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Commission welcomes the adoption of the first global CO2 standard for aircraft
14 Mar 2017:

The Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation - the United Nations agency responsible for international aviation - formally adopted the first ever CO2 standard for aircraft.

The EU and its Member States have been among the strongest and most active advocates of such standard, that will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the aviation sector. It will be gradually introduced as of 2020, with different stringency and applicably dates based on the weight of the aircraft and whether it concerns a "new type" aircraft or a "in-production aircraft". Alongside the future Global Market Based Measure, this standard will help tackle the emissions of the aviation sector, which is a priority area of the Aviation Strategy for Europe.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said "I welcome the adoption of the first ever CO2 standard for aircraft, as it could help save up to 650 million tonnes of CO2 by 2040 and contribute to a greener aviation sector. The EU was one of the strongest proponents of this standard and I am happy to see that our efforts and advocacy have paid off. Work is also on track to develop the Global Market Based Measure that was agreed last October. Europe will continue to play an active role in these discussions so that sustainability truly becomes part of the way we fly!"

REMOURBAN study tour set to take place in Nottingham on 23 March
13 Mar 2017:

Lighthouse project Remourban will be throwing its doors wide open this month when its first study tour takes place in lighthouse city Nottingham, UK.

Behind the tour is project partners Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Trent University – named UK’s greenest university –, and has been organised in cooperation with the Action Cluster on Integrated Planning of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities and the Smart Cities Information System.

The day will feature a series of workshops on topics such as smart city indicators, innovative business models and integrated planning for accelerating urban transition. And attendees from the European Commission, INEA and other Smart City lighthouse projects will be able to capture the realities of Remourban’s green endeavours in Nottingham’s Sneiton district and e-bus charging depot during the site visit.

This event marks the ever-closer collaboration among Lighthouse projects, which started in 2016 and currently involves 9 EU-funded projects representing more than 50 EU cities working to improving their ecosystems.  The Study Tour will host the ceremony of the signature of the Lighthouse Projects Cooperation Manifesto, a formal collaboration agreement among the Lighthouse Projects.

March's newsletter
08 Mar 2017:

March's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out now This month's edition includes information on TRIP's upcoming stakeholder workshop on the subject of cleaner transport, which will take place in Brussels in May. It also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.

Thermal cameras sweep the horizon as pirate scanners trialled
03 Mar 2017:

It looks like a standard radar screen, but the technology behind the red flashing dots that alert the crew of an ocean tanker to the presence of pirates is highly sophisticated.

Thermal cameras scan the seascape around a ship, while algorithms pick objects out on the horizon and determine whether they are fishing boats or pirate skiffs.

‘Pirates are desperate people,’ said Thomas Cane, a researcher with Britain’s maritime engineering consultancy BMT Group. And asking sailors to fight back isn’t really fair. ‘They were not trained to be soldiers and fighting back would … put them at greater risk.’

Approximately 90 % of the world’s goods are carried by sea, as the most reliable and cost-effective way to move cargo around the globe. But as with any thriving marketplace, the sea is a magnet for criminals who make millions of dollars for each ship they successfully hijack.

Somalia stands out in the recent history of piracy for a steep spike in incidents between 2009 and 2012 triggered by the political instability in the country. The International Maritime Bureau reported that of the 53 ships hijacked worldwide in 2010, 49 were sailing off the country's coast.

In the face of a growing threat affecting not just East Africa but many of the main marine routes, from West Africa to Southeast Asia, the shipping industry started seeking ways to defend itself.

he countermeasures devised during the Somali piracy crisis were creative, ranging from water cannons to irritating, foul-smelling slime that would force the pirates to drop their weapons and jump into the water.

And when the use of armed guards turned counter piracy into a proper battlefield, the international community agreed that practical, ethical and legal questions needed addressing.


The EU-funded IPATCH project, coordinated by Cane, was launched with the aim of building a real-time monitoring system incorporating thermal surveillance cameras to estimate the likelihood of an imminent pirate attack. It focuses on non-lethal measures and works by enhancing the radar already present on any standard ship.

Researchers piloted the new system in September last year, and are gearing up for a final demonstration on a commercial tanker in May.

