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Commission sets date to put standardised European railway signalling system in place
10 Jan 2017:

The European Commission has adopted an implementing regulation on the new European Rail Traffic Management System European Deployment Plan (ERTMS EDP). ERTMS allows trains to run seamlessly across borders by replacing differing national technical systems. The plan sets new targets until 2023 by which about 50% of the Core Network Corridors shall be equipped. In 2023, the ERTMS European Deployment Plan will be updated again setting out the precise implementation dates for the remaining part of the Corridors between 2024 and 2030. The new deployment plan will facilitate the investment and resource planning of railway undertakings and infrastructure managers.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc stated: "The European Rail Traffic Management System or ERTMS makes a direct contribution to the competitiveness and the safety of European railways. The deployment plan adopted today provides for a phased implementation along the European rail network, bringing us closer to a fully interoperable single European rail area, where trains can more easily travel across borders."

The new ERTMS EDP is the result of consultation and negotiation with Member States, carried out by the European ERTMS Coordinator Karel Vinck over the last two years.

European ERTMS Coordinator Karel Vinck said: "All Member States have accepted ERTMS as the signalling system in Europe. It is ready to be implemented from a technical point of view and through implementing the recently adopted deployment plan we can ensure the timely deployment of ERTMS."



ERTMS is a control, command, signalling and communication system that has been available on the European market for more than 20 years. It is a software based system for the railway management and safe regulation that continuously ensures that the train does not exceed the safe speed and distance. This standardised European signalling system will replace 25 different national signalling systems and remove one of the main bottlenecks of an interoperable European railway network.

Currently trains cannot cross borders without stopping due to the different national signalling systems in operation. ERTMS makes the systems interoperable. Another benefit is the higher safety level that ERTMS provides compared with the vast majority of the existing national systems. ERTMS implementation enables higher speeds and reduces the distance between operating trains that leads to direct increases of capacity and productivity. ERTMS-equipped trains can be operated with a higher rate of reliability and punctuality, which contributes to modal shift.

The implementing regulation replaces the old ERTMS EDP of 2009. The deadlines of the old deployment plan for six ERTMS Corridors became unrealistic due to shortage of financing, limited number of available qualified experts or technical problems during implementation. Furthermore, the geographical scope and the definite deadline for implementation have been aligned with the requirements of the Regulation (EU) Nr 1315/2013 in the recently adopted deployment plan.

Virtual modelling shows driverless cars could cut delays in the future
10 Jan 2017:

Study shows driverless cars could significantly reduce delays.

Driverless cars could significantly reduce delays according to a new study by the Department for Transport.

The project used computer software to create virtual models of different parts of the UK road network including urban roads and a 20km motorway section.

Delays and traffic flow were all shown to improve as the proportion of automated vehicles increased above specific levels.

The study demonstrates that driverless cars offer major potential benefits when the proportion of them on the road is higher than the proportion of older, more traditional vehicles.

This study is an important first step towards understanding the full range of complex effects of these technologies. It paves the way for further trials and research to help ensure the transition to driverless or automated vehicles is safe and beneficial for all.

Transport Minister Johns Hayes said:

This exciting and extensive study shows that driverless cars could vastly improve the flow of traffic in our towns and cities, offering huge benefits to motorists including reduced delays and more reliable journey times.

Driverless cars are just one example of cutting edge technology which could transform the way in which we travel in the future, particularly in providing new opportunities for those with reduced mobility. This study reinforces our belief that these technologies offer major benefits and this government will support their research.

The study examined different scenarios including the level of automation, the proportion of vehicles equipped with the technology and different automated driving styles.

The main findings of the report included that:

  • on major roads where traditional vehicles outnumbered automated vehicles benefits are relatively small, but increase as the percentage of driverless cars on the roads increases - when measuring peak traffic periods with a maximum of up to 100% of driverless vehicles we saw journey times reduced by more than 11% and delays cut by more than 40%

  • on urban roads benefits are seen in peak traffic periods even with low levels of automated vehicles on roads - benefits include a 12% improvement in delays and a 21% improvement in journey time reliability

As well as this study, the Department for Transport along with the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles is publishing a response to a consultation on insurance for driverless cars.

The response details proposals to extend compulsory motor insurance to include the use of automated vehicles. The response aims to establish a model where an insurer would cover both the driver’s use of the vehicle and the driverless vehicle technology itself. These proposals are intended to be taken through the Modern Transport Bill.

Commission releases report on the development of the rail market
03 Jan 2017:

On 08/12/2016 the European Commission adopted the fifth report on the development of the European rail market. The report shows that EU legislation on rail, which encourages competitiveness and market opening, has led to a more efficient and customer-responsive industry. In Member States where rail markets are opened, competition can result overall in lower fares for customers and better value for taxpayers. After adoption of the 4th Railway Package, the focus of the Commission will be on the implementation of existing legislation to bring about further performance improvement.

The report shows that, on average, the market share of competing freight operators (15% in 2006) had more than doubled by 2014. At the end of 2014, rail freight transport was 100% in the hands of national incumbent still in Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania and Luxembourg.

