traffic.

Read moreexternal link

Coordination Action of Ports for integration Of Efficient Innovations and development of adequate Research, development and innovation Activities

CAPOEIRA will concentrate on maximizing the opportunities for successfull research, development and innovation (RDI) in the field of freight transport activities in ports. These issues will be addressed as three separate topics: seaport interface, land-port interface, and port information and communication. Recommendations for future RDI projects for European ports will be developed through workshops by bringing together the main stakeholders from European ports: port associations, technology platforms, research projects and advisory councils.

Tags: Multimodal


Port activity has rapidly grown over the last 20 years. This is valid for main ports and smaller ones. They all play increasingly a key role in the further distribution of goods in Europe. This causes huge problems for EU transport flows in general and in particularly creates expensive problems of congestion in ports, endangering their competitiveness and attractiveness.

Before 2015, maritime traffic will have doubled again.

To cope with this traffic growth and increasingly severe constraints, noatbly of environmental and spatial development nature, technological and organisational innovations are required in the ports.

Such innovation, and the implementation of its results, requires huge financial and human resource investments.

Past research, development and innovation (RDI) has not always led to sufficiently tangible results and commercial and competitive solutions in EU ports. Many (trans)port RDI projects funded by the EU or the Member States have not gone beyond the design table, notwithstanding the excellent technological or scientific approach. Less than 10% of the projects of the Fourth and Fifth Framework Programmes have allowed real business development and commercial results. A reason of concern; a reason to learn from past experiences and answer the question how one can minimize the risk that RDI projects wil not lead market implementation and commercial success.

It is expected that the results of this project will be of relevance for the activities of all transport related Technology Platforms, ACARE, ERRAC, ERTRAC and Waterborne, as well as EIRAC when implrmrnting their Strategic Research Agenda's.


CAPOEIRA aims at developing recommendations with concerned actors regarding future (and current) research, development and innovation projects in ports with the objective to minimise the risk of associated public or private investments. It will also:

  • concentrate on the transport of goods in ports (i.e. transhipment, information and communication, handling, storage, terrestrial and maritime modes’ accesses)
  • produce guidelines for current and future research, development and innovation projects in ports, presenting key success factors and a method allowing to assess the opportunity of RDI projects by linking them with indicators showing their technical feasibility (interoperability), social (impact on employment and working conditions, qualification) and societal acceptability, cost-effectiveness and efficiency
  • define common research topics based on needs (for solutions, products) in the field of transport at ports in the short, medium and long term (until 2020)
  • produce recommendations related to the implementation of RDI projects in ports (investments, transition period management, communication, training), to contribute towards improving the capacity of management of innovation by port actors and promote a culture of change in ports.

Description of work

With the help of a scientific board, this work will be carried out in direct interaction with the main relevant actors concerned by innovation in the field of transport of goods in ports, from both the business and the research communities, respectively gathered under two dedicated bodies:

  • A business group: high-level representatives from European ports, professional organisations of the port community
  • A research group: high-level industrialists, researchers and research programmers from European technology platforms and advisory councils, and professional research organisations.

CAPOEIRA will identify the necessary conditions for research to pass the commercialisation threshold, through the analysis of the reasons of failures and successes of past RDI projects.

Three workshops will be organised with the business group (bringing its solutions and products, experiences and visions for the future), and the research group (providing its competencies, facilities and RDI infrastructures).

A dedicated internet platform will be set up at the start so as to communicate proactively and continuously on CAPOEIRA developments in order to ensure two-way communication:


All the work will lead to a final conference and to a book, destined for business and research communities, written in a common language and collecting all the main project results:

  • The method of evaluation of innovation projects under the form of a ‘project opportunity assessment grid’ aggregating indicators defined so as to minimise the risks of investments in innovations (validated by port actors, technology platforms and advisory councils) and to guarantee that research will pass the commercialisation threshold.
  • The articles from a scientific board composed of relevant experts
  • The assessment of past projects, current and future needs of ports/products to be developed and common research topics to be addressed
  • The guidelines (key success factors for innovation, for implementation) for ports, research groups (technology platforms, organisations, industries, etc.) and EC research programmes.

Read moreexternal link

Freight Innovative Delivery in European Urban Spaces

The aim of the project is to provide a complementary set of vehicle solutions to support an innovative approach to the organisation of urban freight transport, in line with political strategies to safeguard the liveability of cities, while being compatible with efficient logistics. Urban freight delivery is both a contributor to and a victim of the growing congestion in urban areas, which exposes the population to noise, pollution and nuisance. The target of FIDEUS is to contribute to the economic livelihood of business and retail activities located in the city in a practical way, with policies oriented towards more sustainable mobility.

Tags: Multimodal


The growing traffic problems in cities also involve the urban supply chain, which is both a cause and a victim of such problems. If no measures are undertaken in the future, statistics show the risk of a continuous increase in traffic volumes that will be due in part to freight flows (about 20%). Such a situation affects the quality of life as well as the environment, and means a loss of efficiency for the freight transport itself.

Today’s solutions are often based on restrictive policies that include low emission zones, access control, road pricing or time limits for the logistic operations. It is only in the last few years that experimental initiatives have been going towards a positive approach, in which public authorities offer ad hoc facilities like freight villages or reserved lanes.

The 13 partners of the FIDEUS project, coordinated by Centro Ricerche FIAT and co-funded by the European Commission – DG Research, aim to develop a new approach for the freight delivery in urban space by proposing a family of vehicles with high performance, a reorganised logistic flow and a telematic tool for the logistics management.

The benefits expected are social (less congestion/environmental effects due to freight delivery) and economics (better efficiency in the operations). In terms of policy, the public authorities will have a greater degree of freedom in traffic control, with minimal effects on the operators.


FIDEUS proposes a new approach to the freight delivery through three types of actions:

  • the development of a complementary set of vehicles and equipment, specially conceived for undertaking urban deliveries and collection
  • the proposal of a new approach to the organisation of urban logistics, involving the coordinated use of different vehicle types, an innovative goods container and support systems to improve the management of delivery operations
  • the provision of tools and information, which will give practical support to city authorities in the planning and management of strategies for dealing with urban delivery traffic.

FIDEUS will be able to give a practical demonstration of the major features of a ‘clean’ logistics system which can:

  • implement an urban handling standard in terms of delivery and collection
  • provide a better level of control of urban delivery logistics
  • reduce the costs of transportation and distribution
  • enhance the quality of service (accuracy of deliveries, compliance with deadlines, etc.)
  • free up the urban delivery circuits and limit the level of congestion
  • make the best use of existing infrastructures, reducing the occupation of urban space
  • limit the nuisance and damage caused to the community and the environment
  • allow the city to be reclaimed by pedestrians.
Microvehicle transhipment to access pedestrian reserved areas
Microvehicle transhipment to access pedestrian reserved areas

Description of work

From a practical point of view, the FIDEUS project aims to develop a family of vehicles with high performance in terms of environmental impact reduction, noise level control and ergonomics. The basic idea is to exploit the different features of these vehicles to achieve an efficient logistic flow towards the cities. A specific strategy will be elaborated to move freight into city centres with fewer trips by medium-to-large vehicles, and to deliver the parcels using a micro-carrier that is able to circulate in pedestrian areas without any restriction. An alternative is a van with an ad hoc adaptation that could carry out deliveries in urban zones where low emissions and noise levels are mandatory.

This approach requires some cross-solutions to enhance and complete the capabilities of the proposed set of vehicles. For this purpose, FIDEUS has identified a multimode container to facilitate the freight handling and delivery, and a telematic system to manage the logistic flow. Obviously this extended package will adopt other practical measures, for example to achieve easy loading/unloading operations, to have transhipment areas or reserved lanes, to enable the vehicles to exchange data, to track the goods, etc.


Thirteen partners are involved in the FIDEUS project to design, develop and integrate all these solutions for a new approach to freight delivery. This challenge makes it essential to define an overall strategy to combine the use of each component and to exploit its specific features, so these offer benefits to the logistic chain. Technical solutions are not the only way to achieve sustainable urban logistics, but are tools to accept and collaborate with the policies in use in our cities. In this integrated approach, municipalities and public authorities can support the efforts made by the logistics operators by undertaking suitable backing measures, reserving, for instance, lanes at fixed times of day or creating transhipment areas in public spaces where the larger vehicles can unload their freight for consequent delivery in pedestrian areas with the Micro CUV.

The expected results therefore include the validation of the FIDEUS concepts, by demonstrating the feasibility, efficiency and sustainability of a freight flow based on the combined use of several platforms and co-operation between the players that make up the logistic chain in urban space.

Read moreexternal link

Coordination Action for the European Strategic Agenda of Research on Intermodalism and Logistics

Intermodal transport will supply more capacity, but this can only be achieved with a coordinated innovation agenda and various activities. Thus, it is necessary to bring together people with decision-making capabilities to influence the planning of research and technology programmes, hence the European Intermodal Research Advisory Council (EIRAC).

Tags: Multimodal


Freight transport in Europe has been growing more rapidly over the last ten years than the EU-15’s GDP, and even more than the mobility of people. One cause is the opening up of the transport market, which has occurred over the same period. The major drawbacks are represented by congestion, which is growing on the main European transport system, and the harmful effects on the environment and public health.

Moreover, the challenges of the enlargement compel new choices to be made to promote transport policy with more balanced, smarter and greener mobility systems.

A radical shift in the mentality and behaviour of actors in transport is needed. Intermodal aspects must be brought in at all phases of transport policy and planning, based on cost-effective, implemental research and technological development.

Efficient logistics and transport operations require reliable and secure flows of goods and traffic throughout both the transport and logistics chains. While in the past, infrastructure investment programmes were developed from a single mode approach, global logistics operations today favour the integration of modes and impose new priorities in the decision-making process. The logistic shifts towards global sourcing and centralised inventories demand larger geographical coverage and smoother international transport without any counterproductive delays in the networks.


CAESAR aims at fostering the creation of a new and common vision of intermodal research in Europe, by achieving the following objectives:

  • to establish research and development requirements in conjunction with business scenarios
  • to improve the implementation of intermodal research results by the relevant industry
  • to focus research programmes and their implementation (at EU and national levels) around a joint strategy.

To achieve these objectives, CAESAR will focus attention on real industry needs, the relevant business scenario, and then it will identify and focus on five main areas for innovation. At the proposal stage, a preliminary analysis has shown that the most important are:

  • logistics
  • interoperability between the systems
  • security
  • socio-economics
  • education and training.
Cover page of EIRAC's Strategic Intermodal Research Agenda 2020
Cover page of EIRAC's Strategic Intermodal Research Agenda 2020

Description of work

The work plan of CAESAR is organised into four main work packages (WP), coordinated by a proper project management work package. Each WP is organised into different tasks, aiming at fulfilling the different achievements expected by the Coordinated Action.

The Coordinated Action is planned to last 24 months. Each single work package is paced by different milestones to guarantee the work completion of each activity and task, and to synchronise the progress among the different WPs.

The CAESAR work packages are:

WP1: Project management

WP2: Establishment of the European Intermodal Research Advisory Council

WP3: Setting the strategic research agenda

WP4: Implementation strategy

WP5: Communication and dissemination strategy

Work Packages 1, 3 and 5 will last the whole of the CAESAR project, accompanying the coordination action along its path and development. WP2, lasting until month 12, is to set up the Plenary and sign the Terms of Reference (first 4 months), and to establish the reference Group of National Representatives (until month12). The implementation strategy (WP4) to develop the content of the strategic research agenda will last from month 4 until the end of the CA.


The establishment of EIRAC – European Intermodal Research Advisory Council – is the main objective of this initiative, with the aim of bringing together the stakeholders of the intermodal sector. The EIRAC will be established at the end of month 4 of the CA, and it will prepare, in accordance with the scheme provided in the description of WP3, the Strategic Research Agenda of Intermodal Transport. CAESAR will continue operating to ensure the existence of EIRAC after the completion of the project.

Although the details would be specified in the Terms of Reference (see section ‎, which are to be signed at the establishment of the European Intermodal Research Advisory Council, it is expected that the EIRAC will be composed of the following entities:

  • the Plenary, industry driven,
  • the Support Group, industry driven,
  • the Mirror Group, representatives of the EU Member States and Switzerland
  • the Secretariat.

The CAESAR consortium will provide the Secretariat services to the EIRAC.

The Terms of Reference rule the operation and decision-making process of the advisory council. They will include the scope, the mission, the process of processing and maintaining the strategic research agenda.

The Strategic Intermodal Research Agenda 2020 (SIRA) is the list of needs for future research and a compendium of the research strategy developed in conjunction with a business scenario. The contents of the strategic research agenda will be determined by key industrial figures, i.e. the EIRAC members. It will be based on prioritised areas of innovation targeted to specific industrial and business objectives set by the stakeholders.

The implementation plan is meant for change, to feed the work programmes of future EC Framework Programmes, and equivalent initiatives of the Member States and private investments.

All information on EIRAC will be made available:

EIRAC organisation chart
EIRAC organisation chart

Read moreexternal link

Coordinating Noise Transportation Research and Engineering Solutions

CANTOR brings together a number of the major European academic/research institutes in acoustic research, and engages a series of experts from government agencies and the vehicle manufacturing industry chain (from system to component level for both road and rail), to focus on a way of improving vehicle noise performance.

Tags: Multimodal


Within the next few decades the European vehicle industry will face a formidable task concerning noise pollution in urban areas. In the past, the noise and vibration research efforts in vehicles have been considerable but, despite this, no real breakthrough regarding new solutions of noise reduction can be claimed. Sustainable development in vehicle engineering, i.e. to save natural resources with respect to material and energy, requires lightweight, low-drag design, etc. However, a strict lightweight design contradicts requirements such as low noise, safety and functionality. The main reasons for such poor results are the fragmentation of European research and the lack of lasting co-operation between universities and industry. This negative trend must be broken.


The overall aim of CANTOR is to engage experts from the vehicle manufacturing industry chain from system to component level, government agencies and renowned research groups, to focus jointly on improved performance with a reduced impact on the environment, enabling a balanced system cost and maintaining comfort in road, rail and waterborne vehicles.

The means to achieve this goal is by accumulating and transferring the technology of existing knowledge and information on new prediction tools, measurement techniques, research plans and material data, as well as on new educational programmes applied to vehicle acoustics.

The aim is also to formulate new joint research programmes between industry and universities. The mobility of personnel within the consortium would be automatically stimulated by the partnership, enabling inter-research institute fast-track exchange and highly relevant cross-fertilisation effects. The results will be disseminated at seminars, meetings and workshops. The project, which has a research and educational base, will be complementary to such ongoing EU projects as EURNEX, CALM, SILENCE, QCITY and INMAR.

Description of work

The project seeks to reach its objectives through delivery studies on the nine principle areas of work in the project:

  1. Coordination of industrial and SME partners
  2. A catalogue of industrial and societal requirements
  3. Information of ongoing research activities
  4. Formulation and dissemination of a research strategy agreement
  5. Short-term exchange of personnel
  6. Marketing and coordination of educational programmes
  7. Coordination of advanced short courses
  8. Publicise prediction models, measurement techniques and a database of new materials
  9. A catalogue of research laboratory facilities.

An exploitation and strategy plan, mainly based on the selection of topics and partners within industrial, academic and governmental bodies for specific applications within EU programmes will be organised. Furthermore, the consortium participants will use the newly developed knowledge for high-level teaching to their students and in running short courses aimed at wider academic and industrial audiences. They also expect to benefit in terms of possible participation in other transportation industrial research projects. Through integrated committees this CA will deal with exploitation plans.

The members of the Advisory Board are Bombardier and Scania (SE), Umweltbundesamt and Müller- BBM (DE), SNCF and Akeryards (FR), LMS (BE) and FIAT (IT), who will identify the main problem areas or bottlenecks facing the industry whilst pursuing the goals set with respect to the reduction of noise pollution. Within each CANTOR work package, reports will be completed on existing and possible future methods for solving these by the industry identified problems. Limitations, as well as ongoing modifications and improvements, will be summarised, together with proven and possible future applications. Ongoing and if possible planned research activities within each field will also be listed.


