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Road safety: New EU cross-border exchange of information helps police pursue traffic offences committed abroad
12 Dec 2016:

New EU rules have had a positive impact on tackling road traffic offences committed abroad: a report adopted today shows that the number of investigated offences committed by non-residents increased by four times to approximately 2 million between 2013 and 2015 in the Member States which have implemented the rules (By November 2016, 23 out of 28 EU Member States implemented the "Cross-Border Enforcement Directive" - the UK, Denmark and Ireland have a derogation and can implement the Directive by 6 May 2017; Finland and Portugal have yet to implement the Directive). The "Cross-Border Enforcement Directive" allows Member States, with the help of an electronic information system, to identify EU drivers who commit traffic offences abroad including the four "big killers" that cause 75% of road fatalities: speeding, running red lights, failure to use seatbelts and drink driving.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Our evaluation shows that, thanks to the new automatic exchange of information, offenders are less likely to get away with dangerous behaviour. This is very good news for the safety of our roads, and I call on Member States to make full use of the possibilities of the system."

The evaluation found that the electronic information system set up under the Directive provides for a speedy and secure exchange of vehicle registration data and does not generate unnecessary administrative burdens. However, the system is not yet used to its full potential. In 2015, approximately half of the detected road traffic offences committed by non-residents were not investigated.

Furthermore, the report suggests considering whether additional road safety related offences could be included in the scope of the Directive, such as not keeping sufficient distance from the vehicle in front, dangerous overtaking and dangerous parking.


/transport/file/com20160744enpdf_enReport on the application of Directive (EU) 2015/413 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences [COM(2016)744]
Report on the application of Directive (EU) 2015/413 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences [COM(2016)744]Search for available translations of the preceding link•••


/transport/file/swd20160355pdf_enCommission Staff Working Document on the evaluation of cross-border exchange of information on road traffic offences [SWD(2016) 355]
Commission Staff Working Document on the evaluation of cross-border exchange of information on road traffic offences [SWD(2016) 355]

Solar roads to be commercialised in 2018
09 Dec 2016:

Colas SA – owned by the French engineering group Bouygues – has announced plans to commercialise solar panel roads at the beginning of 2018.  

The technology has been developed over five years, and one hundred trial sites are currently being put in place.

Philippe Harelle, Chief Technology Officer at Colas SA’s Wattway unit, said: “We wanted to find a second life for a road... Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.”

Solar panels are increasingly being integrated into everyday materials such as roof tiles with companies such as Tesla, and building facades or pavements with Swedish Scania or American Solar Roadways.

The roads are formed from several layers of plastics which form a durable casing around a traditional solar panel, allowing them to hold the weight of heavy vehicles such as trucks.

An anti-slip surface made of crushed glass covers the installation.

Last October, the company started to build a one kilometre trial site in Tourouvre, a village in France.

According to Wattway, the installation, which involves 2,800 square metres of solar panels, will produce 280 KW at its peak.

The current issue is the price of the materials: one square metre of solar road costs between 2,000 and 2,500 euros - including monitoring, installation and data collection costs.

According to the company, the prices will be competitive with those of a solar farm by 2020.

The solar road will feed directly into the grid, feed charging points for electric vehicles, power a small hydrogen production plant and light electronic billboards.

Harelle said: “We need to test for all kinds of different traffic and climate conditions... I want to find the limits of it. We think that maybe it will not be able to withstand a snow plough.”

Wattway is planning on opening the next two trial sites in Calgary, Canada, and in the state of Georgia, US.

The company also has ambitions to build new solar roads in Africa, Japan and in various locations in Europe.

New central access point to all information on upcoming Road Transport Initiatives
08 Dec 2016:

A new web-based portal informs about the Commission's upcoming Road Transport Initiatives. In a spirit of transparency, it provides a single access point to all news and documents related to the initiatives. Users will also be able to track the progress of each initiative as it progresses through the legislative process.

Fuel cell electric bus project report provides tool for cities & bus operators
06 Dec 2016:

Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) – a fuel cell electric bus project – has launched a report intended to guide cities and bus fleet operators in understanding the reality of operating fuel cell buses.

The CHIC report entitled, “fuel cell electric buses: a proven zero emission solution. Key facts, results, recommendations” was launched today at the International Zero Emission Bus Conference in London, City Hall.