Market shares of competitors in passenger markets are lower, given the different stage of market opening, being well below of 20% in all Member States except in Poland and the United Kingdom. Open access competition has developed in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.


Other main findings

Safety and services

Railway safety continued to improve between 2010 and 2014, with fatalities, serious injuries and significant accidents all decreasing. In 2013, the fatality risk for a rail passenger was 16 times lower than for a person travelling by car.

In 2009, with the low point of the economic crisis, rail freight volumes dropped heavily. Rail passenger volumes however, were hardly impacted. More than 50% of freight traffic in 2014 was international giving rail freight a much stronger European dimension than is the case for passenger traffic (only 6% international). Latest developments show that rail freight currently has a good 3% average annual increase rate.


The total length of rail network in 2014 was about 220,000 kilometres increasing by 2% in comparison to 2009. 52% of the network is so far electrified. Network utilisation rates are highest in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria, Belgium and Germany.
Infrastructure expenditure increased from EUR 29 billion in 2011 to EUR 45 billion in 2014. Under the current EU financial framework (2014-2020) more than EUR 33 billion in grants has been allocated to rail investment.


At the end of 2014 about 900,000 people were employed by rail operators and infrastructure managers – a decrease of 4% compared to 2009. The workforce is predominately male and the proportion of workers over 40 is in many companies more than 50%. But after long recruitment freezes, rail companies have begun to recruit again.


The overall cost of the rail operations and infrastructure management was around EUR 110 billion of which 60% was covered by passenger and freight revenue, 30% by public subsidies to operations and network management, and the remainder by other sources of income (2012 data). On average, the split between infrastructure and operator costs in national rail systems is approximately 30%:70 %. Rolling stock fleet for both passenger and freight has been in decline since 2009. Passenger revenue has increased significantly, while total operating costs have remained broadly static in real terms.

Are low carbon vehicles an answer to pollution in cities?
20 Dec 2016:

Earlier this month, the mayors of four major cities – Paris, Mexico City, Athens, and Madrid – announced that they would implement a ban on diesel vehicles by 2025, in order to improve urban air quality.  With ongoing concerns about the environmental impact of emissions from petrol-powered cars, is this the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine?

In recent years, low carbon vehicles (LCVs) have become more commonplace on our roads. The UK is now the largest market in Europe for LCVs, but two factors still weigh heavily when consumers consider these vehicles: cost and range. There is a lot of research going on in this area, and one of the key areas of innovation to address this challenge will be the use of advanced materials.

For electric vehicles (EVs), one of the key challenges is to keep the weight of the vehicle as low as possible as the lighter the vehicle, the longer the range. EVs such as the BMW i3 use a lot of carbon fibre composites to reduce weight. However, this then increases the cost of the vehicle compared to a predominantly aluminium or steel vehicle.

Graphene is presented as the wonder material of tomorrow, but for LCVs, it is showing the potential to quintuple range compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries in the same space.

One of the key dates in the calendar for LCVs in the UK will be LCV 2017, taking place on 6 and 7 September. At this event, the Knowledge Transfer Network is once again planning to host the Advanced Materials Innovation Showcase.

There will be another opportunity for innovative SMEs with advanced materials solutions for the low carbon vehicle market to exhibit alongside their peers as part of the 2017 KTN stand.

The Advanced Materials Innovation Showcase aims to raise the awareness of grass roots innovation and potentially game-changing technologies being pioneered by UK-based SMEs and micro-enterprises.

As a participating company, you will have the opportunity to promote yourself to industry leaders — from Tier 1 and design engineers through to vehicle manufacturers.

At this stage, we are collecting expressions of interest. If you would be interested in exhibiting in the Advanced Materials Innovation Showcase at Low Carbon Vehicle 2017, please contact Ajay Kapadia for further details by Monday 16 January 2017.

MEPs want reformed ETS to include shipping and cut aviation cap
20 Dec 2016:

Members of the European Parliament want to include carbon emissions from shipping in the emissions trading system (ETS) and bring the cap on aviation emissions into line with other sectors, as part of a reformed ETS. The parliament’s environment committee voted to bring EU shipping emissions under the ETS from 2023 if the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) does not deliver a global deal by 2021. MEPs also voted for the cap on aviation carbon emissions to decline in line with other sectors and for a reduction in the number of free allowances, which airlines have been using to achieve windfall profits.

December's newsletter
13 Dec 2016:

December's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out: This month's edition announces the topics for the fifth and sixth TRIP Theme Analysis Reports, and also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.

Upcoming Theme Analysis Reports
13 Dec 2016:

TRIP's fifth and sixth Research Theme Analysis Reports will cover the subjects of cleaner transport and transport safety respectively. Work on these two analyses will begin in 2017 and culminate in the publication of new TRIP Theme Analysis Reports (you can view TRIP's existing reports here).

Submit your projects

If you are involved in transport research on the subject of transport safety or cleaner transport, make sure you upload a profile for your project to the TRIP portal. Your work will then be considered in TRIP's Europe-wide review, which will set out the current research landscape, existing barriers and recommendations to support future research and policy decisions. 

You can submit a project profile for your research here. If you have any questions about uploading your project or the upcoming research theme analysis reviews, please email the TRIP Helpdesk