The co-operation among the laboratories in CANTOR will enforce common best-practice protocols and experimental techniques in their work to make it possible for a better comparison between their results. These unified procedures, and material specimens possibly associated to them, may have a strong impact on facilitating the integrated work and advances in the RTD effort within the research community. Besides this, the jointly agreed techniques and material specimens may evolve into noise standards and reference materials, which may be later proposed to European institutions for further unified use in industry normalisation activities and environmental noise control.

Read moreexternal link

Integration of Two-component Ceramic Injection Moulding for Large-scale Production of Novel Multifunctional Ceramic Components for Automotive and Railway Applications

The aim of the project is the integration of the two-component ceramic injection moulding (2C-CIM) as a low-cost and large series production technique into the development of complex shaped ceramic components for automotive and railway applications, offering a high degree of structural and functional integrity.

Tags: Multimodal


During the last decades, ceramic manufacturers have proposed several alternative, high-performance ceramic engine parts to automotive producers. The most important benefits offered by ceramic materials over metallic ones are lower density, lower thermal expansion coefficient, superior mechanical resistance at elevate temperatures, higher wear resistance and chemical inertia. Future emission regulations require more effort towards a general friction loss reduction and the weight reduction of alternately moving engine parts contributes directly to an improvement in the engine’s efficiency.

The role of advanced ceramics in engineering structures largely depends on the possibility of reliable mass production of complex-shaped components at acceptably low costs. Because of the near-net-shape production and the economic efficiency of a large series, powder injection moulding (PIM) is the shaping technique of choice for metal/ceramic parts of complex geometry.

The co-injection moulding of two synthetic materials is applied to a great variety of automotive components. The ability to manufacture components to net-shape and surface engineer in a single manufacturing process by powder co-injection moulding should provide a further incentive for additional exploitation of this technique by generating new markets and providing more cost-effective manufacturing.


The main goal of the project is the development of novel ceramic components with a high degree of functionality, longer life cycles and shorter production times, which can be easily implemented into automotive and railway systems. For achieving this main goal, the following objectives must be attained:

  • adaptation of powder surface properties to the requirements of feedstock production
  • development and supply of new feedstocks suitable for low/high pressure 2C-CIM and an environmentally friendly debinding process
  • development and supply of material combinations for co-debinding and co-sintering processes
  • using simulation techniques for a more flexible and cost-saving production of 2C-CIM parts enclosing simulation tools for the complete processing chain, i.e. tool design, injection moulding, debinding and co-sintering
  • developing and providing advanced debinding and sintering concepts for 2C-CIM parts;
  • improving tool making technologies for 2C-CIM tools with tight tolerances and high precision without reworking
  • development of high-throughput 2C-CIM processes for prototype multifunctional ceramic parts
  • introduction of new advanced ceramic components with complex shape and combined functionalities
  • development of prototype systems for testing the developed automotive parts.
2C-CIM testing component consisting of black and white zirconia
2C-CIM testing component consisting of black and white zirconia
Fraunhofer IKTS

Description of work

2C-CIM will allow the production of advanced ceramic products on a large scale with increased functionality and a high degree of complexity, but at a lower cost level in comparison to other shaping techniques. The reason is that ceramic materials offer the possibility to combine properties like electrical conductivity with electrical isolation, transparency with opacity, high toughness with extreme hardness and wear resistance, magnetic properties with non-magnetic properties, porosity with density, etc. Moreover, all these property combinations can be achieved in just one shaping step without additional joining processes by 2C-CIM. This project will launch 2C-CIM as a high-throughput production process for complex shaped ceramic components in Europe. As well as for automotive and railway applications, this new technology will be of enhanced interest for all branches requiring ceramic materials or property combinations as mentioned above, because novel products could be produced by using 2C-CIM which cannot be achieved today for technical or economical reasons. In this way 2C-CIM will reinforce the competitiveness of the European PIM industry and of many industrial banches which will be able to provide new or improved products.


Four case studies related to automotive applications and to railway application will be carried out in this project: 1) ceramic braking pads for high-speed trains, 2) ceramic glow plug, 3) ceramic gear wheel, and 4) ceramic valve seat.

European automotive and railway industry will derive direct benefit from the project by gaining experience with the prototypes, which will be developed in the case studies, by material and feedstock combinations, which are adjusted to the requirements of the consumers, and from the complete 2C-CIM processing chain. Beside the above-mentioned prototypes, the following deliverables will be provided by this project:

  • powders with modified surface properties for improved feedstock preparation
  • high-pressure and low-pressure feedstocks adapted to 2C-CIM
  • interface for linking the simulation tools
  • FEM analysis results of the composite materials behaviour
  • debinding concepts for new developed materials and feedstock systems
  • processing guidelines for 2C-CIM prototype parts
  • report on life cycle and techno-economical assessment.

Launching 2C-CIM technology in the production of multifunctional advanced ceramic parts will strengthen the competitiveness of the European ceramic producers, which are mostly SMEs of which a large extent already use CIM for manufacturing one-component parts. 2C-CIM technology will open new market segments for the ceramic producers.

Read moreexternal link

Container Handling in Intermodal Nodes - Optimal and Secure!

Transport operators currently face several challenges, which are driven by commercial, legal/security and technical factors. CHINOS will support operators to exploit these challenges in the best possible way by employing innovative IT technology solutions such as radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. This combination of commercial and security issues in one approach makes CHINOS quite unique.

Tags: Multimodal


Operators of container terminals (seaports, inland ports, freight villages, rail/road intermodal terminals) and transport are currently facing several challenges that not only put additional burden on them but also offer potentials for process optimisation at the same time. There are several drivers for this project: commercial (how to cope with continuous rising cargo volumes to be handled), legal/security (how to deal with new security rules and regulations for fighting against terrorism, and the change of responsibilities in the chain), and technology (how best to integrate technologies such as RFID transponders for container identification and electronic seals, combining the benefits of classical bolt seals with RFID capabilities). All these drivers form a complex area that the CHINOS project wants to support.


CHINOS will support operators in exploiting the current challenges on commercial, legal/security and technical levels in the best possible way by employing innovative IT technology solutions. Processes can be optimised and accelerated tremendously by using automatic identification and condition checks with contact-free reading possibilities (container RFID tags, electronic seals, optical checks) without requiring human intervention. CHINOS terminal operators are able to optimise their storage space and to enhance the integration of transport modes along intermodal logistics chains by re-designing the procedures at their interfaces. Since the full benefit from new technologies can only be exploited if the total integration of (re-engineered) business processes and IT systems will be achieved, CHINOS will put a special focus on this integration work and carry out demonstrations at several European locations.

As RFID technology has not been used in container transport so far, transport users and authorities are not fully aware of the potentials offered for logistic and security purposes with regard to process automation, reduction of processing errors, increase of reliability, enhancement of status monitoring along the chain, fulfilment of security requirements, etc. CHINOS will help identify and open up the potentials of this new technology.

North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven (NTB)
North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven (NTB)
North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven GmbH & Co.

Description of work

The main objective of CHINOS is to optimise container handling in intermodal nodes by using innovative IT technology. The most challenging applications are the identification of cargo and equipment, and the detection of their status from both the economic and the security aspect. It is important to exploit the potentials of the RFID technology to the best possible extent for intermodal container logistics and security. Special emphasis will be laid on process integration and how the new technologies can be best embedded into existing (or re-engineered) business processes and IT systems along the chain in order to enhance the efficiency, information and service quality, security, speed of operation, and use of storage space on vehicles and in yards. CHINOS will concentrate on containers; however, the results can be transferred to other cargo units like swap bodies or semi-trailers.

CHINOS will research a methodology for the integration of container identification information using RFID technology, container security-related information (electronic seals), and optical container condition information (high-resolution images) in intermodal transport nodes thus supporting the business processes within the nodes and the total transport chains. An integrated prototype system for automatic container identification based on RFID-technology and optical damage documentation will be developed. It will be installed at European intermodal container handling nodes and operated under real-life conditions in order to validate the functionality, scalability and portability to other end-user scenarios. Furthermore, supporting the chain perspective, hinterland transport is included in the project by involving inland terminal operators, freight village operators and railway operators.


The results of the CHINOS project will improve both efficiency and security of container handling throughout the entire transport chain, taking into consideration the specific user requirements and needs of all stakeholders ranging from shipping companies, forwarders, freight owners and port operators to insurance companies and government agencies. By fostering the deployment of electronic seals, CHINOS will contribute to international efforts in the fight against terrorism and will support activities like the American Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the expected corresponding European initiatives.

CHINOS results will be ready-for-the-market IT tools (Automatic Container Identification Unit, Damage Documentation System, Communication Controller(s), Chain Event Manager) as well as technical and organisational recommendations on how to exploit these new technologies efficiently so as to be prepared for the actual and upcoming challenges.

Read moreexternal link

Coordination of CONcepts for NEw Collective Transport

The scope of this proposal is flexible collective mobility services (FCMS). This covers all forms of intermediate transport which may be classified as flexible and collective. The use of urban collective transport for passenger traffic and small goods traffic has important potential from the viewpoint of environment and city logistics. There are considerable possibilities to reduce (gasoline-fuelled) private traffic, save operating costs and increase the level of service experienced by the passenger whilst also encouraging the promotion of small alternatively-fuelled vehicles.

Tags: Multimodal


The domain of flexible transport services (FTS) covers a broad range of mobility products usually – but not necessarily – operated by moderate and/or small capacity vehicles. The distinguishing feature of FTS is that one or more of the dimensions of the service can be adjusted to meet the actual needs of the users. This means that the route can be designed for the specific requests of the users for that specific trip, the time of departure or arrival could be brought forward or delayed to suit the customers, a bigger or smaller vehicle could be used depending on the number of passengers, and a specifically equipped vehicle or trained driver could be assigned if a customer has special needs.

Throughout Europe, a wide range of FTS has now been established, including:

  • demand responsive transport (DRT) services for general use in rural areas
  • DRT services for general use in peri-urban and suburban areas
  • dedicated services for users who face difficulties using regular public transport (e.g. the elderly and disabled)
  • flexible services to replace fixed-line services at evenings and weekends
  • flexible services serving destinations of special demand, e.g. airports, shopping precincts.

However, such transport services to date do not yet exploit the true potential of flexible collective mobility and further work is required on the knowledge acquisition, analysis and dispatching functions of the intermediate transport solutions that are required in the pursuit of sustainable mobility.


The main objectives of CONNECT are:

  • to set up a continuously updated web-based ‘virtual library’
  • to support the development of skills and best practice in the field of FTS
  • to provide guidelines and recommendations for supporting business development of FTS
  • to organise thematic workshops for relevant user communities covering systems and operations, technologies, vehicles and vehicle technologies, and FTS businesses
  • to increase the awareness of CONNECT among a broader audience.
The front page of the CONNECT website for the knowledge repository of flexible transport services
The front page of the CONNECT website for the knowledge repository of flexible transport services
the CONNECT project

Description of work

WP1 (Project Management) ensured that the project was carried out as planned and that all relevant deadlines were met.

WP2 (Knowledge Repository) set up a common information system, which gathered and managed information on on-going research, the state-of-the-art and good practice in flexible transport and its supporting technologies.

WP3 (Training and Skills) aimed to support the development of skills and best practice in the field of FTS through a number of actions, including provision of courses, training and educational resources, facilitation of personnel exchanges and collection, development and promotion of best practice.

WP4 (Business Development) generated and formalised the necessary knowledge to provide valuable guidelines and recommendations for supporting business development of FTS, from a multidisciplinary point of view and producing knowledge on business models, organisational issues and on regulatory, legal and policy aspects.

WP5 (User Community Workshops) organised four thematic workshops for the user communities involved in flexible and responsive forms of transport, generating and distributing advance relevant preparatory materials, and preparing key public reports on the workshop themes.

WP6 (Dissemination) had two main objectives: raising awareness about CONNECT, and especially the knowledge repository developed in WP2, and the dissemination of materials and information.


CONNECT has achieved the following:

Established a continuously updated web-based virtual library on the domain of FTS. It is publicly available and designed as a resource to assist practitioners.

Supported knowledge transfer and training by developing materials for training courses on FTS based on a modular approach, organising study tours, identification and promotion of good practice.

Researched current practice of FTS in Europe, with special focus on business models, institutional and organisational frameworks, and legal and regulatory frameworks.

Developed methods and resources for developing and assessing options for business models for FTS. This is original work as a result of CONNECT and looks very promising.

Organised four thematic workshops on FTS in three different countries, covering systems and operations, technologies for FTS, business models, and vehicles and vehicle technologies.

Disseminated and exchanged knowledge by making information publicly available and presenting this at a wide range of conferences and workshops.

The CONNECT Virtual Library: The virtual library contains documents, reports and presentations on many different aspects of flexible transport. It is accessible via the CONNECT website, making it a valuable, publicly accessible resource for all practitioners and user communities. The virtual library currently contains over 230 different documents on flexible transport and has a matrix structure, classified according to passenger transport, freight transport, urban transport and rural transport. Documents are characterised by metadata to improve searching. This expert database aids both the CONNECT consortium partners and external stakeholders in implementing and optimising flexible transport services. It is expected that a continuous process of updating and maintenance of the virtual library will be put in place.

Accessible vehicle used on demand responsive transport service in a sparsely populated area in North East England
Accessible vehicle used on demand responsive transport service in a sparsely populated area in North East England
Northumberland County Council

Read moreexternal link

DE-LIGHT Transport
Developing Lightweight Modules for Transport Systems featuring Efficient Production and Life-cycle Benefits at Structural and Functional Integrity using Risk-based Design

DE-LIGHT Transport aims to develop new solutions, methods and tools for the design, production, integration and testing of complex modular lightweight structures in ships, intermodal transport containers and railway vehicles. Focus is given to the development of multi-material modules with a higher degree of pre-outfitting, as compared to the optimization of structural components which was mainly done in previous projects. Results will be used and demonstrated in large scale prototypes for six application cases.

Tags: Multimodal


The project is based on previous national and European projects which largely focused on the development of structural lightweight components. DE-LIGHT Transport will use this results, but focus more on the development of modular pre-outfitted units and the technologies and knowledge required for their design, manufacturing, assembly and operation.DE-LIGHT Transport aims to overcome the following challenges and obstacles identified in previous projects, such as the Coordination Action SAND.CORe:· Available lightweight solutions in the maritime and rail sectors mainly focus on the use of lightweight materials (e.g. fibre reinforced plastics, polymeric foam panels etc) or innovative designs better utilizing traditional materials (e.g. laser welded metallic sandwich panels).

  • Insufficient design tools and design data make optimum design for end-users difficult and time consuming. The project will complement and combine algorithms and dedicated engineering design tools developed primarily in the HYCOPROD and SANDWICH projects.
  • Lightweight applications for commercial ships are currently limited to non load-bearing components and the superstructures of large ships. In the rail sector, these applications are restricted to non- or semi-structural components.
  • Currently available lightweight components for transport systems are expensive one-off products. Their properties do sometimes not fit to the extreme operational requirements in transport systems. They are primarily designed to fulfil single purposes and do not integrate multiple functions.
  • Joining, onboard assembly and onboard outfitting are complicated and expensive, operational cost and potential benefits are not sufficiently specified. This puts the life cycle cost efficiency of available lightweight solutions at risk.
  • Potential benefits of lightweight solutions for the transport industry are not fully used, because product and production concepts do not support the application or because safety and commercial risks cannot be controlled.


