Truck on a highway.

Transport safety and security

The transport industry directly employs around 10 million people and accounts for about 5% of the GDP. The quality and cost of transport services have a major impact on the ability of businesses to compete, on economic growth and the quality of life. Enhancing safety and security in all transport modes is a key objective of the European Commission. Research and innovation can provide the solutions for safer transport in the future.

In 2011 in its "Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (COM(2011)144)", the European Commission stated that by 2050 the EU should have become a world leader in safety and security of transport in all transport modes.

The JRC supports EU transport safety policy in all transport modes: road, aviation, maritime and rail. The JRC has developed and manages accidents and incidents reporting systems for the aviation, maritime and railways domains to improve transport safety. For road safety, the JRC has a key role in assuring the security and trustworthiness of the digital tachograph. The JRC is also developing innovative radar systems for maritime surveillance and safety. Finally, the JRC is working on innovative solutions to enhance the security of containers.

 

Reporting and analysis of transport accidents and incidents

In the aviation, maritime and railways domain, the causes of accidents are complex to understand: rather than by a single failure, they are usually caused by a sequence of events linked one to the other. Often, the same kind of event has already happened somewhere else in the world without causing a fatal accident. Understanding the links between small events that may lead to an accident and analysing all the smallest incidents, failures and other occurrences in daily operations (the so-called precursors) is therefore a crucial element for preventing new accidents.

Following the successful introduction of the European Coordination Centre for Accident and Incident Reporting Systems (ECCAIRS) in the aviation domain, the JRC also developed the European Marine Casualties Information Platform (EMCIP) for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and the European Railway Accident Information Links (ERAIL) system for the European Railways Agency (ERA).

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Aviation security

The JRC contributes to aviation security by providing scientific and technical support and advice to policy makers on aspects of measurements, testing and standardisation.

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Aviation security

 

Maritime safety and security

Maritime transport enables trade and contacts between all the European nations and is the main vehicle for European imports and exports to the rest of the world. Almost 90% of the EU external freight trade is seaborne. To support the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector, the JRC has contributed to the creation of the European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP).

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Maritime safety and security

 

Road safety: the digital tachograph

Although road transport is a lot safer than it was, it is still considerably more dangerous than other means of travel. Driver fatigue and users’ behaviour on the road are the main cause or an aggravating factor in one out of three of these accidents. The digital tachograph is a mandatory electronic recorder of the professional drivers’ activities, i.e. rest, driving hours and speed. The JRC's research contributes to the security and trustworthiness of the digital tachograph.

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Road safety: the digital tachograph

 

Security of the supply chain

The use of shipping containers has rapidly increased in the last decades, with an estimated number of individual container movements each year in the order of 400 million. Containers are considered as a weak link in the supply chain, as they can be potentially exploited to defraud customs, introduce illicit cargo and breach security protocols. The JRC studies the development of a multifunctional intermodal shipping container manufactured from hybrid composites.

With the development of a multifunctional intermodal shipping container manufactured from hybrid composites, the JRC's research work aims at designing and developing prototypes that will allow the relevant authorities to ascertain more easily the security status of containers and their contents. By multifunctional we mean the capacity of advanced composite materials to embrace the dual roles of structural component and housing for sensor devices. The combination of the structural manufacturing and design flexibility of advanced composites, allied to the wide variety of miniaturised sensor technologies, opens up the possibility of manufacturing new multifunctional structural components.


Monitoring container traffic and analysing risk

Millions of containers travel every year by sea, transporting the bulk of traded goods. Detecting suspicious shipments from customs fraud (e.g. evasion of import or antidumping duties) or from a safety and security viewpoint (e.g. terrorism and various criminal activities) are difficult tasks for the authorities involved. The JRC's ConTraffic research project is developing a system that can support authorities in this task by improving their situation awareness capacity and providing them with additional risk indicators derived from the actual routes followed by the containers. The value of the ConTraffic system is already demonstrated in various pilot projects.

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Monitoring container traffic

 

Safe mobility for the visually impaired

Moving independently and securily in our cities is often a challenge for the visually impaired people. The JRC has developed SESAMONET, a secure and safe mobility network based on micro-chips embedded in the ground containing information about the path. A walking stick can read the signal of each micro-chip.

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Secure and Safe Mobility Network (SESAMONET)

 

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JRC Institutes