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June's newsletter
13 Jun 2017:

June’s edition of the TRIP newsletter is out now This month's edition includes information on how you can register for TRIP's imminent transport safety workshop. It also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.

Lessons from Dieselgate: what is next for cities? - Outcomes of the Polis mobility breakfast
07 Jun 2017:

On the 6th of June, Polis members London and Ghent, joined the chair of the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) of the European Parliament, Kathleen Van Brempt for the third Polis urban mobility breakfast ‘Lessons from Dieselgate: what is next for cities?’’

Polis Secretary General Karen Vancluysen introduced the topic and challenges that cities are facing today in reducing pollution and managing traffic through access regulations. She outlined that cities are living labs for innovation and measures such as electrified urban freight, electro mobility and charging infrastructure – all key to solve air quality problems in cities. You can read more about POLIS’ priorities and future events here.

Ms. Van Brempt then introduced the conclusions of the EMIS Committee, which was the first inquiry committee since 11 years in the EP and voted with large majority as the issues crossed over political lines. The investigation brought to light other culprits in the car industry who were found to be emitting four times more than the standard. She also mentioned that there already are good norms and laws in place but countries are failing at enforcing those and there is hardly any market surveillance in the EU. The public awareness is not there yet either however the figures are there: 28 000 premature deaths are caused by NOx and pollution. Out of these, 40% are caused by excess emissions above the legal limits. She outlined that the solution is to look at the longer term and fully go for the low emission vehicle on the condition that it is based on renewable energy and not powered by fossil fuels. The European Commission can and should do more to handle this situation and the processes have started to review the type approval requirements so that they are reflecting real world scenarios and perform outside of the laboratory testing environment. She encouraged cities to take part in the decision-making process in Brussels and to reinforce their impact on advocacy.

Filip Watteeuw, Executive Councillor for Mobility and Public works for the city of Ghent presented the city’s future plans to reduce the particulate matter caused by road traffic. After an initial assessment, it was found that 35% of Ghent cars do not meet Euro 4 standard. Two elements were put in place: a general mobility policy - active since 2014 - and an action plan for air quality. The key objectives of the mobility policy is to double public transport usage, double the use of cycling and reduce traffic by 50%. Watteeuw outlined that the parking plan was the most efficient measure adopted as well as restricting access by car in the inner city where a default speed limit of 30km/h has been implemented. Thanks to the measures adopted, Ghent saw this year an increase of 10% in the number of cyclists (from 30% bike use in 2015|) and an increase of 40% in the use of public transport. He launched a plea to the Flemish Government to support more public transport in cities. Concerning future plans, the Deputy Mayor said that 58 actions are foreseen in the action plan for air quality and most of them target the introduction of low emission zones (LEZ). He said that in this area, it’s important to have uniformity across the EU. A reduction of approximately 22% in black carbon is to be expected and more tightening of the area is foreseen by 2025.

Anna-Maria Spyriouni, Senior EU Policy Officer Greater London Authority, reminded the audience that pollution has been an historic concern for London, and although pollution overall is going down, there are still red spots where the limits are above the EU standards. She described the three step approach of the mayor of London, focusing on health, fairness and legal compliance. She said that London will be compliant by 2025 to meet the EU challenges for particulate matter. She underlined that exhaust is not the only problem of the city, and that tyre and break wear should also be an indicator to be measured. One measure that will help reduce this will be Ultra LEZ which will be enforced as of 2022 and no cars older than 6 years will be permitted to enter these areas with important fines being given for all vehicle categories. To read more about London’s plan to reduce emissions, you can find Ms Spyriouni ’s presentation here.