The project aims to produce a number of new design solutions using risk based design methods. Furthermore a sophisticated design tool will be developed based on results of previous research projects such as Sand.Core, Sandwich and HYCOPROD.The overall objective of the DE-LIGHT Transport project is to elaborate and demonstrate innovative integrated lightweight modules (integrating load-bearing and other functionalities) as well as the design, production and testing methods and procedures. The solutions developed will feature significant operational benefits as well as reduced building cost, i.e. decreased life cycle cost. Risk management and the application of risk based design methods will allow to develop highly innovative solutions exceeding the range of existing classification rules by exploring new material combinations, innovative joining, assembly and pre-outfitting techniques. The strategic objectives can be summarized as:

  • To make better use of innovative materials and material combinations in multi-functional lightweight components (DESIGN SOLUTIONS)
  • To improve reliability, quality, cost and lead time in developing and designing lightweight solutions and to make knowledge more easily accessible (DESIGN TOOL)
  • To improve cost efficiency and quality and to reduce lead time in production and service of integrated lightweight modules (PRODUCTION, MAINTENANCE and SERVICE TECHNIQUES)
  • To elaborate and harmonize efficient and reliable testing, validation and life-cycle cost assessment methods and procedures (TEST PROCEDURES)
  • To control the safety and commercial risks related to the development and application of innovative lightweight modules and to prove fitness for purpose of the developed solutions (RISK BASED DESIGN METHODS)
  • To foster a wider and more efficient industrial application of integrated lightweight modules and structures (INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION) The scope of applications followed by DE-LIGHT reaches from passenger and RoRo ships, through cargo and short sea ships, to intermodal transport units and railway carriages
Project Work Plan - PERT-Diagram for the project DE-Light Transport
Project Work Plan - PERT-Diagram for the project DE-Light Transport

Description of work

Six industry driven application cases showing high potential benefits for lightweight modules as well as a high degree of innovation will be studied and demonstrated in DE-LIGHT Transport. Those cases will drive, apply and validate the new technology development, grouped in three generic work packages.The application cases comprise in particular:

  1. Deck house for inland waterway and sea cargo ships.
  2. Side and deck structures for RoRo vessels.
  3. Composite deck structures for marine applications.
  4. Sandwich superstructures for offshore patrol vessels.
  5. Intermodal cargo units for freight transit.
  6. Rail vehicle driver’s cab.Key technologies, methods and tools needed for the application cases will be developed in three scientific work packages focusing on design, production and testing.
Those are:

  • WP1: Development of new design algorithms against various failure modes and their integration into an innovative multi-material sandwich design tool. DE-LIGHT Transport will, compared to previous work which has often focussed on a particular type of sandwich construction, implement a more generic design approach that will allow the evaluation and optimisation of a wide range of material and structural mixes according to the requirements of a given application.
  • WP2: Strategies for joining, assembly and outfitting – the bringing together and integration of separate sandwich panels and/or sub-components to produce finished structures.
  • WP3: Testing and validation procedures – to provide accurate and reliable methods of determining fitness for purpose with advanced testing methods.The work package structure of DE-LIGHT Transport is shown in the scheme attached.


The research work performed in the generic work packages will be adapted and applied within the six application cases, including passenger ship decks, RoRo decks, cargo and short sea shipping, intermodal transport units and a railway cab. A full scale prototype will be developed in each application case. It will address characteristic and critical areas focused on safety, pre-outfitting, joining and assembling. To support this work a design tool building on previous work will be produced with a range of realistic design scenarios of use for the designer in the real world. The design tool will be based on the algorithms developed in previous research project as well as on new algorithms developed within in the scientific part of the project. As a result of delight sandwich materials are expected to be applied with confidence in real world transport applications. The overall results can be summarized as follows:

  • A multi-material sandwich design tool,
  • Strategies for joining, assembly and outfitting – summarized in a manufacturing handbook and applied in the application cases
  • Testing and validation procedures – summarized in recommendations for new testing standards and applied in the application cases
  • Direct application of the results in the transport sector and proven by full scale prototypes
Application Cases within DE-Light Transport
Application Cases within DE-Light Transport

Read moreexternal link

European Research Forum for Urban Mobility

This project aims to help match the demand and supply side of EU research in the field of urban mobility, better assess the research needs of the sector, and validate (by stakeholder consultation) the research priorities for urban mobility, bearing in mind EU and national research programmes, notably the Seventh Framework Programme.

Tags: Multimodal


Around 80% of European citizens live in urban areas, which is where 85% of European GNP is generated.

Urban public transport is a key issue for the EU. Efficient urban transport systems are critical for the functioning and sustainable development of urban areas. They ensure that:

  • all citizens have proper access to all components of urban life (including education, employment, culture)
  • the risk of social exclusion is minimised
  • the distribution of goods is properly achieved
  • the quality of urban life is improved.

Several EU policies are influenced by the decisions taken on urban mobility and could benefit from better coordination of actions in that regard: energy supply, safety and security, environmental policy, regional policy, internal markets and others.

The urban mobility sector needs research in order to be able to keep up with the pace of technological and societal changes, and to maintain the attractiveness of its offer for users.

The EU is already taking steps towards supporting research co-operation and stimulating research excellence in surface transport. This is being done notably through modal European technology platforms such as ERRAC (rail) and ERTRAC (road). However, urban transport transversal issues are not fully covered by those platforms, and stakeholders in the sector felt that there was a gap which needed to be filled.


The project intends to achieve a full inclusion of urban mobility issues into the EU research agenda. The project will identify and develop innovative concepts and tools for organising a proper coordination at EU level between all relevant stakeholders concerning research on urban mobility.

This is going to be achieved through:

  • identification of priority research areas in the field of urban mobility which would benefit from a better coordination of stakeholders at EU level, taking into account both technology- and policy-oriented research
  • identification and promotion of innovative research strategies for sustainable urban transport, and of coordinated information and communication strategies targeting transport users and operators
  • proposing instruments serving to improve the knowledge base on urban mobility Europe-wide
  • promotion of tools supporting urban transport policy development, such as integration of land use planning, including technical harmonisation at the European level
  • promotion of intermodality between existing mobility services and of innovative intermodal mobility services in urban areas
  • building up appropriate links between existing modal technology platforms (ERRAC, ERTRAC) in order to cover transversal/intermodal issues addressing similar priorities.


Description of work

The project will be divided into five work packages. Three key work packages (WP1: State of the art and vision, WP2: Strategic research agenda, WP3: Stakeholder relationship management) will be inter-related through a matrix structure with four research areas: a) Data collection/demand analysis, b) Sustainable strategies/ traffic planning and management/land use, c) Integrated and harmonised systems and services, and d) User aspects – security, comfort, accessibility.

WP1 will look at the achievements of urban mobility research so far and formulate a vision for the future. Its crucial task is to determine the current status of research and technological development in the field of urban mobility.

The primary objective of WP2 will be to elaborate a strategic research agenda (SRA), i.e. a detailed action plan for the structuring and implementation of European research priorities in the field of urban mobility.

WP3 will ensure, through organising and moderating two EURFORUM plenary sessions (in 2007), the validation of key deliverables by relevant stakeholders from various urban mobility fields (operators, organising authorities, industry and users), selected according to their role and decision-making position in the sector, respecting proportions of European countries represented.

WP4 will be dealing with dissemination issues and WP5 with project management.


State of the art: In order to develop forward-looking research approaches and questions, it is essential to assess the current situation of science and knowledge in the field of urban mobility, and to identify within the Member States the various categories of local, regional and national decision-makers who should be involved in European research on urban mobility at the European level. This deliverable will look at the current development status in technology and knowledge in this field in collaboration with all project partners and in consultation with the stakeholders.

Vision: This deliverable will provide a set of questions and answers concerning the future evolution of various factors having an impact on urban mobility. Furthermore, the vision will include considerations on how research can help to achieve sustainable urban mobility in the years to come.

Strategic research agenda (SRA) will be a detailed action plan for the structuring and implementation of European research priorities in the field of urban mobility. The SRA will serve as a ‘groundwork’ that initiates and goes together with the discussion among the relevant stakeholders concerned with urban mobility in Europe. For each research area, the following elements will be included:

  • formulation of proposals for transversal (intermodal) topics,
  • integration of modal topics, including those proposed by other technology platforms.

Read moreexternal link

Fast Transhipment Equipment and Novel Methods for Rail Cargo in Europe

The project FastRCargo aims at developing the fastest transhipment system with the potential of a significant impact on rail innovations for 2010 and beyond. The system tranships standardised intermodal transport units between standardised rail wagons and trucks below active power lines.

Tags: Multimodal


Fast and adequate rail transhipment of standardised intermodal transport units (sITU) remains one of the highest ranked challenges of rail research. A cost-efficient solution for this topic is key for further enhancements towards sustainable competitiveness of intermodality against mono-modal road transport.


The project FastRCargo aims at developing a new transhipment system for fast loading and unloading of standardised intermodal transport units (sITU, consisting of ISO containers and swap bodies) between rail and road vehicles, and terminal or support vehicle structures. Interoperability and inter-connectivity between rail and road transport for cross-operation is perfectly supported by the fact that road standardised production means will be seamlessly integrated into rail operation without any modification, without excessive operating time and for reasonable friction costs. Intermodal liner networks will become reality with the system proposed.

The main objectives are:

  • to develop an automatic transhipment system, consisting of a set of equipment featuring a high degree of flexibility, scalability, dependability and ease of integration
  • to develop effective rail transport and service concepts, contributing to a sustainable alternative to road haulage
  • to develop further components needed in order to complement the equipment to a versatile intermodal node as part of a broader logistic and transport system
  • to verify the sustainability of the new rail transport service concepts, the complementary systems and the new transhipment equipment within a commercially oriented user group.

Description of work

FastRCargo is divided into nine work packages.

WP0: The project management activity covers all the work necessary to provide direction and administrative support to the project.

WP1: This activity aims to support the development-related work packages in setting guidelines for design, realisation and evaluation.

WP2: This aims to research rail-specific aspects for integrating the new fast transhipment system into valid rail services of the future.

WP3: The main objective is to build the required system components according to the modularity concept and integration framework developed in WP1.

WP4: The loading/unloading process in the context of FastRCargo has to be considered as a highly safety-critical process. This work package aims at developing a set of reliable integrated packages for sensing.

WP5: The two main objectives of this work package include (1) development of an appropriate software model and coherent software architecture for control purposes, and (2) to define appropriate use scenarios and ‘guidelines’ for the operational phase.

WP6: It aims to integrate the hardware and software sub-systems developed in other work packages into one system.

WP7: This work package mainly builds the demonstrator and evaluates its further potential.

WP8: Dissemination of project information will start early in the project to ensure broad awareness.


By focusing on innovation and novelty for intermodality and interoperability, the project contributes to an increase of image, public acceptance and share of mind for rail transport and its actors. This will lead to a higher media presence and societal acceptance of transport and rail transport in particular. The project supports policy-makers with sustainable supplement for intermodal transport in its present form and thus a valid alternative, which is:

  • in support of existing intermodal networks and their developments
  • in support of local, regional and industry-specific long-term environmental objectives
  • in support of high yield investments.

Potential impact:

With the use of technologies developed within the project, novel transport methods will become a strategic option, especially for new entries and innovative operators. When applying new paradigms for rail operation as well, various new alternatives for rail transport production methods become feasible for realisation and reinforcing competitiveness of intermodal rail cargo vs. truck transport. For example:

  • shifting the balance between modes of transport
  • removal of bottlenecks
  • fast execution of the loading operation and by the fact that trains can be manipulated while waiting on bypass tracks with active electrical power lines.

Read moreexternal link

Fuel-cell Powertrains and Clustering in Heavy-duty Transports

FELICITAS aims to develop fuel-cell systems that are capable of meeting the demands of heavy-duty transport for road, rail and marine applications. These systems will be highly efficient, power-dense, durable, robust and reliable.

Tags: Multimodal


Two of the fuel-cell (FC) technologies most suitable for heavy-duty transport applications are polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). Currently neither technology is capable of meeting the wide-ranging needs of heavy-duty transport because of either low efficiencies (PEFC) or poor transient performance (SOFC). FELICITAS proposes the development of high-power fuel-cell clusters (FCC), which group FC systems with other technologies, including batteries, thermal energy and energy recuperation. The FELICITAS consortium will first undertake the definition of the requirements on FC powertrains for the different heavy-duty transport modes. This will lead to the development of FC powertrain concepts, which, through the use of advanced multiple simulations, will undertake evaluations of technical parameters, reliability and life-cycle costs. Alongside the development of appropriate FC powertrains, the consortium will undertake fundamental research to adapt and improve existing FC and other technologies, including gas turbines, diesel reforming and sensor systems for their successful deployment in the demanding heavy-duty transport modes. This research work will combine with the FC powertrains design and simulation work to provide improved components and systems, together with prototypes and field testing where appropriate. The FELICITAS consortium approach will substantially improve European FC and associated technology knowledge and expertise in the field of heavy-duty transport.


FELICITAS focuses on the development of fuel-cell drive trains capable of meeting the demands of heavy-duty transport for road, rail and marine applications. The main requirements include power levels above 200 kW, power density at about 200 kW/t, system efficiency at about 60%, fuelled by hydrogen and/or hydrocarbon, having robustness and longevity, improved environmental impact and price competitiveness to conventional IC engines.

The scientific and technological approach in FELICITAS comprises clustering and hybridisation. FELICITAS will contribute by providing improved SOFC technology for marine applications, onboard diesel reforming technology for SOFC powertrains, and gas turbine technology for hybrid SOFC powertrains. In consequence of the so far predominantly stationary application of the SOFCs, significant improvements in performance and design are necessary to meet the requirements of heavy-duty transport.

Onboard fuel reforming will be a critical issue too within the framework of FELICITAS, because operating on high-energy-density fuels, such as liquid fuels, is essential for long distance operation of heavy-duty vehicles or ships. Addressing the particular demands of marine applications is therefore the first logical step in the use of SOFC for mobile applications.

FELICITAS will improve PEFC technology in a similar manner by developing PEFC clusters for heavy-duty road and light rail applications and hybrid PEFC clusters with extended durability, efficiency and increased power dynamics. PEFC technology is already well adapted for automotive applications, but the durability and power levels of PEFC remain a challenge: PEFC efficiency does not exceed 50% due to electrochemical restrictions. However, hybridisation and clustering of PEFC modules developed within FELICITAS should be a cost-efficient and practicable way to overcome this limitation.

Description of work

The subprojects and work packages draw on the principal FELICITAS themes of FC clustering and FC hybridisation.

Subproject 1 – ‘Application requirements and system design’ – addresses the issues of FC-based propulsion and auxiliary power units (APU) for heavy-duty transport. This phase of the project brings together the operators and end users of heavy-duty vehicles to define the basic performance and physical requirements of the propulsion and APU systems. FC-based systems will be designed to meet these requirements. The subproject leader is Lürssen, a shipbuilder located in Germany.

Subprojects 2 and 3 are devoted to the improvement of FC types suitable for heavy-duty transport – SOFC and PEFC – and are led by FELICITAS’ major industrial partners and FC producers – Rolls-Royce and Ballard respectively.

The scope of Subproject 2 – ‘Mobile hybrid SOFC’ – is the marinisation of the Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell SOFC product currently being developed for stationary power generation. This will require components, systems and packaging improvements and modifications to meet the exacting needs of a marine application.

Subproject 3 – ‘PEFC-Cluster’ – concentrates on improving PEFC reliability and power level by clustering. The performance and packaging of these PEFCs are already very well advanced for mobile applications.

Subproject 4 – ‘Power management’ – concerns general technical problems of FC-based propulsion and will be led by one of the major research partners, FhG IVI.


Read moreexternal link

Human Oriented Sustainable Transport mean

The HOST project aims at developing a multipurpose transport mean. Due to the modularity of the chassis and powertrains, HOST is capable of being equipped with a variety of bodies, providing new services for mobility and goods displacement in towns, and organising urban motorised traffic in a more rational way.

Tags: Multimodal


Today’s European cities face many problems and transport is one of the most relevant, if not the most relevant. Mobility in cities gives problems of congestion, energy consumption, pollutant emissions, loss of green belts, occupancy of public spaces and, last but not least, health and safety. Although passenger transport is always perceived to be the main cause of mobility-related problems, recent studies proved that freight transport impact is also an issue: between 30 and 40% of energy consumed for transport in cities is due to freight transport. Any of the attempts made so far, for either research or demonstration purposes, to have a cleaner mobility based on low polluting vehicles have been successful in demonstrating that cleaner vehicles are technically feasible, but have failed to launch a real market for non-polluting vehicles. Low impact buses have been tested in many research projects and proved to be much less polluting than conventional ones, but have not been commonly adopted by city public transport companies because they are more expensive and problematic. To lower the impact of mobility on the cities, cleaner vehicles are not enough: an integrated passenger and freight strategy must be adopted. Cleaner vehicles must be specifically designed for the purpose and prove to be better than conventional ones under any aspect, including costs.


