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UK and Scottish governments announce historic agreement on maritime safety
01 Dec 2016:

UK and Scottish governments agree how the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will work with Scottish government.

The UK and Scottish governments have today (29 November 2016) agreed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which sets out how the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will consult with Scottish government ministers about the agency’s strategic priorities in Scotland.

The MoU outlines the agreement between the two governments to give Holyrood ministers a greater say on the MCA’s strategic priorities within Scotland. The change was a recommendation of the Smith Commission, which looked at the devolution of more powers to Holyrood, and was brought into effect through the Scotland Act 2016.

UK Maritime and Shipping Minister John Hayes said:

Our Maritime and Coastguard Agency works across the UK, to keep people safe in the waters of our island nation. This is a historic occasion which shows the UK and Scottish governments working together to prevent loss of life and pollution on the coast and at sea.

The MoU also covers the appointment of a Scottish government representative to the MCA advisory board and confirmation that the MCAwill submit reports to and appear before committees of the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish government Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said:

I welcome the signing of this MoU, which promotes a closer working relationship between the Scottish government and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

It represents an important step forward in implementing the Smith Commission proposals around the maritime sector, requiring UKministers to consult with the Scottish government on any key changes to the strategic direction of the MCA in relation to its operations in Scotland.

I would also like to reflect on the work of the agency and its many volunteer Coastguard Rescue Teams around Scotland that make vital contributions to the safety of mariners and the public working around and enjoying our coastlines. I look forward to seeing the MoU operate into the future.

The MCA is responsible for maritime search and rescue and maritime safety standards for the whole of the UK. It has coastguard operations centres in Aberdeen, Stornoway and Shetland, marine offices in Aberdeen and Glasgow and search and rescue helicopter bases in Prestwick, Inverness, Stornoway and Sumburgh (Shetland).

This is another milestone in the transfer of new powers from Westminster to Holyrood under the Scotland Act 2016, which delivered in full the recommendations of the Smith Commission.

The act, which includes the transfer of significant tax and welfare powers, makes the Scottish Parliament one of the most powerful devolved legislatures in the world.

Crucially, these powers are being transferred while maintaining the benefits of being part of a strong United Kingdom, for the people of Scotland.

Scotland has 2 governments, each with different but complementary responsibilities, and it is vital that they continue to work closely together in the national interest. This is an excellent example of that collaborative work, to ensure a safe and secure transfer of powers.

November's newsletter
15 Nov 2016:

November's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out: This month's edition includes a review of our transport security workshop in Brussels on 10 November, information on the inclusion of KEEP projects in the portal and our usual features - project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.

UK must invest in skills for emerging transport technology
15 Nov 2016:

The UK must close emerging skills gaps in the transport sector, or risk relegating itself to the back of the pack for decades in a global transport technology race – according to a new report. If no action is taken across the entire skills pipeline, an estimated £50 billion in GDP per annum could be lost.

The report is a call to action for government, academia and industry to invest in a skills strategy that enables the UK to achieve global industry leadership in the rapidly growing field of ‘Intelligent Mobility’ which is forecast to grow to £900 billion per annum by 2025.

New technology such as self-driving vehicles and changing business models (such as the sharing economy), coupled with growing digital capabilities, will herald a new age in transport. This new landscape offers enormous export, productivity improvement and job opportunities for those who have the right skills to prosper.

However, while a technology transformation is taking place, the labour market needs to be enhanced with new skills if it is to lead to new jobs and economic growth for Great Britain.

TSC CEO Steve Yianni commented:

“Previous investment in skills development and innovation in our leading aerospace or automotive sectors has helped produce world beating industries. However, we now stand on the brink of a transport revolution driven by a new generation of technology.

This digital revolution is fundamentally changing the labour market. Rapid improvements in autonomous systems and artificial intelligence are enabling the automation of a broader range of non-routine manual tasks. With improved sensing technology being developed in the field of robotics, jobs in transportation and logistics could become fully automatable. However, there are also enormous opportunities to create new, highly skilled jobs within the industry as we develop these new products and services.”

TSC Skills Programme director Yolande Herbath added:

“None of our international competitors are being complacent. American federal investment is doubling to help bring these technologies to the commercial market and we are seeing initiatives in places like Germany to prepare economies for this change.

Today we have a unique opportunity to develop a labour force capable of competing in an emerging £900bn global transport technology economy. But if we don’t act, we risk relegating ourselves to the back of the pack for decades.”

MP for Milton Keynes South Iain Stewart said:

“The TSC’s Intelligent Mobility Skills Strategy provides a timely insight into the future of a transport labour market transformed by the rapid development and deployment of new technologies. The UK must now seize the moment to secure a pivotal role in this transformation – by future proofing our work force to ensure we continue to be global leaders in the field of transport.”

Key findings in the Intelligent Mobility Skills Strategy:

• The UK faces a potential skills gap of 742,000 people by 2025.

• ‘Disruptive’ high value digital skills are in short supply.

• Transport industry experts strongly prefer higher degree apprenticeships.

• The potential lost opportunity cost to UK GDP is £50 billion per annum.

• An integrated range of interventions is needed to address the skills shortfall. The industry and research participants agreed that no single intervention will address the shortfall in IM skills.

• Proactive efforts need to be made to attract women to the industry.

• The UK can adopt rapid, novel, low cost international interventions.

New study suggests tramways have a smaller carbon footprint than BRT systems
10 Nov 2016:

Results of a new study suggest over a 30-year period, a tramway system emits about half as much CO2 as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system operated with diesel buses.

The study compares the carbon footprint of tramways and BRT systems in order to generate a better understanding of their comparative performance over the entire lifecycle including construction, operation and maintenance of the two systems. An analysis conducted on a typical 10 km line operated in Belgium demonstrated that for equivalent transport capacity, over a 30-year lifetime, a tramway system emits about half as much CO2 as a BRT system operated with diesel buses, and about 30% less CO2 than a BRT system operated with hybrid buses.