A discussion on the importance of developing real type approval testing for diesel cars arised and Ms. Van Brempt outlined that it will take two years to release a new test. She emphasised that bad fiscal policies encourage car ownership and encouraged cities to organise themselves and be more vocal as the decisions taken at local level can drive the market forward. Another question about the air quality stations was posed, and Ghent answered that their number has risen exponentially in the last years, currently having 50 installed and going to 100 in the next two to three years. In a final comment, the issue of public transport and buses in particular was addressed: here it is important to have a coherent approach – by either encouraging electrification or switching to a new diesel standard – but not both as it will be detrimental to the cities and operators alike.

Polis will closely follow up relevant evolutions in this respect. As a concrete action, the network will manage a group of experts to publish recommendations on mobility and air quality policy in the framework of the CIVITAS 2020 initiative.

For further information, contact the Polis Policy Officer, Luana Bidasca,

Hyperloop One’s Vision for Europe summit: unveiling 9 routes spanning the continent
07 Jun 2017:

Executives from Hyperloop One joined European dignitaries and policymakers at its Vision for Europe summit to discuss transforming transportation across the continent with Hyperloop. 

Hyperloop One's vision for Europe creates economic unification to provide better options for people living outside of economic centers and large cities; increases capacity of strategic corridors sustainably to develop city-to-city connections within commuting range, enabling a thriving, greener mega-region; and offers next generation logistics to facilitate fast, reliable and clean movement of goods.

With Hyperloop One, passengers and cargo are loaded into a pod and accelerated gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. It is designed for higher energy efficiency per passenger mile than traditional modes of transport, curbing emissions and fuel consumption. By the end of 2017, Hyperloop One will have a team of 500 employees dedicated to bringing the technology to life.

Nine potential European routes were unveiled for the Hyperloop One Global Challenge at the event. The proposed routes will connect over 75 million people in 44 cities, spanning 5,000 kilometers. They were presented as part of the all-day summit that included a panel discussion around the economic advantages of Hyperloop and a keynote address from Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen.

“Europe embraces new ideas in transportation like no other region in the world and is uniquely positioned to take the next great leap in transportation with Hyperloop One,” said Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Hyperloop One. “Our vision is to, one day, connect all of Europe with our Hyperloop One system, networking the entire continent.”

“For Europe, Hyperloop One technology is complementary to existing highways, rails, ports and overall infrastructure,” said Rob Lloyd, Chief Executive Officer of Hyperloop One. “Hyperloop One will offer Europe’s transport grid with an option that is more efficient, greener, on-demand and faster. We’ve seen a lot of interest here, and we look forward to creating a partnership to enhance the continent’s transport infrastructure.”

“Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has built a fully functioning Hyperloop system test track,” said Hyperloop One co-founder and President of Engineering Josh Giegel. “For the last two years, our team of nearly 200 engineers, technicians and fabricators developed our technology and transformed a stretch of desert in the U.S. into a working test track that proves we can build a Hyperloop system anywhere in the world. We’re looking forward to showcasing our technology and believe that Europe is the perfect region for one of the world’s first Hyperloop systems.”

Europe on the Move: Commission takes action for clean, competitive and connected mobility
07 Jun 2017:

The European Commission is taking action for a fundamental modernisation of European mobility and transport. The aim is to help the sector to stay competitive in a socially fair transition towards clean energy and digitalisation.

'Europe on the Move' is a wide-ranging  set of initiatives that will make traffic safer; encourage smart road charging; reduce CO2 emissions, air pollution and congestion; cut red-tape for businesses; fight illicit employment and ensure proper conditions and rest times for workers. The long-term benefits of these measures will extend far beyond the transport sector by promoting growth and job creation, strengthening social fairness, widening consumers’ choices and firmly putting Europe on the path towards zero emissions.

Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "We see the world of transport changing fundamentally. Europe must seize this opportunity and shape the future of mobility. This is our unique chance to "reinvent the wheel". I would like our industry not only to be part of the global change but to set the tone."

Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: "Our approach to mobility is much broader than just the transport sector. We see new developments in transport also in the context of newly emerging economic trends like collaborative or circular economy. Hence, it is as an opportunity to modernise the entire European economy and push it in a more sustainable direction."