The HOST objectives are:

  • to subvert the vehicle design process and instead of designing the vehicle on the basis of the available technology, let it start from the real user needs
  • to design a multipurpose vehicle which can be used for several tasks over a period of 24 hours, thus reducing the investment costs for an environmentally friendly vehicle
  • to develop a modular powertrain with interchangeable power generation units so as to minimise the impacts of the vehicle circulation according to the task it is supplying
  • to integrate a drive-by-wire steering system
  • to design a modular chassis capable of changing length according to the capacity (in terms of volume of freight or number of passengers) it has to have for the task it is supplying
  • to design different vehicle cabins which can be easily and automatically switched for passenger and freight transport
  • to integrate in the vehicle chassis an advanced horizontal transhipment device capable of transferring pallets of freight as well as facilitating the cabin interchange
  • to manufacture the HOST prototype and to test it, so to prove the concept.

Fulfilling all these objectives will lead to the design and construction of a vehicle which could supply freight and passenger services economically in cities and allow, if adopted in combination with some accompanying measures, city mobility to become more sustainable.

Description of work

HOST proposes to use one modular vehicle platform with four different cabins to accomplish four different transport tasks. To verify that such a concept was feasible and to dimension the low environmental impact of such a vehicle, a severe acquisition campaign was set up in three different European cities: Oeiras (PT), Rome (IT) and Stockholm (SE). The first act of the user needs analysis (UNA) provided the working methodology to be followed in data collection and analyses, aiming to introduce a new method to design vehicles: instead of starting from the technology and looking for a proper application of it, HOST investigated a number of services and defined the needs of each of them. The UNA deals with the needs identification, subdivided by user, market and driving needs: it concerns the definition of the vehicle technical specifications, capable of satisfying simultaneously all the needs and the identification of the potential market for such a vehicle. The three cities were asked to choose at least two (one freight and one passenger, and one night-time and one daytime) from among the four services identified since the proposal:

  • night-time collective taxi
  • daytime car sharing services
  • daytime freight collection and distribution
  • night-time garbage collection.

The technical specifications that have arisen constitute the basis for the design and the following construction phase.


The progress made so far is mainly related to the definition of the vehicle’s technical specifications, representing the guiding input for the whole design phase (enclosing both chassis and powertrain), which is now completed. The main achievements of the initial study were the definition of the HOST prototype as a whole, in terms of dimension and bulk of the platform (chassis and suspension) as well as the various boxes constituting the powertrain and the human machine interface (fig.2). The results obtained confirm that a common powertrain can accomplish the four tasks selected by adding modules for extra energy storage or an auxiliary power unit. A particular reference has been reserved for the transhipment system where the HOST concept has to carry a device that enables the prototype to tranship the cabin and/or body vehicle as an intermodal transport unit in a practical way and therefore let the vehicle enter into logistic process flows (fig. 1). Fulfilling all these objectives will lead to the design and construction of a vehicle which could economically supply freight and passenger services in cities and allow, if adopted in combination with some accompanying measures, city mobility to become more sustainable.

Read moreexternal link

Integrated Standard Transport Unit for Self-guided Freight Container Transportation Systems on Rail

The ISTU STREP project investigates, develops and demonstrates a cost-effective integrated propulsion unit and individual self-driven, two-container, cost-improved rail platform wagons for freight container transport between ports and cargo distribution centres. The new motor concept, integrating all the major propulsion features, is a key technology suited for the designed harbour vehicle called ISTU.

Tags: Multimodal


There has been an increase in the transport of shipped containers from modern harbour infrastructures, which have eco-efficient, clean and fast logistic systems, to discharge ships that send the cargo urgently to interim logistic centres where it can than be selected for final destination. More and more automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) are under consideration as an analysis in the last ten years has shown their effectiveness and cost advantages. Today only a few ports have been equipped with AGVs; most still work with a manual-driven operation.

Such systems are expensive and the pollution aspects with diesel-driven vehicles are high, increasing the energy cost further for operators. Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, these diesel engines operating around the clock in harbours that are mostly located in the centre of cities are seen in a bad light due to their polluting features.

This project considers an alternative technology for such AGVs to overcome some of these major problems within a future generation. ISTU concentrates on the design and specification of a two-container wagon for terminal applications based on a speed of up to 50 km/h with a diesel-electric power supply unit to provide an autonomous integrated electrical propulsion system. The chosen technology can be extended to all major future eco-efficient systems.


The target is the design, marketing and validation of such container platforms, satisfying a practical driving cycle of two-container wagons within terminal applications including their requested security and application aspects. A major objective is to integrate all the main propulsion components such as motor, power converter, cooling and embedded controllers in one drive. With this propulsion rated at 30 kVA, we expect to create the basic drive component for the container platform with improved characteristics of a reduced cost (by 30%), an efficiency increase of 2% and a system availability of up to 98%, validated by a laboratory set-up.

As a technical goal, the ISTU vehicle is designed for terminal application based on a standard speed of 12 km/h and a maximum speed of up to 50 km/h. The ISTU project optimises and designs the complete vehicle system, i.e. all electro-mechanical components, including a diesel-electric power supply unit to provide an autonomous integrated electrical propulsion system.

The full vehicle integration is part of the project while the engineering work will concentrate on the documentation and the specification of all needed components, including the power supply in the form of a cost effective diesel/generation set. The product will be evaluated as per its cost targets where we have set strong objectives for market acceptance.

The market approach and the application is a final objective of the project, including security aspects for such systems in their environment and the dissemination in the market of the chosen technology.

Integrated Propuslion Motor Unit 'IPMOT'
Integrated Propuslion Motor Unit 'IPMOT'

Description of work

The project analysed the needs and application scenarios in harbours with related logistic centres. Using basic assumptions, the targets for the drive requirements were set and the according engineering process started. To avoid critical interference from the different involved partners and their tasks, we coupled the drive with the wheels of the platform via a cardan shaft although not a standard in today’s rail technology. Via this approach we could proceed to simultaneous engineering while the cost targets were reached. The design of the vehicle and the propulsion could be done individually.

A first prototype of the Integrated Propulsion Motor Unit called ‘IPMOT’ confirmed the technical features and revealed some improvement possibilities with regard to the overloading characteristics of such a motor. In a redesigned and completed product, we integrated these features by smaller changes in the winding layout. In parallel, the full vehicle was designed with a proper diesel-electric power supply unit and all components integrated in the vehicle structure.

As an extension from this technology, a road driven vehicle was additionally analysed.


To cope with the objectives, we have chosen a simple switched reluctance 30 kW motor as a base propulsion component. This motor has been dimensioned and the layout done for all the requested components of this integration process. Furthermore, a brake system has been added on the shaft of the motor.

Within a redesign we have considerably increased the overload capabilities so as to allow the integrated motor to be the main component within future hybrid drives. This drive has been analysed for road operation which is an alternative market request. The engineering for a rail vehicle is actually validated on a test belt although the simulated results are demonstrating the targeted values already.

Dissemination has been done at several conferences and will also be carried out in the World Cargo News. The technology has been presented to different ports and will be demonstrated next at a fair. A follow-up intends to intensify the work on a suitable logistical control to arrive at an unmanned automatic piloted transport system for eco-efficient electrical power supply system.

Extending this system to dense industrial areas where such systems are expected to reduce road traffic, pollution and noise is a possibility. ISTU is an official Trade Mark.

ISTU vehicle rail platform
ISTU vehicle rail platform

Read moreexternal link

Quiet City Transport

This project will develop an integrated technology infrastructure for the efficient control of ambient noise from road and rail. The activity supports the European noise policy to eliminate harmful effects of noise exposure and decrease levels of transport noise, especially in urban areas, deriving solutions that will ensure compliance with the constraints of legislative limits.

Tags: Multimodal


The project objectives are fully compliant with the requirements and needs of the final end users: municipalities and industry. The municipalities and industry need, in order to comply with EC regulations, to create noise maps, identify and analyse the noise hot spots and quiet areas, and prepare proper action plans. The QCITY project addresses this need by providing the municipalities with the tools to meet these requirements (eventually through service providers) and to provide industry with products that enable them to carry out the provisions of the action plans. All the choices made in this work plan and in the partner selection have to be seen from this single point of view: the proposed solutions have to be relatively easy to implement in a short time by the municipalities (as part of the action plans), they have to be generally applicable, perform at low cost and be accepted by all parties involved. Solutions which require, for example, changes in the vehicle design (e.g. new powertrains) are not compliant with the above. This is why the involvement of vehicle manufacturers is small. Highly critical is the involvement of the tyre manufacturer, Goodyear, and wheel set manufacturer, Lucchini, since solutions at vehicle/infrastructure interface are much easier to implement in time and have a significant effect.


QCITY proposes a range of measures and solutions that can realistically be integrated both from an economic, as well as a practical, point of view in the action plans, which the cities (municipalities) will have to produce as a consequence of the EC Noise Directive 2002/49/EC. QCITY starts with the identification of hot spots on existing noise maps from a large number of cities. Some noise hot spots are then researched in detail with specific software in order to find the root cause of the problems. Various solutions will be studied for each of the selected hot spots and their effects determined, also considering the number of people affected and the degree of impact. Besides addressing transport noise problems with conventional technical solutions, QCITY incorporates issues such as traffic control, town planning, architectural features, noise perception issues, intermodal transport, change between transport modes, traffic restrictions, enforcement measures, economic incentive measures, introduction of hybrid vehicles and new guided public transport vehicles. In the first phase, the emphasis will be on noise mapping, and on the conceptual design of the considered solutions and their potential impact. In the second phase, the most promising solutions will be designed in detail for a specific hot-spot problem selected in each participating city. The solutions will be implemented "in situ" and validated.

Description of work

QCITY is a four-year project divided into seven different subprojects (SP).

SP1: Noise maps and modelling - handles the analysis of hot spots on city noise maps, which includes detailed analysis with the aid of simulations and measurements.

SP2: Vehicle sources - aims at the development and validation of pertinent tools for noise control at source from road and rail traffic, including traffic control measures.

SP3: Vehicle/infrastructure interface - addresses the development and validation of tools for noise control that examine and can analyse measures for the vehicle/infrastructure interface for road and rail traffic (tyre/road, wheel/rail).

SP4: Propagation and receiver parameters - tackles the development and validation of tools that investigate the influence of sound propagation and receiver parameters, including measures relating to town planning.

SP5: Design and implementation of solutions at validation sites - uses the final detailed designs of all retained solutions and implements these solutions for validation in the cities concerned. The validation sites will also be used for dissemination and promotional purposes.

SP6: Consolidation – Action plans – Dissemination - collects and consolidates all data from the various SPs and bundles them into an action plan that will be disseminated to all interested stakeholders.

SP7: Management - maintains total oversight of the project.


The QCITY project will produce two comprehensive action plans: the first one aims at the general improvement of the noise climate, whilst the second one addresses solutions to noise complaints. The noise action plan consolidates the noise reduction measures from the various SPs and provides overviews of reduction through traffic planning, through the reduction of emissions from road and rail traffic, through noise barriers and physical town planning. The overview will consist of lists of possible measures and a set of features associated with each measure. These include the expected noise reduction, the cost and limitations in applicability. The overviews are translated in such a way that, when used in conjunction with noise maps, cities can use them to make a first selection of possible measures for their noise action plan. The handling of complaints will be based on a toolbox with specific measures to reduce specific localised noise emissions from road and rail traffic. The toolbox will also include a set of features associated with each measure that includes the expected noise reduction, the cost and the limitations in applicability.

Read moreexternal link

Design of an Innovative System for the Drive and Control of Port Cranes for Safe Remote Operation

This project focuses on port cranes to increase their performance and safety and human operator working conditions, thus eliminating the gap between theoretical and real productivity (lifts/hour) of cranes. The core problem of crane productivity is the loss of efficiency from the human operator due to the stressful working conditions inside the crane cabin. SECURCRANE will develop a remote crane control, and an innovative anti-sway device, providing the operator with all information physically ‘sensed and seen’ in his position onboard so that a 3D television image supplies the driver at a remote site with the same information/functions as he had from the crane cabin seat.

Tags: Multimodal


In the manufacturing field of port cranes, manufacturers usually neglect research and innovation due to highly detailed bids from buyers and severe price competition. Current anti-sway devices are mainly based on several physical/electrical principles (combining sensors/actuators to rebalance sway and damp oscillations). Their performance rates and cost/benefit ratios are not satisfactory, and many crane operators admit to working with the anti-sway switched off. The absence of efficient and cost effective anti-sway systems have prevented the introduction of remote crane control.

The project covers the social aspects of innovation, involving crane drivers from the start and focusing on their re-qualification of their job position after the remote crane cabin has been adopted.


SECURCRANE addresses two specific problems, distinct but highly interconnected, which affect the crane operator’s behaviour:

  1. the stressful working conditions of crane operators caused by both physical stress (shocks, vibrations, accelerations due to cabin position suspended to trolley and cabin-constrained movement along crane boom), and psychological stress (sway of spreader/container and time needed to engage corner casting holes with spreader twistlocks or into the ‘cones’, which considerably frustrate drivers and increase average handling time per movement)
  2. the potential damages caused to intermodal units (and/or goods inside them), relevant causes of expensive legal actions and, often, financial disbursements (insurance costs or direct refunding to clients).

SECURCRANE modules and interactions
SECURCRANE modules and interactions

Description of work

The project’s two objectives are reached by realising, installing and testing the remote control (RCM), anti-sway (ASM) and cargo monitoring (CMM) module prototypes on a port crane in Le Havre. Furthermore, SECURCRANE will build a consensus within the crane drivers’ community by inviting them to trials where they will get hands-on experience of the innovation in practice. The RCM originates from past expertise developed in defence field applications, which is now transferred into this civil application subject to different constraints, environment and needs. The imagery system is innovative too, based on a patented system promising to overcome negative aspects of past 3D imagery systems. The ASM originates from successful past experience in other science domains (mostly cognitive sciences and artificial intelligence devices design), hardware simplicity, fast response to external inputs, positive past applications of the same expertise, and reduced hardware costs promise efficiency coupled with very interesting cost/benefit ratios. The CMM raises commercial attractiveness of SECURCRANE system by reducing insurance costs and providing added-value services to terminal operators. The CMM acquires many container images performing functions like container identification (to avoid misoperations), extraction of geometric features (early detection of damages to avoid refunding clients for damages made outside terminal premises), and other functions. CMM adopts technologies able to limit optic/geometric distortion and environmental/light adverse condition, while keeping hardware costs low.

Excluding management, the project is organised in five work packages (WP).

WP 1: User’s needs: these will be ascertained through interviews, questionnaires and advice of key field experts/end users), then ‘translated’ into proper functional requirements to draw up the SECURCRANE system architecture.

WP 2: Design, development and tests: the design and development of the modules runs separately because their applications are logically ‘installed’ in different allocations on crane controls.

WP 3: Integration, testing and validation: modules are integrated and tested to verify the functionalities and performances of each module as well as the global system. Final results will be validated.

WP 4: Evaluation and assessment: identification of impacts on the introduction of SECURCRANE’s technologies and associated organisational concepts, and the ‘road map’ for implementation.

WP 5: Dissemination and workshops: major instruments are SECURCRANE Interest Operators’ Club (SIOC), distribution of brochures, update of project website and validation workshops.


The major expected result is that the first prototype of the SECURCRANE system installed on a port crane in Le Havre will practically eliminate the effects of the sway when the driver puts the control joystick to idle. The remote control of the crane will be achieved via CCTV 3D images and the retrieval of additional information on handled containers will complete the functions. SECURCRANE will allow terminal operators to capitalise on their crane drivers’ skill with limited investments. If this research challenge is won, the first positive applications will not only involve the port cranes field where safer working conditions and more efficient drivers’ performances may be reached, but the civil construction industry may also benefit from these achievements.

Read moreexternal link

Scenarios for the Transport System and Energy Supply and their Potential Effects

The aim of this project is to develop, compare and assess possible scenarios for the transport system and energy supply of the future, taking into account the state of the art of relevant research and such criteria as the autonomy and security of energy supplies, effects on the environment and economy, and the interactions between transport and land use.

Tags: Multimodal


The future framework of the transport system is intimately linked with the general energy supply of the future. The relatively cheap availability of petroleum oil has allowed great expansion of the transport system over the past hundred years. This relationship between energy supply and vehicle technology and the characteristics of the transport system is typified by the internal combustion engines that power much of the transport system.