The report has been produced in order to provide cities and bus fleet operators with a guide in understanding the reality of operating fuel cell buses today, based on the intensive learnings and results of the CHIC project. Furthermore, the report also contains information about the environmental analysis and the social study results, and suggests some hints and options for the development of commercial strategies for the deployment of fuel cell electric buses.

Understanding the reality of operating fuel cell buses

As the deployment of fuel cell electric buses does not come without challenges associated to costs, technical availability of the buses and regulations/regulatory barriers, the report provides recommendations on how these challenges can be overcome through action by bus operators, technology providers and regional and national policy makers.

Commenting on the report, the European Public Private Partnership FCH JU Executive Director Bart Biebuyck said: “CHIC is an FCH JU flagship project and we are extremely proud to see that it did contribute to the commercialisation process of this technology. Thanks to CHIC, 26 fuel cell electric buses have been deployed throughout Europe driving public transport straight towards a new sustainable system. We need to further inform publics about fuel cell buses’ benefits and raising awareness in that respect is crucial. For this reason, the FCH JU is delighted to see the publication of the new CHIC report which is an excellent material to further communicate not only on the projects’ achievements but also to show the way for similar new initiatives.”

CHIC is a six year flagship zero emission bus project that deployed a fleet of fuel cell electric buses and hydrogen refuelling stations in cities across Europe and at one site in Canada. The project will end in December 2016.

The full report can be viewed here. Additional information for cities and operators is available on a newly launched website dedicated to fuel cell electric buses:

A smart city means an inclusive city
02 Dec 2016:

If a city is to be really intelligent, its priority needs to be on promoting equitable and affordable social infrastructure for all. And that includes people with disability

Like every year, December 3 will be a United Nations sanctioned International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD)The aim is to increase public awareness of the conditions of disabled people and, at the same time, to celebrate their achievements and contributions. IDPwD has been supported by the Australian Government since 1996 and today it’s celebrated all around the world.

This year’s theme is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”, which draws attention to how people with disability are excluded from society due to several types of barriers, including physical, information and communications technology (ICT) or attitudinal barriers.

In Europe there are almost 80 million people with mild or severe disabilities, either temporary or permanent. A real “intelligent” city must always strive for equitable and affordable access to social infrastructure for all, including disabled people.

The EU has set up a yearly Access City Award, to recognise and promote the progress of single cities in improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, elderly people, and those with reduced mobility or other temporary impairments. In 2016 Milan won this award for the improvements it made during the 2015 Expo World’s Fair event.

The city council and some local major associations that work with disabled people set out a package of measures that removed architectural barriers in public transport and infrastructure. Practical examples include “traffic lights for the blind, accessible bus and tram stops, new lifts connecting the underground with the train station and access ramps, pedal-assisted electric bike sharing for people with reduced mobility”, explains Pierfrancesco MajorinoMilan city councillor for social policies.

Milan is also one of the Lighthouse smart cities within the Sharing City project.

It was only last year in another city of north-west Italy, Turin, that a taxi refused the head of the Italian Paralympic Committee due to his wheelchairThe scandal hit the headlines. Now the city is collaborating with a European mobility consortium named Socialcar, “whose mission is to approach and manage urban and peri-urban shared mobility in an innovative way”, explains Maria Lapietra, city councillor for transport.

“The project is based on the interaction between social media and new ICT technologies allowing citizens to choose the most rapid, economic, comfortable, healthy and green way to move around the city. The initiative includes public transport, car-pooling, car sharing, taxi sharing and crowd sourcing. We expect this project to also have an impact on the transport of persons with disabilities as taxi sharing provides a valid and affordable alternative for these people”, she concludes.

One of the countries that stand out for their focus on smart mobility for disabled people is Spain. And one of the most active smart cities there is Valladolid. In 2014 it also joined the group of “lighthouse” cities as part of Remourban, a European project aimed at designing a sustainable urban model through the convergence of energy, mobility and ICT services.

Among the specific initiatives for people with disabilities, Angela Rivada from the Valladolid City Council mentions the creation of “an advanced ICT platform to inform and update users on the availability and location of parking slots and of charging stations for electric vehicles”. The VyP project, implemented since 2012 by Valladolid and the city of Palencia, “will also generate statistics indicating areas with higher car turnover, and a messaging system for checking the availability of such areas through mobile phones or emails and GPS technology”, Rivada says.