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "The EU has a unique opportunity to not only lead the modernisation of road transport at home, but also globally. Our reforms will set the foundation for standardised, digital road solutions, fairer social conditions and enforceable market rules. They will help decrease the socio-economic costs of transport, like time lost in traffic, road fatalities and serious injuries, health risks from pollution and noise, whilst serving the needs of citizens, businesses and nature. Common standards and cross-border services will also help make multimodal travel a reality across Europe."

Mobility has a major influence on the daily lives of European citizens and directly employs more than 11 million people. Yet, the sector is undergoing a number of technological, economic and social transformations whose pace is accelerating. Harnessing these changes is essential to deliver a Europe that protects, empowers and defends – a political priority for the Juncker Commission. To this end, the Commission today adopted a long-term strategy to turn these challenges into opportunities and deliver smart, socially fair and competitive mobility by 2025. The EU will drive this transition through targeted legislation and supporting measures, including infrastructure investment, research and innovation. This will ensure that the best clean, connected and automated mobility solutions, transport equipment and vehicles will be developed, offered and manufactured in Europe.

It is accompanied by a first series of 8 legislative initiatives specifically targeting road transport. This sector is of particular importance as it directly employs 5 million Europeans, while contributing to almost a fifth of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions.  The proposals will improve the functioning of the road haulage market and help improve workers' social and employment conditions. This will be done by stepping up enforcement, fighting illicit employment practices, cutting the administrative burden for companies and bringing more clarity to existing rules, for instance concerning the application of national minimum wage laws.

The Commission also intends to promote seamless mobility solutions so that citizens and businesses can travel easily across Europe. For instance, interoperability between tolling systems will enable road users to drive throughout the EU without having to be concerned by different administrative formalities. Common specifications for public transport data will also allow passengers to better plan their journey and follow the best route even if it crosses a border.

This first batch of 8 proposals will be complemented over the next 12 months by other proposals, including on post-2020 emissions standards for cars and vans as well as the first-ever emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles.  These proposals will further drive innovation; improve competitiveness, reduce CO2 emissions, improve air quality and public health and increase the safety of transport.

Generation green: smart cities bring new eco-friendly jobs
01 Jun 2017:

Smart cities across Europe are pioneering all sorts of cutting-edge technologies to reduce pollution and boost energy efficiency, becoming green role models for others to follow. The eco-friendly push is not only helping to protect our planet, it’s also stimulating growth and unleashing a new generation of jobs

This year’s EU Green Week is clear in its focus: “green jobs for a greener future.” It’s highlighting how environmental policies are helping to create new work opportunities and a demand for new types of competences. Smart city projects are playing a big role in all of this - revolutionising the way we live and work and the resources we use.

We have identified, especially from the municipalities side, that there is a need to create new skilled jobs for the creation of specific cross-department teams to work on defining action plans for cities, supporting the design of solutions and an understanding of the needs,” says Miguel Garcia, from the REMOURBAN project, which is pioneering new approaches to urban regeneration in the Spanish city of Valladolid, Nottingham in England, and Tepebasi/Eskisehir in Turkey.

“We’re working on an urban regeneration model to develop more sustainable environments. This focuses on green energy technologies for retrofitting buildings and sustainable mobility technologies, including charging points for electric vehicles,” he explains.

“And we need new types of jobs, more specialised jobs. For example, in maintaining the electric charging infrastructure of a city, to deliver all the services we will be providing from the urban platform and so on. We will see more jobs with a strong ICT component,” continues Garcia.

The project alone is expected to create around 200 jobs in all during its five-year lifespan. But Garcia says the work, along with that of other smart city projects, is likely to deliver a much bigger return in the long-term across Europe. “In 10 years, the growth in investment will be around 25 percent in the ideas we’re developing, so this will create even more new jobs,” Garcia affirms.

Another example is the Sharing Cities project set to bring 300 new jobs across three demonstration cities, as it seeks to show how digital technology can make a big ‘green’ difference to our lives.