However, circumstances are changing. There is an increasing concern about the environmental consequences of the fuel technology used. Just as important are the concerns over the future availability of the fuel required. The recurrent crises and even wars in some areas where oil and gas is produced and the instability of political systems in other fuel producing areas only add to this.

Driven by these issues, a wide range of new or improved fuel technologies are being proposed and developed, each with its issues over the wider consequences of its adoption.

The implications of the various futures are best considered by investigating a series of scenarios reflecting a range of ‘best’ estimates of future conditions in the energy, transport, economic and social fields. This explains the background behind the STEPs project.


To achieve the overall objective, STEPs has chosen a two-way approach. The consortium has come up with a work plan consisting of two main activity ‘lines’:

  • coordination activities (cluster meetings, dissemination, publications, etc.)
  • supporting research activities (scenario development, evaluation and assessment).

These two lines of activities are closely related and constantly influencing each other. In all phases of the project, the interlinking of the two paths will ensure a fruitful cross-fertilisation. Moreover, the chosen approach offers a benefit to a project plan that is strictly confined to one of the two activities (research and coordination/dissemination).

To achieve the projects goals, a well-balanced consortium of renowned research institutes, experienced in the fields of scenario-building and modelling, transport research and energy has been composed. Together with external experts, representatives of governments and other relevant authorities, market parties, and transport and energy organisations, this consortium will make the possible consequences of transport systems and energy supplies of the future for the implementation of transport innovations, or the lack thereof, clear.

The STEPs project tasks
The STEPs project tasks
The STEPs consortium

Description of work

The project started with mapping the state of the art and a description of relevant trends in transport and energy supply systems. With these outcomes, a basic set of scenarios was compiled. Two main variables marked the scenario framework. The first was fuel price increases, which are directly related to energy scarcity. In the coming decades the fuel price increase may be as generally accepted as in current times, or energy may be subject to a greater scarcity (so pointing to a faster increase in the fuel price). The second variable is represented by the policies that various authorities deploy in response. This can be either ‘business as usual’ (not specifically meant to target transport systems and their energy supply) or there can be more targeted policies, (technology investment or use of more stringent demand management).

The scenarios were simulated with existing integrated land use – transport models, both on the European scale and on the regional scale (Edinburgh, Dortmund, Helsinki and Brussels with their surrounding regions, and the South Tyrol in Northern Italy).

The prognosis year was typically 2030 (in some cases 2020) and the outcomes were described in an extensive overview of their impacts. The modelling exercise provided indications about the development of several variables (transport demand, economy, energy consumption, emissions, etc.) over the period 2005-2020 or 2030 under the different scenarios.


For details of the deliverables, please see the STEPs website:

D1 State-of-the-art

D2 Overview of relevant trends and translation into parameters

D3.1 Framework of the scenarios and description of the themes

D3.3 A bee with a view – essay

D4.1 Modelling suite for scenarios simulations

D4.2 Scenario impacts

D5.1 Methodology for the assessment of transport and energy supply scenarios – database requirements

D5.2 Assessment and comparison of scenarios

D6 Conclusions, recommendations and need for further research

D8.1 Report on the first Cluster Meeting, Budapest, 25 November 2004

D8.2 Report of the second Cluster Meeting, Krakow, 29 May 2005

D8.3 Report on the third Cluster Meeting, Gothenburg, 15 June 2006

Furthermore, an integral final report was published:

Monzón A. and Nuijten A. (editors): ‘Transport strategies under the scarcity of energy supply’. Buck Consultants International, Den Haag/Nijmegen/Brussels, ISBN-10: 90-9020880-1 and ISBN-13: 978-90-9020880-0, 2006.

Read moreexternal link

Supervised Implementation of Sustainable Urban Transport Concepts

The main goal of TRANSPOWER is to supervise the implementation of sustainable urban transport. TRANSPOWER provides municipal and regional decision-makers with properly evaluated scientific information about best practices and relevant experience in order to implement sustainable, cost-effective, environmentally friendly and efficient urban transport concepts.

Tags: Multimodal


Environmental issues – such as air pollution or noise – are serious threats to the health of EU inhabitants. More than 75% of the population of the EU lives in urban areas and is affected by a deterioration of air quality as well as noise. The car is the dominant means of transport and decisively contributes to pollution and noise. Recent estimates foresee an increase of 40% in transport-caused CO2 emissions by 2010, if current trends persist. Therefore the improvement of air quality is one of the fields in which the EU has been most active in recent years.

The project will serve as a stage for future investment projects as in-depth-analyses will detect investment potentials. Model instruments will be at the disposal of municipal policy-makers to be used in future actions. The joint implementation efforts will lead to a more efficient and rational use of motorised transport in the partner regions.


The overall objective of TRANSPOWER is to contribute towards concepts for measuring and planning which is cost-effective, sparing, environmentally friendly and efficient in the field of urban transport.

The project will help decision-makers to implement existing ideas by accompanying their progress closely, and providing an exchange of experienced and professional supervision. Guidelines and practical recommendations for the targeted improvement of urban transport organisation will be given. The target groups addressed are specifically municipal authorities, but in a wider sense also traffic operators and inhabitants. The approach is tailored to small, manageable projects which represent realistic steps towards achieving the above-mentioned overall objective.

The supervised implementation of small, manageable and tailor-made projects and concepts which represent realistic steps, together with the exchange of experience and relevant personnel, shall enable the participating institutions to build up relevant capacities. Using a selection of 16 partners representing small and medium-sized cities (up to 500 000 inhabitants) from five Member States and two Accession Countries, policy-makers of municipalities and cities will be able to exchange knowledge with academia and business.

Biodiesel bus in Graz, Austria
Biodiesel bus in Graz, Austria
City of Graz

Description of work

The general instrument of TRANSPOWER is the coordination of actions, which are developed and implemented at a local level in European Countries.

A key aim of TRANSPOWER is to supervise the implementation of existing concepts in the field using innovative approaches. The supervised implementation of small, manageable and tailor-made projects and concepts, which represent realistic steps, together with the exchange of experience and relevant personnel will enable the participating institutions to build up relevant capacities.

The project will exploit synergies between small and medium-sized Eastern and Western European cities and link strengths and experiences by bringing relevant partners closer to each other – partners such as cities, municipalities, transport SMEs, research companies and universities, as well as regional development agencies.

TRANSPOWER will produce concrete policy recommendations opening new perspectives for a future-oriented, sustainable development in the field of urban transport by supervising European cities in the implementation of urban transport projects. The project will help to coordinate the transport activities of the partner cities and municipalities under the umbrella of sustainable transport aims.


An advisory board will provide an external review of the quality of the project’s processes and deliverables.

During the project a website will be established, in order to facilitate the exchange of information between the partners and with transport experts. It is also intended that city profiles will be published as a result of the project for dissemination to policy-makers.

The project will help to overcome differences by the exchange of experiences and the definition of requirements. It is expected to help establish standards in the connection of hardware from different suppliers by providing definitions of standard interfaces and information, such as OCIT (open communication interface for traffic devices).

TRANSPOWER will contribute to the aforementioned priorities, as far as urban transport is concerned. It will empower the cities to find those solutions which best match their needs, foster the pan-European discussion, and exchange and enlarge the European transport community.

Cycle path in Groningen
Cycle path in Groningen
City of Groningen

Read moreexternal link

Sustainability Impact Assessment of Strategies Integrating Transport, Technology and Energy Scenarios

Both transport and energy systems contribute to an ever-increasing quality of human life. On the other hand, adverse environmental impacts and insecurity of fossil energy sources and supplies constitute major risks for sustainable development. TRIAS develops and assesses integrated scenarios to adapt the transport-energy system to make it more sustainable in the future.

Tags: Multimodal


Mobility becomes more and more important in today’s life. This is reflected by European citizens continuously increasing their travel demand or by the employment opportunities generated by transport, for example the 7.5 million people employed in the transport service sector of the EU-25. The downside of this development becomes obvious when looking at the growing proportion of transport emissions against total human greenhouse gas emissions, which is almost 30% today, and the almost total dependence of transport on fossil fuels as an energy source.

Given this current framework, the requirement for changes in the transport system becomes obvious. Both behavioural and technological changes will be necessary to alter the harmful trends and make transport sustainable, delivering support to social development and providing fairness, economic growth and environmental stability.

A major step in making the transport system more sustainable would be a shift towards alternative fuels like biofuels or hydrogen generated from various sources. This requires a symbiotic transition of the transport-energy system towards the supply and use of such alternative fuels. Scenarios for such a matched transition process are developed and assessed by the TRIAS project. The focus of TRIAS is then to provide an integrated and quantitative assessment of the transport-energy system adaptations and their economic, social and environmental impacts.


The strategic objectives of TRIAS are four-fold:

  1. Develop and test strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noxious emissions from transport based on the trilogy (‘trias’) of transport, technology and energy scenarios. In particular, the introduction of biofuels and hydrogen as energy carriers for transport are analysed.
  2. Base the assessment on an integrated model-based approach looking at environmental, economic and social impacts (sustainability impact assessment). The use of integrated models enables quantifying the impacts of scenarios, deriving new sustainability indicators from the quantitative model variables and creating consistent scenarios where all the numbers fit together avoiding contradictions within a scenario. The four models applied are POLES (world-energy system), ASTRA (economy-transport-environment interaction), VACLAV (transport network impacts), Regio-SUSTAIN (regional environmental impacts).
  3. Provide an open field for both external scenarios and scenarios developed within TRIAS, by reviewing the scenario literature and providing interaction with stakeholders concerning scenario design.
  4. Consider the life-cycle implications of all strategies investigated. For example, the use of biofuels or hydrogen has underlying restrictions on the available land to produce biomass, so that for each technology path tested its full life cycle has to be considered.

Interactions of TRIAS models for scenario analysis
Interactions of TRIAS models for scenario analysis
Fraunhofer ISI

Description of work

The TRIAS project commences with an analysis of available scenarios from existing studies. Based on this knowledge the TRIAS scenarios are developed and these will be analysed in a final step.

A second starting point is the development of a technology database that provides the techno-economic data for alternative technologies related to biofuel and hydrogen use for transport. This data is required to update the applied models so that they dispose of the capabilities to simulate the technology diffusion and transition as part of the scenarios.

The four models, POLES, ASTRA, VACLAV and Regio-SUSTAIN, are upgraded to

  1. incorporate the new technologies
  2. extend their assessment capabilities, and
  3. provide linkages between the models.

The models will then calculate scenarios until the year 2030, with an outlook until 2050 by POLES and ASTRA.

The scenario results will be provided on a detailed level consisting of both the single indicators of the various models (e.g. presenting results, for either a country or region, at a sectoral level) and the aggregate indicators relevant to describe sustainability of the scenarios.


The main outputs of TRIAS are the significantly enhanced ability of developing and assessing scenarios of the future development of transport-energy systems, as well as the results of the assessment of the TRIAS scenarios concerning the introduction of biofuels and hydrogen into the transport-energy system.

Further output belongs to two groups: tools and databases, and written reports.

Tools and databases: POLES, ASTRA and Regio-SUSTAIN will enhance their capabilities to model transport-energy related impacts. Model linkages between POLES-ASTRA, ASTRA-VACLAV, POLES-Regio-SUSTAIN and VACLAV Regio-SUSTAIN will be either be improved on or newly established. A database to describe the techno-economic characteristics of various biofuels and hydrogen-related pathways has been set-up.

The following written reports will be available at the end of the project:

  1. External and internal scenarios for the socio-economic and transport-energy systems
  2. Technology trajectories for transport and its energy supply
  3. TRIAS outlook for global transport and energy demand
  4. Alternative pathways for transport, technology and energy to promote sustainability in the EU
  5. Final report of the TRIAS project.

Read moreexternal link

Development of new intermodal loading units and dedicated adaptors for the trimodal transport of bulk materials in Europe

This project targets the development of new intermodal loading units (container plus adapter) including devices such as the ISO bulk container, roll-off container, capable adaptors and mobile fixtures suitable for the trimodal transport of bulk and packaged goods on road, railway and inland waterways.

Tags: Multimodal


Road transportation is facing rapidly increasing congestion. On the contrary, the available capacity on railways and inland waterways are being underutilised. A redistribution of the carriage of goods is urgently needed. Up until now the most important obstacles have been the incompatible interfaces between the various carriers and the diversity of loading devices being used in the EU.

In this context, the lack of harmonisation and standardisation of loading units is a great barrier against utilising the development potential of the intermodality.

By applying new loading units, the logistic chain can be set up without changing the loading unit within the complete door-to-door transport process. Trans-shipping does not require crane technology anymore so the costs will be reduced substantially. In compliance with the ISO container dimensions, the new characteristics of the loading units will lead to a harmonisation of the handling.

The development, design and testing of the new intermodal loading units and their later introduction into the market will strongly contribute to the policy objectives of the European transport.

New developments and a growing complexity in trans-shipping technologies, which are aimed at cost reduction, do not allow for the universal use of the existing ISO and roll-off containers in the transport chains of combined traffic systems anymore.


The main objective of the project is the development of new technical solutions for intermodal loading units including containers, dedicated adaptors and mobile internal fixtures in order to shift the main transportation route for goods from the road onto rail and inland waterways in a sustainable way.

By the development and integration of tailored adaptors for the necessary lifting and shifting operations, the loading units will lead to an optimum for intermodal transportability and compatibility to existing systems, i.e. hook-lifting or spreader technology and/or the horizontal trans-shipping via devices such as MOBILER, ACTS, etc.

The technical activities will be focused on the development and design of large ISO containers and ISO compatible roll-off containers with the dimensions of 2 550 x 2 900 x 7 450 mm. These dimensions comply with the recommended directive of the European Commission for intermodal loading units.

Within the project, technical solutions for the transport of selected gases and liquids are also developed.

Furthermore, it is intended to equip the containers with optional exchangeable fixtures and movable walls in such a way that they can accommodate bulk goods as well as packaged goods.

Considering these requirements and specifications, two types of loading units will be designed and tested within the project in agreement with the recommendations of the EC.

Door-to-door transport chain
Door-to-door transport chain
2006, ZAFT

Description of work

The following technical solutions will be developed and designed:

  • intermodal loading units for the formation of a multi handling process at intermodal transport conditions with the necessary characteristics of the interoperability for the trimodal traffic carriers
  • appropriate modular adaptor systems for the efficient adaptation of the loading units to the main intermodal transportation and loading demands for bulk and packaged goods
  • container modules for gases and liquids
  • adapter systems for the transport on trimodal traffic carriers
  • fixing modules for the receptacle connection with the trimodal adapter system.

The design of the new loading unit prototypes will include the following sub-tasks:

  • ISO-compatible bulk material/packaged goods container
  • ISO-compatible roll-off container
  • frame systems and the required mobile built-in equipment
  • adaptation of the frame systems to the types of goods, norms and other legal regulations (e.g. EN, ISO, UIC, UIT, TSI and GOST) and to the means of transportation.

In addition, suitable measuring and testing techniques have to be developed and constructed:

  • discharging tests for selected groups of bulk goods and municipal waste
  • examination of the goods (or loading units) with respect to the design of the inner walls and the transfer equipment system will be xecuted.


  1. The logistic chain can be set up without changing the loading unit throughout the complete door-to-door transport process.
  2. The trans-shipping procedures are possible with different handling technologies and the costs will be reduced substantially.
  3. The uniformity of the special internal features, such as the position and design of fittings as well as the compliance with the container dimensions, will contribute to the harmonisation of the loading units.
  4. In the field of municipal waste, the specific roll-off container will be adapted to allow the application of spreader technology as well as stacking. The application spectrum of these containers will be extended considerably as they can be handled with classical SPREADER as well as HOOK-LIFT technology.
  5. New, significantly changing requirements of today’s logistics are emerging. The ISO container for mineral bulk goods will probably be used as a self-discharging unit when carried on a railway wagon. This ISO container can be handled with SPREADER, MOBILER, ACTS and HOOK-LIFT technology.
New loading units and the installation of efficient transport chains may avoid unnecessary changes at transport facilities. Transport, handling and trans-shipping can be reduced by the goods being transported directly to the consumer without any interim storage.