“Other initiatives have been carried out in Valladolid. This year we started S2City – Es tu ciudad aimed at facilitating access to public services for disabled citizens and tourists. This project will deploy beacons in the city and in public buildings to allow disabled people to locate, for example, disabled entrances to such premises. And disabled tourists will be able to download audio-guides to discover Valladolid”, she concludes.

A similar approach has been undertaken by the project Simon, an ICT platform for the mobility of impaired people aimed at helping them live more independently and engage better in society, for example when using public transport. The pilot cities in the initiative, Madrid in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, Parma in Italy and Reading in the UK have developed navigation systems able to inform people about accessibility to infrastructure and services. 


By Chiara Cecchi

UK Government pledges £290 million boost for low emission vehicles
01 Dec 2016:

UK Government committed to reducing carbon emissions from transport and aims for nearly all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050.

Thousands of buses and taxis will be made greener and cleaner after the Transport Secretary confirmed a £290 million investment to support low emission vehicles today (29 November 2016).

It reiterates the government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport and is a major step towards our aim for nearly all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050.

Improving air quality is a priority for this government and we are determined to cut emissions. We will invest £150 million in cleaner buses and taxis, which will include putting new, less polluting buses on the road as well as retrofitting engines to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOₓ) emissions.

The government has also pledged £80 million to improve charging infrastructure for electric vehicle owners. The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is now open for applications.

The £290 million funding will be invested in a number of projects, including:

  • £150 million for cleaner buses and taxis will provide better journeys and help tackle air quality challenges in our towns and cities

  • £80 million to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure

  • £20 million for an Advanced Renewable Fuel Demonstration Competition
    • this will provide grant funding, matched by the private sector, to build demonstration-scale advanced renewable fuel plants in the UK

    • this will target the decarbonisation of lorries and planes

A further £100 million will support our plans to develop and test connected and driverless vehicle technology.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

We are absolutely determined to reduce carbon emissions from transport as part of our ongoing commitment to tackle climate change.

This government is committed to improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities, which is essential for people’s health and the environment.

We are already making headway through our investment in low emission vehicles, greener public transport and walking and cycling, as well as grants for innovative advanced biofuels projects.

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said:

The £80 million investment in charging infrastructure is vital as growth in the UK electric car market continues to accelerate.

This is fantastic news for motorists and the continuation of incentives for plug-in vehicles through company tax and salary sacrifice schemes will give thousands more people the option of choosing the very lowest emitting cars and allow more businesses to benefit from adding electric vehicles to their fleets."

Commission presents a Strategy towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility
01 Dec 2016:

Today, the European Commission has adopted a European Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), a milestone towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility. The Strategy will make it possible to deploy vehicles that can talk to each other and to the infrastructure on EU roads as of 2019.

Digital connectivity is expected to significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency and comfort of driving, while boosting the market of cooperative, connected and automated driving and the related creation of jobs. The Strategy therefore delivers on the Commission's political priorities, notably its Agenda for Jobs, Growth and Investment, the Digital Single Market and the Energy Union Strategy.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "My ambition is to see connected and cooperative vehicles on European roads by 2019 and the Strategy we adopted today is a decisive step in that direction. It will create the necessary conditions for vehicles to communicate with each other and with the infrastructure. This will make our roads safer and reduce energy consumption. On the long-run, it will also help integrate automated vehicles in the transport system."

The main elements of the Strategy are the following:

  1. Avoid a fragmented internal market

  2. Define and support common priorities

  3. Use a mix of communication technologies

  4. Address security and data protection issues

  5. Develop the right legal framework

  6. Cooperate at international level

The Strategy foresees the adoption of the appropriate legal framework at EU level by 2018 to ensure legal certainty for public and private investors. It also addresses the availability of EU funding for research and development projects and international cooperation, such as at the G7 level, on all aspects related to cooperative, connected and automated vehicles.

It also involves continuous coordination, in a learning-by-doing approach, with the C-ROADS platform, which gathers real-life deployment projects in Member States. With the help of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), projects in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom have received funding.