Commenting on the results, Julien Blanc, associate director of Carbone 4, said: “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation is both a key issue and an exciting challenge. It should be achieved through relevant urban planning, energy efficiency, clean energy and of course modal shift. Tramways are of course part of the solution and these infrastructures will benefit from all the improvements in ‘cleaning’ the electricity mix.”

With global urban transport emissions expected to double to nearly 1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by 2025, favouring transport modes with the lowest carbon footprints is crucial in order to reach targets set at COP21 in 2015.

Cécile Texier, Sustainable Development Director at Alstom, said: “At Alstom, we are constantly working to promote sustainable mobility, striving to reduce the operational cost from energy for the benefit of our customers and committed to reducing the carbon footprint of transport. The survey conducted with Carbone 4 illustrates that rail systems have a lower carbon footprint that other motorised modes. It also shows that optimised system like Attractis, an innovative integrated tramway system that is simpler to operate and cost-effective, can significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the construction phase.”

Road safety: EU research project DRUID receives Widmark Award
08 Nov 2016:

The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety(ICADTS) has honored the EU research project DRUID (Driving Under Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines) with its Widmark Award.

DRUID (2007-2011) has been financed within the 6th EU Framework Programme and was co-ordinated by the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt). The project aimed to determine the scope of the problem of driving under influence of alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines in Europe and to develop and evaluate targeted countermeasures. Up to now DRUID is the largest European research project on driving under influence in terms of geographic coverage (17 EU Member States and Norway), budget (23.5 Mio. €) and the number of research institutions involved (37). DRUID comprised roadside surveys in 13 European countries. In these road surveys almost 50 000 drivers were stopped at random and asked to provide samples of body fluids (blood, saliva). To determine the risk of driving under influence of psychoactive substances, the data of these roadside surveys was compared to the data of nearly 4 500 drivers seriously injured or killed in accidents.

DRUID showed that the highest risk of getting seriously injured or killed in an accident is associated with high blood alcohol concentration (≥ 1.2 g/L) and with alcohol combined with other psychoactive substances. The project established standards on drugged driving research which are since that broadly internationally applied. Moreover a number of evidence based policy recommendations, particularly with regard to enforcement, and driver rehabilitation were developed.

ICADTS is an influential independent nonprofit body whose goal is to reduce mortality and morbidity brought about by misuse of alcohol and drugs by operators of vehicles in all modes of transport. The Widmark Award was established in 1965 in honor of Professor Erik M.P. Widmark, who did comprehensive research on the pharmacology of alcohol. Widmark Awards honor those who have made an outstanding, sustained and meritorious contribution to the field that has led to international standing and respect.

Over €200 million awarded to Horizon 2020 transport and energy projects
03 Nov 2016:

40 transport and energy research projects will receive €208 million in total from the EU's Horizon 2020 programme to make European transport greener, safer and more efficient, as well as to bring to market affordable, cost-effective and resource-efficient energy solutions.

The selected energy projects cover such areas as ocean, wind and geothermal energy, renewable energy sources, photovoltaics, carbon capture and storage, concentrated solar power and biofuels but also social studies that help advance the market uptake.

The awarded transport projects cover air and road transport, as well as cross-cutting priorities for greener urban transport.


Transport Scoreboard 2016: the EU at work to strengthen the internal market
02 Nov 2016:

The European Commission has published the 2016 edition of the "EU Transport Scoreboard", a benchmark which compares how Member States perform in 30 categories covering all aspects of transport.

The objective of the Scoreboard is to help Member States identify areas requiring priority investment and action.  It shows how the EU further deepens the internal market in transport and promotes the shift towards low-emission mobility, two priorities of the Juncker Commission.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said "My objective is to have a high quality, decarbonised, fully integrated and efficient transport system. The scoreboard serves as a road sign on this journey, pointing the way and indicating the distance still to be covered. It is a useful tool for us, for Member States, and for stakeholders, to identify where we do well and where further investment and actions are needed. It is particularly encouraging to see that the efforts of this Commission to bridge the investment gap in the transport sector are starting to bear fruit."

The Netherlands tops the Scoreboard for the third year running with high scores in 15 categories, followed by Sweden, Germany and Austria. While they have different strengths, they all share a solid framework for investment, good transport safety scores, and a good record of implementing EU law.

The main findings:

1. Low emission mobility

There is progress across the EU towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility (for example in the share of renewable energy for transport and in the number of new cars using alternative fuels). However, levels are still low and the fact that some Member States are clear front-runners shows the potential to accelerate the shift towards low-emission mobility. To this end, the Commission adopted a European Strategy for low-emission mobility in July 2016

2. Infrastructure

Investment in transport infrastructure takes time to show effects. However, some positive effects of investment can be seen in the perceived quality of transport infrastructure. This will become more pronounced in the coming years with additional investment, especially through the Connecting Europe Facility and the Commission's Investment Plan for Europe

3. People

  • Consumer satisfaction with all modes of transport (urban, rail, air) has increased across Europe. This suggests that people's needs are understood and that the right investment decisions are being taken.

  • The number of road deaths is stagnating. While European roads remains by far the safest in the world, Member States need to intensify efforts in order to reach the 2020 target of halving the number of road deaths.

  • The number of women employed in the transport sector is increasing, but the overall share of women remains low. Action to get more women into transport a job is needed at all levels, the Commission is considering adequate initiatives.

The Scoreboard brings together data from a variety of public sources (such as Eurostat, the European Environment Agency and the World Economic Forum). It can be consulted either by country or by topic (Internal Market, Investment and Infrastructure, Energy Union and Innovation, People).