Read moreexternal link

Design of Universal Accessibility Systems for Public Transport

This project wants to promote the networking and coordination of R&D activities in the field of universal design of accessibility systems for public transport with a comprehensive group of stakeholders who have a view to achieving equality of access to public transport in the EU.

Tags: Multimodal


Our society has committed itself to providing all citizens with equal opportunity. This means that, inasmuch as possible, people with different degrees of mobility (the young, the elderly, people with disabilities, people carrying infants or shopping, pregnant women, etc.) should be granted the same comfort, speed and capacity when using public transport. The only way to guarantee this is to ensure that the whole of the public transport system (railway, buses, taxis and its supporting infrastructure) in the EU becomes universally accessible.

In addition, universal design is not only a way of solving a problem; it is also an opportunity to increase the quality, usability and safety of public transport as well as the competitiveness of the industry.

Experience has shown that accessibility design is a multidisciplinary problem that demands a highly coordinated approach. End-users must validate new designs; they must also communicate their needs and assessment of the current situation. Designers and manufacturers must find cost-effective viable solutions and that what works in the laboratory must also work in reality. Authorities must legislate and regulate taking all of this into account to achieve maximum effectiveness.


The aim of this project is to break with the traditional ways of dealing with these issues, which mitigate the problem but do not fully solve it.

  1. To collect useful state-of-the-art knowledge for designing universal accessibility systems for public transport in a way that allows this knowledge to be used and shared by all stakeholders in accessibility to public transport with a view to favouring synergies and better quality.
  2. To produce a roadmap of future R&D in universal accessibility to public transport based on:
    1. the current situation of accessibility to transport
    2. our vision of future accessibility to transport based on the universal design philosophy
    3. the emerging R&D concepts in this field
    4. the technology gaps that separate our current situation from the intended one.
  3. To invent new R&D project proposals that allow us to bridge the existing technology gaps, such as for example
    1. to come up with promising ideas that allow us to make access easier and more comfortable for all
    2. to reduce time waste during access.
    3. to achieve an efficient use of available space
    4. to obtain concepts that can be applied to different train, bus and car types with as few modifications as possible
    5. to maximise reliability to keep the devices always working properly
    6. to achieve a safe system.
  4. To define an improved collaborative innovation process in accessibility to transport that takes advantages of all the stakeholders involved in the field: end-users, operators, authorities, designers and manufacturers.
  5. To spread knowledge of universal design among educational institutions, end-users, operators, designers and manufacturers with a view to facilitating the adoption of the new concepts.

Example of universal design
Example of universal design
STS Siemens

Description of work

The work has been divided into five work packages (WP).

WP1: this ensures that the consortium works efficiently and that information is available to all partners.

WP2 is concerned with the review of the state of the art. More than gaining new knowledge, the goal here is to establish a basis on which new ideas can be generated and new designs developed.

WP3 will identify concepts for new accessibility devices that can be used by people with or without mobility problems.

WP4 will define a new improved collaborative innovation process which breaks the communication barriers that prevent us nowadays from taking full advantage of the contributions of all stakeholders to improve accessibility to transport.

WP5 covers the dissemination of the results of the project to all the EU agents who can facilitate the adoption of universal accessibility systems to public transport: end-users, authorities, operators, manufacturers and designers, educators and the public in general.



1.1 Periodic progress report and cost statements

1.2 Minutes of project and steering committee meetings

1.3 Report on IPR and confidentiality management

1.4 Report on website and other supporting infrastructure

1.5 Final report

2.1 Report on end-user requirements

2.2 Report on the current situation and constraints of means of transport and infrastructures (the operators’ view)

2.3 Report on design and manufacturing

2.4 Report on legislation and standardisation

2.5 Report on accessibility to public transport in different countries

2.6 Report on crosscutting studies and other studies

3.1 Report on emerging concepts

3.2 Roadmap of future R&D

4.1 Current practices in the innovation process in the field of accessibility to public transport

4.2 Report on improved collaborative innovation process

4.3 Report on new project proposal definition

5.1 Newsletters

5.2 Report on workshops and conferences

5.3 Guides and training for operators, end-users, designers and manufacturers

5.4 Report on society awareness activities

Potential market impact:

When speaking of accessibility, this project considers requirements for the disabled and their satisfaction would result in a society-wide increase in the quality of transport all over Europe. If we can design solutions for these people, we will be creating extremely easy and user-friendly products and services for all citizens.

Moreover, with better levels of accessibility we would be facilitating transport interoperability, reducing embarkation/disembarkation time, speeding up the flow of information, etc.

Good example of universal design in a car
Good example of universal design in a car
CRF Italy

Read moreexternal link

Logistics-based Ship Design

LOGBASED develops methods/tools to provide designers, shipbuilders and ship operators with better guidance to develop effective ship designs for business opportunities relating to intermodal transportation solutions. Four ship designs will be developed on this basis and measured for their competitiveness.

Tags: Multimodal


Waterborne transport has historically transported goods from quay to quay without focusing much on the intermodal aspects. This situation is changing: focus is shifting towards door-to-door transport and ship operators are increasingly adapting to this new mode of working. It is anticipated that waterborne transport services must continually improve their service levels but at the same time improve competitiveness by reducing cost levels of operations every year. The customers require the goods to be transported ‘all the way’ and have certain demands regarding time, price, flexibility, reliability and frequency. These logistics requirements are considered by transport customers when buying services. Short-sea shipping has great potential to be the main part of competitive intermodal transport solutions, provided co-operation with other transport modes can be fulfilled, as shipping, more than other transport modes, is able to fulfil tomorrow’s (sustainable) demands regarding costs, safety, environment and quality.

In order to exploit this potential, new knowledge, solutions and approaches on managing and transporting intermodal cargo flows must be developed. To be successful, a total service must be delivered to the customer in the form of door-to-door transport, as well as administrative and financial services related to the transport operation. Seldom is vessel performance (speed, costs, regularity, flexibility, safety, etc.) within the intermodal supply chain assessed and benchmarked, as vessel design is, in many cases, currently conducted as a sub-optimal and decoupled task in a technical department/shipyard isolated from the business development and logistics department.


The LOGBASED approach will change the current situation in business development as described above, and make transport system and ship design development an integral part. It is argued that only through this approach can the most effective solutions be identified and developed.

The main aim is to develop RoRo vessels and enable the motorways of the sea to become more competitive towards their road/rail equivalents. To accomplish this aim, LOGBASED has developed methods and tools based upon a systems theory, which provide decision-making support to the development team and/or decision-makers. The method and tools are developed based on the following objectives:

  • identifying the principal requirements and variables influencing the development of a viable intermodal transport business
  • capturing the principal ship design and shipbuilding variables, as well as their inter-relationships
  • mapping the commercial and technical aspects in a logistics-based design methodology and developing a supporting software tool to facilitate its application
  • applying the developed method and tools for selected business cases (intermodal transport systems) in order to verify the approach through the design of more efficient RoRo vessels.
Wilson Star operated by Wilson EuroCarriers. This ship and route are used as a benchmark for the transport system and ship design being developed in one of the cases.
Wilson Star operated by Wilson EuroCarriers. This ship and route are used as a benchmark for the transport system and ship design being developed in one of the cases.

Description of work

The systems management approach adopted in LOGBASED is used to develop a common platform, in the form of a decision-making support system, to develop dynamic intermodal transport solutions and their pertinent ship designs.

The approach is novel and functions as a key means to transfer logistics information into a readily usable format for end users (ship owners and designers). It is argued that this approach leads to the design of better ships – serving the cargo owner and ship operators better than solutions of the past. LOGBASED focuses upon developing more efficient RoRo vessels as an integral part of dynamic intermodal transport chains based on the utilisation of the methodology. However, the approach and method are generic by nature and can be applied to most ship and cargo types.

The project is aiming for improvements of up to 30% for various transport system performance parameters for the resulting ship designs. The method identifies the requirements/expectations, which should be targeted for the particular case/transport system in question, and focuses upon developing a ship design matching these requirements/expectations. Such requirements/expectations may be technically related (resistance, stability, etc.); commercially related (costs, reliability, frequency, etc.); strategically related (market position, growth, etc.); and/or related to health, safety and environmental issues.


LOGBASED has developed a logistics-based ship design methodology for nine different modules dealing with: business concept definition, performance expectations, competitive position, risk assessment, transport system and design solution development, decision-making support, ship functions, ship systems and performance evaluation. This methodology can support a business development process more effectively and can drive out uncertainty more robustly in related design decisions to be made. Decision-making support is provided to the users through the methodology.

The final products from the project are four ship designs serving as integral parts of dynamic intermodal transport chains. These designs will be measured for their performance against stakeholders’ expectations/requirements and towards other/existing systems or designs.

The preliminary experience using the LOGBASED methodology in designing ships is that it provides a structured and systemic approach in order to develop concept/basic/preliminary ship designs for the operation in intermodal transport systems.

Supporting tools are being developed and utilised within the different modules of the method in order to make it more efficient and less error-prone.

Tor Magnolia operated by DFDS Tor Line. This ship is used as a benchmark for the ship design being developed in one of the cases.
Tor Magnolia operated by DFDS Tor Line. This ship is used as a benchmark for the ship design being developed in one of the cases.
DFDS Tor Line

Read moreexternal link

New and Innovative Concepts for Helping European Transport Sustainability

NICHES will facilitate the coordination of the research activities of academic institutions, industry, mobility operators and transport authorities regarding key urban transport innovations that lack broad deployment. NICHES aims to stimulate a wide debate between relevant stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines across the EU and Accession Countries in order to promote the most promising new concepts, initiatives and projects from their current ‘niches’ (sic) position to a ‘mainstream’ urban transport policy application.

Tags: Multimodal


Over the last few years, scientists, transport operators, industry and policy-makers throughout Europe have developed a wide range of innovative concepts for making urban transport more efficient, competitive and sustainable. Despite significant progress, many of these efforts to date have not been implemented on a larger scale. A number of barriers have prevented these concepts from being widely deployed:

  • no coordination of innovation initiatives in different countries and cities
  • no integration with mainstream transport policy and development in relative isolation
  • no concrete strategies for achieving a transition from R&D to common practice
  • lack of dissemination outside their specific context
  • clear guidance missing regarding the transferability to other urban contexts
  • lack of awareness among stakeholders of the mutual needs and interests across transport modes and (public and private) sectors.

NICHES wants to remedy this by stimulating a wide debate on innovative urban transport and mobility between relevant stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines across Europe. NICHES will promote the most promising new concepts, initiatives and projects, moving them from their current niche position to a mainstream urban transport policy application.


The high-level goal of the NICHES project is to support the development and adoption of innovative technology and policy-based urban transport concepts that will contribute to establish sustainable urban transport systems. This in turn is expected to contribute significantly to a more efficient and competitive transport system, a healthier environment and improved quality of life in urban areas.

The high-level project goal has been divided into five overall project objectives:

  • enhance discussion and knowledge exchange between practitioners, experts and researchers in the field of urban transport in Europe, ensuring that different sectors will be involved (transport authorities, operators, industry, academics and other researchers as well as users)
  • provide a forum for those involved in European research activities and projects as well as national, local and industrial initiatives in the area of innovative urban transport concepts to share their knowledge and experience
  • develop an accessible document store and a knowledge base amongst urban transport experts and practitioners on innovative transport concepts, as well as integrated urban transport strategies, in which several innovative concepts are implemented in a combined way
  • identify future research needs and pave the way for innovative transport concepts, meeting mobility needs in 2020
  • develop a platform for capacity building (tools and content) for practitioners with guidance on developing and implementing innovative concepts in the framework of integrated urban transport strategies.
Lift-sharing services
Lift-sharing services
Liftshare UK

Description of work

For the implementation of the NICHES project, a tailored combination of methods and tools is employed, which will ensure all objectives can be achieved efficiently. The starting point is a precise definition of selection criteria for ‘innovative concepts’, clarifying the meaning of this term within NICHES. It allows establishing the concrete information basis (reference examples) that the project will analyse and advance by using:

  • expert working group meetings – based on the focus group method
  • personal expert interviews
  • coordination of ongoing R&D activities
  • validation and dissemination workshops.

In order to find 12 innovative urban transport concepts, four thematic working groups were defined, related to the following areas:

  • new seamless mobility services
  • innovative approaches in city logistics
  • new non-polluting and energy efficient vehicles
  • innovative demand management strategies.

Throughout the full duration of the project, the working groups follow four successive work packages:

  1. State of the art and good practice
  2. Feasibility and transferability
  3. Design of integrated transport strategies
  4. Visions for the future and recommendations.


The main deliverables are:

  • State of the art and good practice in developing innovative urban transport concepts: provides a structured overview of 12 selected innovative urban transport concepts, based on existing good practice. It deals with four different thematic areas that cover urban freight and passenger transport as well as non-polluting and energy efficient vehicles.
  • Feasibility and transferability of innovative urban transport concepts: summarises the results of the second phase of the project. It is a working document, which provides a large amount of detailed information about the wide range of innovative concepts. It provides an important information basis that feeds into the next work steps.
  • Integrated urban transport strategies: this proposes NICHES urban transport strategies as integrated packages combining the project’s innovative concepts and mainstream measures.
Public bicycles in Lyon
Public bicycles in Lyon
JC Decaux / City of Lyon

Read moreexternal link

Reduction of Cycle and Cost

The RC2 project goal is to reduce manufacturing costs and production lead time. RC2 will deliver not only an innovative manufacturing process based on the combination of rapid prototyping with the most suitable finishing but also

Tags: Multimodal


RC2 results will permit a drastic decrease in cost and lead time for the manufacturing of functional prototypes used in R&D for the new products required by the transport sector and especially by industries working in gas turbines.

In collaboration with PEP, TURBOMECA has recently succeeded in manufacturing a complex-shaped rough part by the laser sintering of metal powder (i.e. without tools).

However, because of sintering limits, finishing techniques are necessary to meet market technical requirements for the following:

  • surface condition and size tolerance
  • thermo-mechanical properties.

From both an economical and technical point of view, finishing processes for these will have to be developed due to the differences in surface condition and in porosity of the rough parts, obtained either by rapid prototyping or by conventional machining.

The RC2 process will lead to a reduction in the time taken to design and to fabricate a functional prototype by 50%, involving a reduction in time to market by 10%.

The application of RC2 results would lead to a 20% reduction in time to market in the maritime sector.

The RC2 process will also reduce the waste linked with conventional manufacturing process.


The first goal of the RC2 project is to speed up the time to market of new products for the transport industry but also to boost innovation by reducing both cost and lead time of functional prototypes by 50%.

The RC2 strategy helps in the development of a specific manufacturing process, including a methodology to be applied for any kind of complex-shaped mechanic part, and through a proven manufacturing reference.

The research activities in the RC2 project will be focused on:

  • the development of parameters for the rapid prototyping (RP) machine in order to obtain rough parts using raw materials through a single operation
  • the development and adaptation of the usual finishing techniques for parts made by RP
  • the development of a MMP process specific to parts made by RP
  • the development of the process that associates RP and the most suitable finishing process permitting a reduction in cost and lead time by 50%, while obtaining final parts which respond to engine manufacturers’ requirements.

This work will be completed by detailed researches on the correlation between the matter phase and surface quality.

The consortium will work on several gas turbine components but more specifically on static and rotating complex-shaped parts of the gas path (for compressor and cold turbine test bench), and of the fuel system. These components are parts of helicopter, train or vessel engines.

Description of work

The main research strategy of the RC2 project is to focus on developing the finishing techniques applicable to parts manufactured with laser sintering/melting technologies. Contrary to many other projects, RC2 will not focus on developing laser sintering and melting technologies but on implementing them as soon as they become fully operational.

The RC2 project is composed of the following work packages:

  • selection and modification of parts due to be manufactured with future RC2 processes
  • development of an original experimental method based on the optimised combination of the techniques of rapid prototyping, and innovative and usual finishing techniques
  • manufacturing of selected components through rapid prototyping
  • development of the innovative finishing MMP on selected components
  • development of innovative machining, thermo-chemical and mechanical finishing on selected parts
  • validation of the new manufacturing process capability to meet thermo-mechanical requirements for functional prototype applications
  • dissemination of the results.


