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French companies at vanguard of autonomous vehicle innovation
20 Feb 2017:

While companies such as Tesla and Uber have garnered widespread attention for their recent interest in autonomous vehicles (AVs), public transport has long been a pioneer of automation thanks to extensive experience with automated metros.


Indeed, public transport is also now playing a key role in the roll-out of AVs and French companies are at the forefront of this. French manufacturers EasyMile and Navya are world-leaders in AV innovation and French operators RATPTransdev and Keolis are paving the way toward integrated public transport solutions with Alstom also taking a stake in an automated future.
 


Paris trial represents AV milestone


The past year has seen trials of AVs take place across the world. However, it is French companies that can claim responsibility for a series of exciting advancements surrounding driverless public transport solutions. French operator RATP, working in conjunction with the Paris City Council, recently unveiled two driverless shuttles set to serve passengers in central Paris.


The French AV manufacturer EasyMile has already tested the electric shuttles on closed circuits in Japan and Singapore, but the Paris route represents a huge step forward for the integration of AVs in public transport systems. The shuttles are able to carry up to 12 passengers and will run on the Charles de Gaulle bridge until 7 April. RATP is committed to introducing new routes served by AVs in the coming year.


European success leads to North American expansion


France-based public transport operator Transdev’s driverless shuttles transport up to 4,000 passengers per day in locations throughout Europe. In a partnership with EasyMile, Transdev is planning to introduce AV routes in the United States, putting their cutting-edge technology and logistics to the service of increasing accessibility of public transport systems.


Driverless vehicles can plug multiple gaps that exist in current transport networks. They also create a new low-cost solution that opens mobility options that may never have been considered before”, commented Transdev North America CEO Mark Joseph.


French innovation, French financing


Two French transport companies, Alstom and Keolis, have pledged their support to AV innovation by investing in French AV manufacturers EasyMile and Navya, respectively. Concerning the recent €14m investment in EasyMile, Bruno Marguet, Head of Strategy at Alstom, declared that, “Through this investment, Alstom expands its knowledge into the driverless technologies and pursues its development in the growing field of smart mobility.” EasyMile driverless shuttles have already been deployed in 14 countries across the world.


At the end of last year, Keolis became a minority shareholder of Navya, as part of a €30m capital increase. In January, Navya announced a pilot test of an AV in central Las Vegas, the first time an autonomous bus has ever operated with passengers in open traffic in the United States.


For more information on AVs and their potential benefit to public transport systems see the latest UITP Policy Brief, 'Autonomous vehicles: a potential game changer for urban mobility.' This topic will also be addressed during different sessions at the UITP Summit (Montréal, 15-17 May 2017).


February's newsletter
15 Feb 2017:

February's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out now http://bit.ly/2lGk8KY. This month's edition includes information on TRIP's third Research Theme Analysis Report, which covers the subject of transport infrastructure. It also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.


Transport Research Innovation Portal publishes insight to enhance EU transport infrastructure
08 Feb 2017:

A new report from the European Commission funded Transport Research Innovation Portal (TRIP) provides unique insight into transport infrastructure research in Europe - identifying areas where further innovation, research and funding could improve economic and social cohesion


Robust and efficient transport infrastructure is essential to the economic development and prosperity of Europe and its citizens. However, transport infrastructure research and development has traditionally been a national pursuit, with limited impact on development at a European level.


The new Research Theme Analysis Report from TRIP provides a comprehensive review of multimodal transport infrastructure research performed by European businesses, public organisations and academic institutions. It offers a rare snapshot of the current infrastructure research and innovation landscape to help focus policy makers, stakeholders and researchers on areas to improve the accessibility and performance of transport systems across Europe.


The report covers six interlinked sub themes of transport infrastructure development: planning; assessment; pricing, funding and financing; construction; management and governance; and monitoring and maintenance. It highlights key areas of success, including the effectiveness of policy frameworks in supporting intelligent transport systems and the ambitious Trans-European Networks -Transport (TEN-T) project - which aims to connect Europe from East to West and North to South. The report also identifies areas where further research is required, such as in developing policy that delivers fair, efficient and productive pricing for users.


Gareth Horton, TRIP lead analyst said: “The report provides a truly unique reference tool for transport infrastructure stakeholders in Europe. By sharing research on success in technology and policy development and highlighting areas where research gaps exist, we can help to break down barriers between transport stakeholders and foster greater collaboration across Europe.”