The use of surveillance cameras is widely researched indoors and in urban environments, where everything is relatively stationary and the lighting conditions are favourable. But at sea 'everything is moving around and a lot of the methods available don't perform well in a maritime environment,' Cane explained.

However, now that the technology has been adapted for the sea, 'the components can also serve a variety of other purposes, such as protecting oil rigs from attacks, or monitoring ports and harbours either for security or traffic management,' he said.

The IPATCH surveillance system uses 45 different parameters, including speed and size of the vessel on the horizon, what else is nearby, what time of the year it is and what the weather is like.

To turn the various parameters into scenarios and suggest what countermeasures to deploy in any particular case, the system taps into a database developed within IPATCH which collates and analyses all the piracy incidents that happened over the past five years.

The database is the result of a joint effort between the IPATCH team and another counter-piracy initiative supported by the EU, PROMERC.

The project, which ended last year, had a similar objective – to collate information about how piracy works through the analysis of past incidents – but its focus was preventative. But while IPATCH developed a system to reduce risk for ships already at sea, PROMERC devised a new way of helping shipping companies plan safer journeys.

‘We wanted to support maritime operators in their decision-making process, and help them assess the effectiveness of possible counter measures,’ says Professor Nikitas Nikitakos, at the University of the Aegean, in Greece, and a partner of the project.

Moon phase

First the team worked on route optimisation, which is usually done ashore by the shipping company. The risk maps they produced offered a glimpse into the future perils of each journey. By assessing factors such as moon phase, visibility, location and environmental conditions, an automated tool generated a recommended route which is as safe and as cost-effective as possible.

As in the case of the IPATCH real-time monitoring system, this voyage planner is underpinned by reliable data on how pirates operate. The researchers created a dashboard that allows users to assess the effectiveness of any given counter-piracy measure through a series of filters and switches.

For example, a user may look for a defence measure that will work in broad daylight and can be installed before the start of the journey. The system will work out which measures meet both the criteria and return a suggestion.

It also includes a system that allows a ship’s captain to choose the best non-lethal countermeasures to stop pirates getting aboard.

‘Piracy has negative ramifications in many different sectors,’ said Prof. Nikitakos. ‘It disrupts continuous shipping trade paths, it creates social problems when people are captured and ransoms have to be negotiated.’

Cyrus Mody, assistant director at the International Maritime Bureau, who was not involved in the project, agrees that better data and sophisticated technology are vital to plan and deploy the right assets, ensuring better value for money.

‘Piracy is a crime which is as fluid as the water on which it is committed,’ he said. ‘The criminals can easily move from one jurisdiction into another, while response agencies do not have this flexibility’, as organisations such as local law enforcement authorities need the proper permissions to enter the jurisdiction of another sovereign state.

Mody believes that ‘to facilitate a better response, information needs to be shared in a timely manner between the correct agencies,’ and having one point of access to the most updated knowledge on piracy incidents could be a gamechanger for marine security.

Stuttgart in Germany to ban diesel cars during times of high air pollution
01 Mar 2017:

The city of Stuttgart in Germany will impose bans on diesel vehicles during periods of high-pollution beginning in 2018, according to state officials. 

The measure was announced by officials of the state of Baden-Württemberg, of which Stuttgart is the capital, on Tuesday 21 February.

The ban in Stuttgart – often dubbed Germany’s worst city for smog – is intended to reduce diesel emissions that are harmful to human health.

Only diesel vehicles that do not comply with the 2014 Euro 6 emissions standards will be affected by the ban.

However, currently only around 1 in 10 diesel vehicles in Germany meet the Euro 6 standards, as a result the vast majority of diesel cars will be prohibited during times where pollution levels are particularly high.

Germany has been warned by European Union regulators on numerous occasions in recent years over its relatively high air pollution levels recorded in some regions, which are believed to be primarily caused by the widespread use of diesel cars in the country.

In fact, the European Commission has issued warnings and threatened fines after exceptional air pollution levels were recorded in 28 regions, including in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne.

The measure comes days after London announced it would introduce a ‘Toxicity Charge' (T-Charge) of £10 for the capital's most polluting vehicles, coming into effect on October 23 2017.