According to 2013 EU figures, environmental economy or ‘eco-industry’ companies employed over 4.2 million people. Helping to manage pollution and natural resources, they generated a turnover of more than 700 billion euros.

Green businesses have been flourishing. But while countries like Denmark have been employing around 300,000 people in this sector, other European countries have reported much lower figures.

The smart city projects across Europe, designed to be trailblazers for others to follow, may help to even out that jobs picture – inspiring more countries to think green when it comes to urban regeneration.

“When we started three years ago, we saw that generating jobs was important. The economy wasn’t growing as quickly as it is now,” explains Gustaf Landahl, from the GrowSmarter project, which aims to develop a market for 12 ‘smart city solutions’ covering energy, infrastructure and transport. “We think we’ll create 1,500 jobs through our project. But then we hope that even more will come when these smart solutions and the companies behind them start growing.”

GrowSmarter, Sharing Cities and REMOURBAN are among nine smart city projects who recently signed a cooperation agreement to share their ideas. “We think we can have a stronger impact in cities across Europe through our collaboration. We are stronger together. I’m sure we’ll have a big impact in terms of new investment, new jobs and implementation of new technologies,” says Garcia.

But environmental policies are often accused of being job killers, as switching to a green economy could lead to an employment deficit hard to fill. For example, “a key sector, like waste management, generates jobs often left to the underprivileged in the workforce to carry out. These ‘dirty jobs’ may disappear altogether. Yet, it is not clear what jobs the green economy would then offer to those with little or no skills,” warns Ödül Bozkurt, a senior lecturer in the Department of Business and Management at the University of Sussex in England.

In this context, an interesting experience comes from the US, where the non-profit organisation Greed Alternatives promotes the accessibility of renewable jobs to low income communities, training people to work in the rooftop solar industry.

Similar examples are also emerging in Europe, including the smart city project CiTyFiED. It’s created new work and skills for unemployed people living in Laguna de Duero, Spain, through large-scale retrofitting of buildings and energy efficiency interventions.

Low-skilled or highly-skilled jobs, it seems the growing green economy is injecting new life into jobs market – and, for many countries, that is a welcome boost after all the turbulence of recent years.


By Damon Embling

May's Newsletter
17 May 2017:

May's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out now This month's edition includes information on TRIP's upcoming workshop on the subject of transport safety. It also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.

Energy efficiency and urban mobility: EUR 30 million for project development assistance
15 May 2017:

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed a new delegation agreement reinforcing the ELENA (European Local Energy Assistance) facility. ELENA provides grant funding to support the preparation of large-scale investment programmes in the area of energy efficiency, distributed renewables, and sustainable urban transport. The new agreement concerns a budget of €30 million, of which €20 million will support the preparation of energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy projects, and €10 million will be dedicated to sustainable urban transport and mobility projects.

Established in 2009, the ELENA facility has so far awarded around €100 million of EU support, triggering an estimated investment of around €4 billion on the ground. ELENA has already supported a variety of projects across the European Union, including:

  • The deployment of a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to initiate the energy renovation of thousands of private housing units in the north of France

  • The funding and the necessary accompanying infrastructure to upgrade Barcelona’s bus fleet to low-emission buses

  • The planning of investments in the heat recovery of industrial waste heat in existing district heating networks in the Netherlands.

ELENA is managed by the EIB and financed by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation funding programme. ELENA funding is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis for the development of projects leading to investments above EUR 30 million. Past projects have received, on average, around EUR 1.8 million for project development assistance, leading to investments forty times higher. ELENA funding can cover up to 90% of eligible project development costs, which may include expenses related to feasibility and market studies; programme structuring; energy audits; financial structuring and/or preparation of tendering procedures and contractual arrangements. It does not cover costs related to the investment itself. Projects receiving an ELENA grant may also apply for an EIB loan, although this is not a prerequisite for applications to ELENA.