The reduction of cost and lead time for manufacturing functional prototypes will lead to a reduction in time to market of 10%, and this in a highly regulated industrial sector such as the aeronautical sector. In maritime sectors, where the regulations are less constraining, a qualification phase needs less time than an aeronautical certification. The application of RC2 results would lead to a 20% reduction in time to market in the maritime sector.

To elaborate a part with conventional manufacturing techniques, it is necessary to start from a block and to remove material, which generates a lot of waste such as chips and cutting oil. The RC2 process involves the creation of a part by adding material. By doing so, we will reduce the quantity of industrial waste.

In the longer term, we estimate that rapid prototyping will replace the type of machining currently used, for example like high speed machining (HSM).

Even if, for various reasons, rapid prototyping was to be reserved for only the small series and for technical prototypes in good matter, the RC2 results will be exploitable in many other sectors, like for example:

  • aeronautics
  • automotive
  • medical sector
  • industries that must regularly renew their models or that work by collections or seasons.

The use of the RC2 process in production will pave the way for new designs and for new markets, which are represented by parts that were unavailable due to the previous techniques, either due to their complexity or for physical reasons.

Read moreexternal link

Coordination Action on Advanced Sandwich Structures in the Transportation Industry

SAND.CORe aims to foster the application of innovative sandwich structures in European transport systems, particularly in the maritime and rail sectors. This will be done by:

Tags: Multimodal
  • collecting available information with regard to metallic, hybrid and composite lightweight structures
  • conducting benchmark studies for dedicated application cases defined by the end users
  • identifying knowledge gaps and research needs
  • elaborating a best practice guide for sandwich design, manufacturing, assembly, approval and application.

These results will be made available through the project website (, public dissemination events and a dedicated user group.


Various R&D projects aiming to develop sandwich structures have been carried out in several sectors at European, national and company levels. These projects have produced results but they are difficult for industrial users to access and compare. SANDCORe aims to collect and compare available solutions, benchmark possible sandwich solutions for concrete application cases in the rail and maritime fields, and produce a best practice guideline for potential end users. Along with a number of public workshops, this will improve the application of results from previous projects.

In general, sandwich panels offer a number of advantages for transport systems, such as being lightweight (increased payload), having a reduced space consumption, structural safety and reduced assembly cost.


The scientific-technical objectives of SAND.CORe are:

  • producing a collection of current knowledge on sandwich structures related to applications, design methods, test procedures, production, rules and regulations
  • creating a sandwich solutions and data catalogue
  • performing benchmark studies and comparisons of different sandwich panels in possible sandwich applications, focusing on RoRo decks, superstructures, balconies (maritime) as well as a rail vehicle cab
  • elaborating a best practice guideline on sandwich design, production, repair and maintenance, rules and legislations as well as applications
  • generating new RTD ideas to further develop the composite sandwich technology
  • promoting knowledge and application transfer within the related sectors and beyond.
January 2004
January 2004

Description of work

The work plan of the Coordination Action comprises the following steps:

WP1: Analysis of the current state of technology in sandwich applications, design, production and in related rules and legislation using information from the partners’ previous work as well as public domain information.

WP2: Structuring the available information, for example in a sandwich selection tree for potential users as well as on the project website.

WP3: Benchmark studies by applying available best practice knowledge and solutions in concrete cases defined by the industrial partners.

WP4: Elaboration of a best practice guideline for potential external users comprising available information and recommended practices.

WP5: Networking activities, such as public workshops, and the establishment of an external user group for the exchange of information and discussions with external parties.


The project results include:

  • a list and abstracts of public domain information on sandwich design, production and application as well as test results accessible through the project website and contact through the coordinator
  • a best practice guide focused in particular on the maritime industry, which will be available on the project website and can also be obtained as a CD-ROM from the coordinator
  • a directory and links to suppliers and users of sandwich panels are available on the website
  • concrete design solutions for five application cases defined by the end users in the project, which will be available to project partners and user group members.

The project finished in June 2006. Please contact the coordinator for further information.

Read moreexternal link

Sustainable Construction of Underground Transport Infrastructures

The SCOUT project develops a new environmentally friendly concept of ‘cut-and-cover’ tunnels, based on a holistic approach that combines the generalisation of the observational method, optimisation of design, breakthrough construction equipment and new applications of composite materials.

Tags: Multimodal


The development of the Trans-European Transport Network requires the construction of many new railways, highways and waterborne connections. In urban centres, burying transport infrastructures underground is the best option to avoid congestion, noise impact at the surface and, in many projects, is the only possible choice to build intermodal connections linking underground stations and airports, parking lots, pedestrian access, etc.

For such underground infrastructure, the cut-and-cover method is a cost-effective alternative to tunnels, and the best option when the tunnel is relatively shallow (maximum depth < 20 m) and the surface is free from buildings. The method is very safe, does not create subsidence, and the phasing of works allows surface traffic to be restored at a relatively early stage, when the cover slab is completed. It has a huge number of references over the world for the construction of underground roads, subways, railway lines and stations.

Cut-and-cover tunnels are therefore a vital tool for the construction of transport infrastructures which are needed for the development of the TEN-T Network. But this method is now confronted with a new set of requirements: the urgent need for safer and more cost effective techniques, and a reduction of environmental impact from the construction (use of natural resources, noise, disruption of traffic, etc).


The main objective of the project is to develop a new concept for sustainable construction of ‘cut-and-cover’ tunnels that optimises the safety and life-cycle cost of the construction, and eliminates or drastically reduces most nuisances to urban environment, which are classically associated with construction projects: noise, dust and large construction equipment causing long traffic disruption at the surface. The project concentrates on the construction of tunnel walls and, using a holistic approach, addresses the three complementary domains of construction materials, design and construction process.

The first target is to develop new composite materials, namely fibre-reinforced concrete optimised for the construction of tunnel walls. The second target is to optimise the design of the structure, firstly by using these new materials and secondly by a systematic implementation of the observational method. The third target is to develop a new and breakthrough concept of construction equipment – modular, suitable for most European soil profiles – with the capacity to install this tunnel structure with minimum environmental impact. A complementary study addresses the subject of recycling excavated materials.

The final objective is to validate the concept by the construction of a prototype of limited depth (8 metres) to be tested in real conditions.

General view of a cut and cover project in Toulouse, France
General view of a cut and cover project in Toulouse, France

Description of work

  1. New methods for design

    Starting from the analysis of a selection of reference cases, the project will develop the following:

    • new methods to optimise the engineering of cut-and-cover projects, using the concept of a ‘double-skin’ structure and aiming at reducing the cost of construction materials by 15%
    • a methodology and relevant documentation to apply the observational method to cut-and-cover tunnels on a wide scale, with the objective of eliminating the extra delays and increased costs classically related to soil heterogeneity.
  2. A breakthrough construction method

    A radically new concept for the construction of tunnel walls will be developed, where the drilling process is continuous and horizontal, with the objectives of minimal environmental impact and maximum workers’ safety. Modular architecture of the equipment will allow the adaptation of a large variety of tunnel projects in a number of different European soil types. The environmental advantages will be minimal noise and dust, and no drilling through mud. The concrete structure will be cast in situ and equivalent in quality to that of superstructures.

  3. New composite materials, material recycling

    The project will investigate how fibre-reinforced concrete materials can be used in both temporary and permanent structure members to optimise structural design. New materials are being developed and will be tested at full scale.

    The recycling of excavated soil is being analysed (soil conditions, plant equipment, quality control requirements, costs), so as to identify the current blockages and to establish a roadmap towards the implementation of soil waste recycling.


The results of the project will be:

  1. New practical tools for the deployment and integration of the observational method in the construction process as requested by the EUROCODE, with the objective of providing full control of construction safety, costs and delays.
  2. New design tools for the optimisation of structural design, with the objective of 15% savings on cost of construction materials and minimal environmental impact.
  3. New breakthrough construction equipment suitable for cut-and-cover sites of all sizes, characterised by:
    1. innovative equipment of modular architecture providing a high level of flexibility to cope with a variety of infrastructure configurations and soil profiles
    2. new type of drilling bit, specially designed for this equipment
    3. a prototype of limited depth (8 metres), validated in real conditions
    4. new fibre concrete composite materials for cut-and-cover tunnels, validated by full-size structural tests
    5. a roadmap towards material recycling in cut-and-cover tunnels.

Read moreexternal link

Quieter Surface Transport in Urban Areas

SILENCE develops an integrated system of methodologies and technologies for the efficient control of urban traffic noise. This takes into account the overall needs of city authorities with respect to noise creation from individual traffic (on road) and mass transport (on rail and road). A holistic treatment is made of all traffic noise facets: urban noise scenarios, individual noise sources, infrastructure, traffic management, noise perception and annoyance.

Tags: Multimodal


For decades, European policy-makers have concentrated on regulating noise emission from sources such as road and rail vehicles, aeroplanes and other equipment by fixing maximum sound levels, which has resulted in significant noise reduction from individual sources. For example, noise from individual cars has been reduced by 85% since 1970 and noise from trucks by 90%. However, no consideration has been given to reducing noise emission in urban areas and for some sources, such as railways, there was no EU legislation setting noise creation limits. As a result of this, and in response to the regulatory gap, the Commission Directive 2002/49/EC, relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise, was adopted. Its main aim is to provide a common methodology to address noise problems across the EU and it is in this context that the activities of SILENCE are to be seen.


The main objective of SILENCE is the development of integrated methodologies and technologies to improve control of surface transport noise in urban areas.

The aspects are:

  • control at source
  • noise propagation
  • noise creation
  • human perception

for road, rail, infrastructure and cities.

SILENCE will provide:

  • relevant and world-leading technologies to assure efficient control of surface transport noise
  • innovative strategies for action plans for urban transport noise abatement and practical tools for their implementation
  • a significant reduction of people’s exposure to noise, especially under real urban conditions.

The expected outcome of the project is a reduction of noise emission in urban areas of up to 10 dB(A).

Engine testing
Engine testing
Photo by AVL

Description of work

SILENCE is divided into different subprojects (SP) and work areas, each concentrating on a specific noise-related issue. All the SPs form an integrated system with the participation of the various stakeholders: city authorities; public urban transport operators; national operators of railway traffic and road/rail infrastructure; public research institutes and universities; research and engineering companies; European associations; vehicle manufacturers and integrators; suppliers of equipment, systems and technology for vehicles/infrastructure; specialist SMEs.

The SILENCE subprojects are:

  1. Noise perception, annoyance
  2. Global modelling
  3. Vehicle/tyre/road interaction
  4. Road vehicle noise
  5. Rail vehicle noise
  6. Road surface
  7. Railway infrastructure and operation
  8. Road traffic flow
  9. City planning
  10. Dissemination and training
  11. Consortium management
The SILENCE project is working in close co-operation with other complementary research initiatives and takes into account the outcome of previous research projects.


The positive results of SILENCE will benefit the overall population of the EU and will contribute to an improved quality of life of European citizens. Advanced noise reduction technologies and methodologies, and the improvement of development processes by decreasing development time and cost, ensure the leadership of European stakeholders and the competitiveness of the industry. The dissemination and training activities will be aimed to stimulate young engineers interest in noise research activities.

Selected deliverables:

  • Identification of annoying acoustic components of vehicles in order to develop guidelines for individual source-oriented noise reductions
  • A global modelling tool for road and rail applications to predict noise radiation into the environment
  • Design and hardware solutions for noise reduction with respect to vehicle/tyre/road interaction, under typical (sub-)urban conditions
  • Experimental and calculation tools and advanced noise reduction technologies for road vehicles
  • Highly efficient systems and technologies for trams, metros, freight and suburban trains for noise reduction and control
  • Advanced integral design and maintenance of lower noise road surfaces
  • Noise reduction solutions for rail infrastructure and operation
  • A toolkit for cities with practical urban traffic management techniques for noise reduction
  • Guidance for implementing noise action plans in cities.

For further information visit the website and participate in SILENCE dissemination events or international conferences with SILENCE presentations.

ICE train
ICE train
Photo by Deutsche Bahn

Read moreexternal link

Modular Urban-guided Rail Systems

The main target of the MODURBAN project is to design, develop and test an innovative and open common core system architecture and its key interfaces, in preparation for the next generations of urban-guided public transport systems.


According to the ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council) study, “Light Rail and Metro Systems in Europe: Current market, Perspectives and research implication”, there are 170 LRT networks and 36 metro networks in Western Europe. It is expected that the number of new LRT systems could expand by more than 50% over the next 20 years. For metros, the number of new systems is expected to be limited to around five, whereas 55% of existing metro networks are currently extending existing lines or planning new lines. Most of the existing metro systems will have their rolling and signalling equipment replaced over the next 20 years and/or transformed from driver to driverless operation. These figures are in line with the target of the ERRAC Railway Business Scenario 2020 and will be dwarfed by the number of new systems being put into operation in the rest of the world, which are being built using European norms and expertise. This could account for more than 50% of the production of the European rail industry over the same period.

Passenger trips are expected to grow by 40% over the next two decades, across all the transport modes. ERRAC’s vision is that the rail market share could double and that the rail market volume could increase by more than a 150% in passengers over current volumes. To meet this expectation – which means a reverse in the current trends of the last 20 years – it is of utmost importance to develop reliable, affordable, attractive and even more energy-efficient urban rail systems for use in European cities. This calls for innovative and interchangeable constituents and subsystems with common harmonised interfaces. This will reduce the cost of ownership as well as the operation and maintenance of rail installations. It is vital in view of the growing complexity of new IT based subsystems that new products are developed along common interchangeable modular principles.


The main target of the project is to design, develop and test an innovative and open common core system architecture and its key interfaces (this covers command control, energy saving and access subsystems), paving the way for the next generations of urban-guided public transport systems. This approach will apply to new lines as well as the renewal and extension of existing lines, and will encourage cost-effective migration from driver to driverless operation. This integrated approach will avoid the risk of new rolling stock and subsystems being built from unproven prototype sub-assemblies. With regard to passenger information and exchange at platforms, the objective is to harmonise the displays and push buttons as much as possible, as well as the operational procedures. Moreover, various energy saving methods (e.g. optimisation software, lightweight materials) will be developed.

Description of work

The MODURBAN IP will define the necessary functional, electrical and mechanical interfaces, and validation procedures necessary to deliver the range of interchangeable modules that will make the next generation of affordable urban guided public transport a reality.

The principal elements to be defined in MODURBAN using end-user requirements and validation are:

  • onboard intelligent interfaces
  • wayside intelligent interfaces
  • passenger and access-related items
  • communication systems
  • energy savings related aspects
  • system approach for functional requirements and technical specifications and global risk assessment.


One of the main objectives for the first phase is to lay down the basic functional requirements for the entire MODURBAN system. This is crucial, as it will then allow adequate technical integration of the critical elements of the different subsystems.

Some other main achievements are the following:

  • The ATP (automatic train protection) onboard specification and interfaces with the wayside, including the definition of the functional interfaces with the onboard ATP to other subsystems, determining their inputs and outputs to/from the onboard ATP.
  • The data communication system functional requirements defined to meet all the operator needs, so that a single communication system can be used instead of multiple communication systems often used in today’s mass-transit systems.
  • The list of relevant standards and requirements related to passenger information systems. This preliminary analysis addresses the functionalities of the passenger information system devices installed onboard for both metros and trams, giving special attention to emergency situations.
  • Description and specifications of the applicable solutions for onboard energy storage systems. Basic principles are presented and compared to one another. The given data of different vehicle types, various models of operational cycles and several train control strategies create a basis for deciding which combination of technologies is considered to be the most efficient.
  • First network report for the users group (European operators who are non-consortium members): the principal targets of the users group are to promote knowledge, stimulate debate and reach consensus – Europe-wide – for the MODURBAN functional requirements and its technical specifications, safety concepts and procedures developed by the project at the various project stages.

Read moreexternal link

Full steam ahead – Transport Research in support of EU maritime policy

Research plays a vital role in boosting the competitiveness of the European maritime sector, but supporting an all-embracing maritime policy means facing some formidable challenges. A new brochure, ‘Marine related research and the future European Maritime Policy’, outlines the opportunities and breadth of research required.