Furthermore, Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens have all announced plans to impose a complete ban on diesel vehicles by 2025.

European Commission reveals sustainable mobility city champions
27 Feb 2017:

he European Commission has revealed the finalists of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2016 and 5thSustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) Award on urban freight. The winners of the two awards will be announced by Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport and by Daniel Calleja, Director General of DG Environment during an award ceremony to be held in Brussels on 20 March 2017.


The finalists are Lisbon (Portugal), Malmö (Sweden) and Skopje (former Yugoslav  Republic of Macedonia). Lisbon scored well for making its public space available to pedestrians, while Malmö’s main focus was on bicycles as a sustainable means of transport. The jury also pointed out the car-pooling service in Skopje helping its residents save money and protect the environment.

The following cities were also shortlisted:

  • Białystok (Poland)

  • Kruševac (Serbia)

  • Palma (Spain)

  • Prague (Czech Republic)

  • Samos (Greece)

  • Sofia (Bulgaria)

  • Valencia (Spain)

Shortlisted candidates display a long-term vision with strong communication and public involvement. They have an integrated approach and strategy for rewarding sustainable transport behaviour by the general public. The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award aims to showcase local authorities that demonstrate significant efforts in promoting sustainable urban mobility. The 15th edition of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK took place from 16 to 22 September 2016 and a total of 2,427 towns and cities – the highest participation rate ever– organised activities in line with the campaign's annual theme: ‘Smart and sustainable mobility – an investment for Europe’ under the call-to-action ‘Smart mobility. Strong economy.

An independent panel of mobility and transport experts has shortlisted 10 candidates and selected 3 finalists out of a total of 63 applications from 23 different countries.

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning Award

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning Award (SUMP) aims to reward local authorities that have succeeded in developing a mobility plan addressing the diverse transport needs of people and businesses and, at the same time, improving quality of life. The 5thSUMP Award on urban freight focuses on integrating the movements of goods and services in sustainable urban mobility planning.

The jury appointed three cities as finalists of the 5thSUMP Award on urban freight. These cities captured the attention of the jury: Brussels (Belgium) impressed the jury with its innovative logistics schemes; Budapest (Hungary) stood out for successfully integrating freight transport within the overall mobility strategy; and Stockholm (Sweden) was appreciated for its strategy stimulating the local economy while limiting the adverse impact of urban freight. The jury also acknowledged high quality applications from Berlin (Germany), Naples (Italy), Piatra Neamt (Romania) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).


Last year, Murcia (Spain) received the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for its success in terms of multimodality and intermodality of transport. Malmö (Sweden) won the 4thSUMP Award for its efforts in terms of multimodality and intermodality in sustainable urban mobility planning. Promotional videos of the two winners are available below.

To learn more on how the European Commission supports cities and promotes sustainable urban mobility take a look at the urban mobility package and further Commission support:

Volvo to launch its first 100% electric vehicle in 2019
23 Feb 2017:

Volvo has announced that its first all-electric vehicle is coming in 2019 with battery packs up to 100 kilowatt hours (kWh).

The Swedish car manufacturer first announced its commitment to electrifying its products back in 2015 but it was not until last week at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego last week, that Mats Anderson – Senior Director of Electric Propulsion Systems – confirmed the launch.

The vehicle will be Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle and its third plug-in – adding to the already released XC90 and the planned release of another plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2018 – according to Anderson. 

The pure-electric model will have a 100 kWh battery pack with an estimated 300 miles of range – depending on the vehicle’s efficiency.

Volvo’s plug-in XC90 has been largely well-received, competing well against other PHEVs on the market including the Mitsubishi Outlander.

It is hoped that the impending release of its first all-electric vehicle will build on that success.

In addition, the manufacturer plans to accumulate a global fleet of up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally, according to Anderson.

Anderson commented: “We are committed. There is no way back.”

The news follows the announcement that Ford – in partnership with Transport for London – is launching a year-long trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans.

Meanwhile, BMW and Nissan have partnered to expand the DC fast charger network across the U.S. with 174 new locations.