Research projects included in the report are drawn from the online Transport Research Innovation Portal (TRIP) - a free to access, European Commission funded portal for EU professionals to share and discuss innovations in transport mobility. Previous outcomes of TRIP’s research include comprehensive reports on Urban Mobility and on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) research. Both can be downloaded for free at http://www.transport-research.info/theme-analysis-reports?s=HP-TAR


Reach academics, local authority transport departments, central transport policy makers and businesses throughout the transport sector across Europe by submitting your transport project at http://www.transport-research.info/


€1 billion to boost investment in European transport infrastructure
08 Feb 2017:

The European Commission is launching a new and innovative way to finance transport infrastructure projects in Europe. The call for proposals will seek to combine €1 billion of grants (Connecting Europe Facility - Transport) with financing from public financial institutions, the private sector or, for the first time, the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe and a top priority for the Juncker Commission.


This first ever combination of funds will help to achieve the twin objectives of boosting investment to fund innovative, sustainable transport infrastructure upgrades while supporting jobs needed to put that infrastructure in place. The call contributes to the implementation of the Commission's Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility under the Energy Union, and also supports investments in "sustainable transport" in view of the upcoming road mobility initiatives to be launched later in the year.


Commission Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "The mobility of the future must be clean, connected and competitive, and requires new ways of financing. Today's call for proposal is an important first step in this regard. We will build on it, this year, in our work to implement the Low-Emission Mobility Strategy for Europe."


Commission Vice President responsible for Jobs, Growth, investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: "The European Fund for Strategic Investments was designed as a flexible tool to be used in combination with other EU funding sources so as to maximise their impact and help achieve Europe's broader policy objectives. I am delighted that, with today's initiative, the EFSI will complement the Connecting Europe Facility to help support the investment and jobs needed to build smart, sustainable transport networks."


Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc added: "Achieving our vision for seamless, intelligent and sustainable mobility in Europe requires investments that public funds alone cannot provide. That is why we are launching an innovative solution to make the best of our resources, and unlock untapped private investments, with particular focus on Cohesion countries. Today's action is a sign of solidarity on the move."


For the first time, this call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will require the combination of grants with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Investment Bank, National Promotional Banks or private sector investors. In order to receive Connecting Europe Facility support, applicants will be asked to show evidence of the projects' financial readiness to obtain complementary funding from public or private financing institutions.


Selected projects must contribute to sustainable, innovative and seamless transportation along the Trans-European Transport Network. Particular emphasis will be placed on projects removing bottlenecks, supporting cross-border links and accelerating the digitalisation of transport, especially in areas with higher potential and market gaps such as in Cohesion countries, sustainable and efficient transport systems, and enhancing inter-modality and inter-operability in the transport network. This includes new technologies and traffic management systems such as the European Railway Traffic Management SystemIntelligent Transport Systems for roads or the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Programme.


Support will be granted on a competitive basis, following a thorough evaluation and selection process. The call will have two deadlines for submission of proposals, the first one on 14 July 2017and the second one on 30 November 2017.


Background


Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), €24.05 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects of common interest in the EU Member States. Of these, €19.3 billion have so far been legally committed. Information on the projects that have already been awarded EU support is available through the EU results tool.


The Investment Plan focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise over EUR 168 billion in total investments across 28 Member States and to support more than 387 000 SMEs. On 14 September 2016, the European Commission proposed extending EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find the latest EFSI figures by sector and by country. For more info, see the FAQs.


Finding ways to find synergies between and complement EFSI support with other EU funds is a key part of that. Such combinations can help to unlock additional investment projects in the EU, especially in countries which so far have benefitted less from the EFSI than some of their peers.


For more info


Flyer


Calls webpage (INEA)


The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will organise a Connecting Europe Facility Transport Blending Info Day on Monday 27 February 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.


MEMO: The EU at work to bridge the investment gap in transport and stimulate the European economy


Good Transport Data Can Change Cities
06 Feb 2017:

The pace of change in cities has reached breakneck speed. Mayors are often so overwhelmed with day-to-day issues that they have a hard time thinking about the long-term effects of all the decisions they make. It’s often hard to even tell if things are getting better or worse. Transportation data in many cities is either hard to obtain or missing entirely.


As part of ITDP’s effort to influence better decision making by mayors and elected officials, ITDP traveled to Cape Town, South Africa for the first ever UN World Data Forum.  The forum gathered data experts from around the world to share data related ideas and achievements.


New Sources of Data
In Cape Town, ITDP met with representatives from the European Union who have developed a guide for how to work with private institutions and business to use their data without hurting their business model. The upshot: make the data anonymous so it can’t be tied to any person, and aggregate it so it doesn’t give away industry secrets.


A representative from Facebook spoke about their work doing exactly this with governments to help them better understand their countries and cities. In addition, several researchers talked about their experience working with anonymized and aggregated cell phone records. This private information was used to help target malaria treatment centers in Africa, but could also be useful in better understanding how people travel around cities.