Maritime shipping
© Peter Gutierrez

“The scope of maritime research is enormous,” says EU Project Officer Cristina Marolda, “so it requires the input of many experts in many fields. At the European Commission’s Research Directorate-General alone, several units deal with maritime issues. Other Commission services involved in the marine sector include ‘Transport and Energy’, ‘Fisheries’, and ‘Enterprise and Industry’ Directorates-General.”

Marine-related research includes work on maritime technologies and the marine environment. The two areas are closely linked. For example, space research providing improved satellite observation technologies has a direct impact on marine research involving ocean observation and fish population studies. It is also crucial to new systems for monitoring, guiding and optimising maritime transport.

“The positive impact of marine R&D is impressive,” says Marolda. “It supports competitiveness and job creation, helps us to understand climate change and biodiversity, builds human capacities and infrastructures, and supports policy implementation and standardisation.”

A huge domain

Cristina Marolda
Cristina Marolda

It is estimated that for every Euro invested in the EU’s maritime research programme seven Euros are generated in return. Under the Commission’s Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6), more than €600 million of European funding has been provided to research projects in the maritime domain. This continues a trend towards increasing funding for maritime research over previous programmes that will continue into FP7 (2007-2013). The €25 million spent on international co-operation projects (INCO) in the marine sector under FP6 also reflects the international nature of ocean research.

The Union also supports research in other domains that can impact on maritime issues, including information and communication technologies (ICT) and materials science. Projects in these areas, due to their more generic nature, are not always included in official figures on maritime research.

The Commission’s new brochure, explains Marolda, illustrates the wide variety of marine-related research activities, including a complete list of relevant projects. A total of 250 projects where supported under FP6 spread over 11 thematic priority areas. “Our FP6 analysis showed that the transport theme contributed most to maritime research and received 33% of the funding,” she says, “The environment theme had a 25% share and fisheries was also a significant contributor.”

The cross-cutting nature of marine research will continue under FP7, with significant opportunities for marine-related research in six of the ten FP7 themes, namely ‘Food’, ‘Agriculture and Biotechnology’; ‘Energy’; ‘Environment’; ‘Transport’; ‘Security’; and ‘Space’.

Sustainable research

Marine research delivers environmental benefits in many ways. From a fuel consumption perspective, waterborne transport is the most efficient means of moving freight. Thus, increasing the amount of goods transported by water could provide significant environmental benefits in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable exploitation of resources is also a big topic. Within the deep ocean there are huge and unexplored energy resources. The challenge is to tap these resources without harming the environment. “We now know more about Mars than the deep ocean,” says Marolda. “There is a clear need for more RTD here.”

One new area that could be very interesting for marine research is ‘blue biotechnology’. “Blue biotechnology aims to exploit the unique natural properties of marine life in other areas,” says Marolda. “This area is currently unexploited and has a very high potential for a good economic return.” However, she says, the precautionary principle should be applied in the exploitation of ocean resources until an appropriate level of knowledge is attained.

Economic contribution

The Commission Communication on Maritime Policy, ‘Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union’, published in 2005, describes the essential contribution of research, and, in the EC overall strategic objectives for 2005-2009, marine research is seen as key for a successful maritime policy.

Looking forward, real investment in R&D is an essential pre-condition for a knowledge-driven society. In the maritime sector, the R&D challenge is to enable the responsible exploitation of the oceans and seas to support the European economy and employment, but only by pulling resources together can we have a strong impact in this direction.

“The positive experience of the WATER BORNE TP European Technology Platform in the maritime transport sector should be continued,” urges Marolda, “but it should also serve as a model to build up a similar scheme in non-industrial marine science, to foster better cross-fertilisation between public and private funds and to pool Member States' efforts.

“Marine-related research is entirely complementary to European maritime policy. The most important thing is to take a more holistic view of the ocean.”

Marolda argues that a ‘shared vision’ for the Oceans is essential to overcome the fragmentation of approaches on the European maritime research scene. “It is essential to ensure that EU citizens experience the benefits of the oceans as a common heritage and recognise the importance of knowledge and public research for their sustainable and responsible exploitation,” she says.

“The ocean is a very complex system with complex interrelationships. There are many things we do not know about the marine environment and the effects of our activities. Marine resources will continue to be of great value to society, but we must ensure that we exploit them in the best and most responsible way.”

Read moreexternal link

‘CREATING’ shifting cargo from road to water

The EU-funded CREATING project brings together 29 partners from nine European countries, including nearly all countries bordering the Rhine and Danube rivers. Its goal is to reinvigorate waterborne freight traffic through innovative solutions, releasing some of the pressure on European roads.

River Danube © Peter Gutierrez
River Danube
© Peter Gutierrez

Today, European roads are increasingly being used to the exclusion of other transport modes. With congestion steadily increasing throughout the EU and currently estimated to cost around 2% of its GDP, the Union is now making a concerted effort to encourage ‘modal shift’ away from roads and towards other transport modes such as railways and inland waterways.

“The primary goal of CREATING is to shift cargo away from trucks and towards inland ships,” explains project coordinator Henk Blaauw of Dutch Logistic Development. “If we can have some of the growth of demand for freight transport absorbed by inland waterborne transport, this will mean less pressure on road capacity and reduced queuing problems on our highways.” Moreover, he adds, transport by ships produces three times less CO 2 than does road transport, on average.

Bold new approach

New vessel design © Dutch Logistic Development
CREATING innovation
© Dutch Logistic Development

CREATING is developing innovative solutions to strengthen the position of inland navigation, making it more economically feasible and as clean and safe as possible. The project is setting up concrete example cases, including optimal technical solutions and innovative ship designs. Once test vessels are up and running, economic feasibility will be assessed under real operating conditions.

“We hope to increase waterborne transport by strengthening the position of entrepreneurs in inland navigation,” says Blaauw. “Only when such transport is economically advantageous can we realistically expect to see its increased use. Therefore, our feasibility studies on integrating ships in transport chains are very important.” Cleaner ships are also a key area, he says. The CREATING programme includes extensive research on the environmental impact of demonstrator vessels.

CREATING progress

So far, with the project two-thirds completed, the research programme has been executed according to schedule. “The next step,” says Blaauw, “is to finish the programme paying especial attention to the demonstrators. Our final conference will focus on the feasibility assessment, comparing transport integrating inland waterways against transport via road only. This will include economic, environmental and safety elements.”

Blaauw says CREATING partners have worked well together. “Relations have been friendly and co-operative and it has been very nice to get acquainted with researchers in the Danube area. This kind of research in the EU really contributes to a better understanding of each other and the challenges that face all regions.”

Read moreexternal link

Land transport research: putting Europe’s railway infrastructure on the right track

The European Commission is promoting a coordinated research strategy for Europe’s extensive railway systems. Officials say investment at both national and EU levels and by public and private organisations is crucial.

Rail station/platform © Peter Gutierrez
European rail back on track © Peter Gutierrez

Today’s European railways form a patchwork of disparate systems and networks, each applying technical and operating standards that have evolved nationally and even locally over the last two centuries. Wide variation in rail systems, particularly in the newly enlarged Union, present an enormous challenge for the European Commission, one of whose key goals is to achieve pan-European interoperability in the rail sector.

But there are other challenges as well. “Railways can be a major factor in Europe’s Lisbon strategy to achieve high growth and employment by 2010,” says Luisa Prista, Head of Unit for Surface Transport at the Commission’s Research DG. “But there has to be an effective EU-level appraisal of rail transport demands and how they can best be met in the coming years.”

Some keys to the future:


Intersystem incompatibility is widely seen as a fundamental barrier to the efficient exploitation of Europe’s greater rail network. “With enlargement, the 25 EU nations now cover 4 million square kilometres – an increase of one-quarter over the EU 15,” says Prista. “Economic dynamism in the new Member States must not be stalled by inadequate transport systems or outdated technologies. Efficient transport systems represent a force for overall socio-economic cohesion, linking rural and remote areas and disparate regions, helping with the development of cultural, regional and economic connections.”

Knowledge exchange

Surface Transport Unit Head Luisa Prista
Luisa Prista

Cross-fertilisation of technologies, ideas and experience from other sectors is a welcome source of expertise. “Every sector has its own unique nature. Rail is characterised by diversity in products and operation modes, dispersion, fragmentation and relatively low RTD investment. The rail sector can learn from other transport modes, such as road and waterborne transport, benefiting from their experience, in particular in respect of innovation strategy and organisational research issues,” explains Prista.


The global challenge of sustainability requires the best effort that a collective Europe can provide. “We all have a responsibility to tackle the greatest challenge both now and in the future – that of sustainability,” says Prista. The Research DG’s current R&D programme concentrates on delivering ‘Sustainable Surface Transport’ by supporting wider initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Gothenburg Declaration. “We have a responsibility to this goal and future generations to deliver on sustainability.”


A key challenge for the sector is to improve competitiveness while ensuring a sustainable transport system for Europe’s citizens. This means increasing existing railway capacity, encouraging the shift from road to rail, and improving urban mobility. But it also depends on the ability of Europe’s railway industries to deliver new and improved vehicles, equipment and systems that incorporate the latest results of technological research.

Research and technology drive the process

Aware of its research needs and opportunities, the railway sector created the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) in 2002. Its long-term vision for the sector – the Strategic Rail Research Agenda (SRRA) – includes the goal of doubling passenger volume and tripling freight by 2020 compared to 2000.

The Commission supports this initiative through the EU’s rolling five-year Research Framework programmes. The current Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) includes a specific research priority in ‘Sustainable Surface Transport.’ Some of the Commission-funded projects in the rail sector are:

  • MODTRAIN – This €17 million, consortium-based project should lead to a new generation of passenger trains – an ‘Airbus concept’ for high-speed and conventional EU rail networks. Participants include major European system integrators, railway undertakings and a rail research resource base.
  • EURNEX – Leading universities and research institutes created this network to develop a virtual rail research centre, based on guidance from stakeholders.
  • EU Driver’s Desk – A good example of how researchers, suppliers and operators can co-operate to solve EU-level problems, this project has tackled the lack of interoperability among drivers’ posts in Europe, making cross-border rail traffic smoother and safer.

Broadening the effort

International co-operation is one of the main features of the European Research Area. FP6 and the Sustainable Surface Transport thematic priority are open to partners from non-EU third countries. “Unfortunately, their participation is still very limited,” says Prista. “The Commission is keen to encourage links with experts from around the world who can contribute to the research effort in Europe – in all fields, not just railways.”

Indeed, Japanese, American, South African and Australian partners have all lent their expertise under EU-funded rail research, in areas such as wheel/rail interaction, high-capacity freight and civil engineering. “These extended partnerships can bring more than technological know-how. Partners from other countries and continents bring different problem-solving approaches and mentalities and are often more commercially-oriented than we are in Europe.”

Read moreexternal link

MODURBAN – next generation urban rail systems

Partners representing major rail integrators, suppliers, operators, research centres and the Union of the European Railway Industries (UNIFE) met in Brussels on 27 January 2005 for the kick-off meeting of EU Integrated Project MODURBAN (Modular urban guided rail systems).

Alcatel Business Development DirectorOlivier Perraud addresses MODURBAN kick off.
Alcatel Business Development DirectorOlivier Perraud addresses MODURBAN kick off.

The aim of the MODURBAN-project is to design, develop and test innovative and open common core system architecture and key interfaces for urban guided rail systems, paving the way for the next generation urban public transport. The project covers subsystems such as control-command, energy, safety and access.

Over 75 participants were welcomed by EC Head of Unit for DG RTD, Luisa Prista, and by EC Project Officers Joost De Bock and Frederic Sgarbi. Keynote speeches were delivered by industry representatives Alcatel and Siemens. Urban rail operators Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) and Metro de Madrid, members of the MODURBAN consortium, also contributed enlightening presentations.

The project is relevant to new lines and services as well as to the renewal and extension of existing ones. Urban operators and industry should both profit economically as the targeted results will contribute to a reduction in average cost per passenger per km, a reduction in the average bidding costs, increased reliability of subsystems as well as reduced maintenance costs.

Improving service, increasing passenger numbers

Madrid Metro
Madrid Metro

A more reliable system, with more efficient maintenance systems and procedures will increase the capacity and the quality of urban transport systems and hence their attractiveness for citizens.

The principle innovations of the MODURBAN project include:

  • Onboard intelligent interfaces, notably an Onboard Interchangeable Module for Automatic Train Protection, based on standardised interfaces with the Wayside Interchangeable Module for Automatic Train Protection (Operational Control Centres and ATP, including interlocking and wayside objects management);
  • A integrated communication system, encompassing operation, monitoring and service functions;
  • Safe access to vehicles, including door systems on automatically operated trains and platform screen doors;
  • Reduction of energy consumption through innovative vehicle design, including the use of light materials, energy-friendly auxiliary systems and energy regeneration systems.

The approved budget for MODURBAN is €10.4 million. The consortium includes operators and industrial partners from the new EU Member States. An intensive communication process has also been established with those industries and operators that are not MODURBAN partners but who will also implement the results.

Project co-ordinator UNIFE leads the way

The European Rail supply industry was formerly represented by three France-based associations: AICMR (Association Internationale des Constructeurs de Matérial Roulant), AFEDEF (Association des Fabricants Européens d'Equipements Ferroviaires) and CELTE (Constructeurs Européens des Locomotives Thermiques et Electriques).

With the creation of the single market in 1993, there was an urgent need to focus on European transport. The three associations merged in 1991, forming UNIFE, the Union of the European Railway Industries. In 1992, UNIFE moved to Brussels. Today it represents nearly 100 leading European companies responsible for the design, manufacture, maintenance and refurbishment of guided land transport systems, subsystems and related equipments.

UNIFE includes 12 National Organisations and associated members representing 900 railway supply companies. The European rail supply industry generates €27 billion in revenues per year and employs 130 000 people. UNIFE members manufacture 60% of rail equipment worldwide.

Read moreexternal link

‘INTRANSNET’ – building co-operation between transport researchers

An efficient transport network, including air, road, marine and rail systems, is a crucial prerequisite for Europe’s economic growth. This means maintaining good communications between the various actors involved in transport research, from basic physical research and engineering on land transport and intelligent traffic systems through to seat comfort modelling for trains and planes.

Image: Peter Gutierrez
Image: Peter Gutierrez

The 12 universities and institutions involved in INTRANSNET – the Network of European medium- and large-scale transport research facilities operators – have set up a communication system, with a sophisticated website and searchable database at its core, to deliver up-to-date and relevant information to all research stakeholders in the field.

This thematic network, funded by the European Union’s Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) and launched in 2002, set out to establish and build up co-operation among European national transport research facilities and operators. According to the network’s literature, it aims “to empower potential users to use synergies to increase the competitive power of European research”.

Since its launch, the web-based network has built up a strong user community, taking advantage of the database’s many features, including information on research facilities, test beds, model testing laboratories, prototype engineering and simulators.

Widespread benefits

Gerfried Cebrat, project manager at the Austrian Mobility Research FGM-AMOR and a prime partner in the project, says the users of INTRANSNET’s services run into the several thousands, with an average of 450 consultations per month.

The biggest user group to date has been research facilities in the road transport sector (27.0%), followed by rail (18.0%), maritime (14.3%) and air (10.7%), with local public transport stakeholders completing the top five (10.3%). Their involvement in the network has delivered concrete benefits, including networking opportunities with colleagues in other institutions and countries, a means of disseminating publications, access to technical research, greater recognition of participating institutions’ expertise, and better opportunities for them to take part in funded projects.

The network, backed by almost €1.6 million of EU funding, the maximum community contribution under the FP5 Growth Programme, is being coordinated by the University of Žilina’s Centre for Transportation Research, in Slovakia. Partners in the network come from eight European countries: Austria; The Netherlands; Germany; Spain; Sweden; Finland; Poland; and the lead country Slovakia.

Keeping a good thing going

Although scheduled for completion at the end of 2004, the network is keen to continue building its user community and to remain a valuable forum for knowledge exchange among transport research facilities, public authorities and industrial partners. “Our plan is to keep it alive and we’re looking into several alternatives for doing this. One is to introduce new web services to encourage contributions from the user community,” Cebrat explains.

For example, he says, using the database, a car manufacturer can locate a partner to test noise emission levels of its new diesel engine for passenger cars. Likewise, an aircraft parts maker can use simulation services to assess energy consumption of a new turbine prototype.

Read moreexternal link