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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

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.