Combine Data to Fill Gaps
Another major challenge in data collection is achieving complete coverage. For example, collecting data on walkability requires physically examining each block to understand the characteristics of the built environment (streets and buildings) there. This is very expensive and time consuming, meaning that typically only a sample of city blocks can actually be surveyed. To improve the coverage of data, researchers at the forum showed that by combining multiple data sources, they could infer data for locations not covered by the initial in-depth data collection. Sources of additional data include satellite imagery, cell phone data, and social media, which can provide a more complete data coverage of an area. Researchers then found relationships between the original sample data and the more complete data set. Often the relationships were weak, but with multiple weak relationships to complete data sources, the researchers were able to reasonably infer data for locations that were not surveyed.


*The full presentations from the UN Data Forum on big datadata and algorithms, andusing photos as data are available online. 


What’s Next?
To better translate these ideas into practice, ITDP is hosting a Mobility Data Forum in San Francisco in partnership with Microsoft, where these ideas and other can all meet to develop concrete ideas for translating data into indicators. These indicators can help transport planners understand how people are moving in a city and track progress over time. With this information, leaders can make better decisions about where a city is headed, bringing us closer to sustainable cities and a healthier, more equitable planet.


https://www.itdp.org/good-transport-data-changes-cities/


 


Regional/national workshops on C-ITS and cities
06 Feb 2017:

As the CIMEC project enters its final strait, a number of events are being planned in order to provide an opportunity for city authorities and other urban ITS stakeholders to share their views on the main findings to date and to express views on what should happen next at local, national and European level.


Regional/national workshops, Feb-March 2017


A series of national/regional workshops around European are being conducted in February and March to provide an opportunity for reviewing the CIMEC roadmap on the deployment of C-ITS in cities as well as for sharing information on any local/national deployment activities. The dates and places of the workshops are as follows, along with contact person:


- 8 February 2017, Trondheim (NO), Solveig.Meland@sintef.no


- 21 February 2017, Kassel (DE), Thorsten.Miltner@kassel.de


- 2 March 2017, Bilbao (ES), smurga@mlcluster.com


- 21 March 2017, Reading (UK), mark.cartwright@centaurconsulting.co.uk


The roadmap is intended to be an overview perspective on how the city C-ITS market is expected to develop in Europe: to provide a vision that European cities can collectively recognise and support, and that other stakeholder can benefit from in their political or commercial planning.


The roadmap has been produced in different lengths of detail depending on the reader:


- A one-page flyer describing what is the roadmap is available in EnglishGerman and Spanish.


- A 15-page summary of the roadmap has also been produced.


- The draft roadmap in full (80+ pages) can also be viewed.


Final event, 18 May 2017, Brussels


The final event will focus on sharing the main findings of the project and on next steps. It will also provide an opportunity to learn about national programmes and plans for cities to move towards C-ITS deployment and the next steps of the European Commission.


http://www.polisnetwork.eu/publicnews/1323/45/Regional-national-workshop...


RAIL LOOKS TO GO CLIMATE-RESILIENT
06 Feb 2017:

Climate changes such as steady increases in temperature and changing groundwater-levels will have an effect on the durability and functioning of rail infrastructure. UITP's latest report looks at how the rail sector shall adapt to these inevitable changes. 


Hurricane Sandy hit New York’s metro system in October 2012 with devastating force, destroying South Ferry Station, flooding tunnels and wreaking billions of dollars’ worth of havoc. It served as an extreme and tangible example of the devastating potential of climate change on public transport systems.


“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night," said Joseph Lhota, then chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) at the time. "Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots," he said.


Within a week, the subway was 80% operational.


Thankfully MTA’s foresight meant that precautions were taken to avoid even more devastating consequences: before the storm, MTA moved trains away from flood-prone areas and removed electric signals from tunnels. After the floods, the water was pumped out and the signals replaced. Within a week, the subway was 80% operational.


The effects of climate change are only set to increase the frequency and severity with which events like this occur, according to UITP’s latest report, ‘Urban rail, climate change and resilience’.


In addition to events such as in New York, less extreme and more gradual climate changes may go unnoticed but will still have an effect on the durability and functioning of rail infrastructure, such as steady increases in temperature, sunshine (UV exposure), seawater-level and changing groundwater-levels.


Building in resilience


Despite the sector’s extensive climate change mitigation efforts being made through the adoption of low carbon technologies, urban rail infrastructure will be significantly impacted, affecting the way that the sector plans, designs, constructs, operates and maintains its assets in the future.


A survey was designed to gather information about the potential impacts on different subsystems of rail infrastructure, possible measures to avoid disastrous effects in the future and measures to rapidly restore systems to normal service in case of damage. The survey feedback suggests that some rail companies are already taking measures with others planning to implements steps to avoid climate effects.


This report looks at how rail infrastructure shall adapt to the inevitable changes. It includes concrete measures that have been implemented among UITP’s rail company members, many of which have been confronted with major climate change-related disruption and damages in the last 10-15 years, as well as guidance for measures to take in the immediate-, short-, medium- and long-term.


http://www.uitp.org/news/rail-looks-go-climate-resilient


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