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06 Feb 2017:

Climate changes such as steady increases in temperature and changing groundwater-levels will have an effect on the durability and functioning of rail infrastructure. UITP's latest report looks at how the rail sector shall adapt to these inevitable changes. 

Hurricane Sandy hit New York’s metro system in October 2012 with devastating force, destroying South Ferry Station, flooding tunnels and wreaking billions of dollars’ worth of havoc. It served as an extreme and tangible example of the devastating potential of climate change on public transport systems.

“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night," said Joseph Lhota, then chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) at the time. "Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots," he said.

Within a week, the subway was 80% operational.

Thankfully MTA’s foresight meant that precautions were taken to avoid even more devastating consequences: before the storm, MTA moved trains away from flood-prone areas and removed electric signals from tunnels. After the floods, the water was pumped out and the signals replaced. Within a week, the subway was 80% operational.

The effects of climate change are only set to increase the frequency and severity with which events like this occur, according to UITP’s latest report, ‘Urban rail, climate change and resilience’.

In addition to events such as in New York, less extreme and more gradual climate changes may go unnoticed but will still have an effect on the durability and functioning of rail infrastructure, such as steady increases in temperature, sunshine (UV exposure), seawater-level and changing groundwater-levels.

Building in resilience

Despite the sector’s extensive climate change mitigation efforts being made through the adoption of low carbon technologies, urban rail infrastructure will be significantly impacted, affecting the way that the sector plans, designs, constructs, operates and maintains its assets in the future.

A survey was designed to gather information about the potential impacts on different subsystems of rail infrastructure, possible measures to avoid disastrous effects in the future and measures to rapidly restore systems to normal service in case of damage. The survey feedback suggests that some rail companies are already taking measures with others planning to implements steps to avoid climate effects.

This report looks at how rail infrastructure shall adapt to the inevitable changes. It includes concrete measures that have been implemented among UITP’s rail company members, many of which have been confronted with major climate change-related disruption and damages in the last 10-15 years, as well as guidance for measures to take in the immediate-, short-, medium- and long-term.

The EU tackles growing aviation emissions
06 Feb 2017:

The Commission is amending the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) making it fit for tackling CO2 emissions from aviation. This comes following an agreement by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to stabilise international aviation emissions.

The European Union is a leading advocate for addressing fast-growing emissions from aviation. At the 2016 ICAO Assembly, the European Union and its Member States played an instrumental role in securing a deal on a global market-based measure to stabilise international aviation emissions. The system will require airlines to monitor and report their annual CO2 emissions on international routes and offset those exceeding 2020 levels.

Following this deal at global level, a revision of the EU Emissions Trading System is needed to maintain the contribution of the aviation sector to the European climate objectives and for the smooth implementation of the ICAO Global Market-Based Measure. The Commission is proposing to continue with the current geographic scope of the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation, covering flights between airports in the European Economic Area. This will ensure a level playing field and equal treatment of all airlines flying in Europe.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "With this proposal we are making sure that the aviation sector also contributes to our climate objectives. Now, we call on countries around the world to participate in the global scheme from the beginning and help us finalise and implement sound environmental criteria to deliver real emissions reductions in the aviation sector."

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Following ICAO's landmark agreement, the European Union is now focused on getting the global scheme up and running. We are serious about achieving carbon neutral growth for aviation, and we will provide technical and financial assistance to make it happen. Aviation is a global business and no country can be left behind!"

Today's proposal to revise the EU Emission Trading System will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, which are expected to finalise the co-decision process by the end of the year.


The future competitiveness of the European air transport sector and its environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand. One of the objectives of the Aviation Strategy for Europe adopted by the Commission in December 2015 is therefore to preserve and enhance high environmental standards.

Between 2013 and 2016, commercial airlines covered by the EU Emissions Trading System contributed to more than 65 million tonnes of CO₂ emission reductions. These reductions have taken place either within the sector or in other sectors of the economy. The levels of compliance are above 99.5% of covered emissions.

The detailed rules of the Global Market-Based Measure will be prepared in 2017 and endorsed by ICAO in the course of 2018. The Commission is contributing to this process, and will provide technical assistance where needed. Even if the scheme only starts from 2021, emissions data should be collected from 2019.

Once there is greater clarity on the implementation of the Global Market-Based Measure, the Commission intends to present a further assessment of the EU Emission Trading System and, as appropriate, make the necessary proposals to make the scheme operational. This will also take due account of the EU's commitment to reduce domestic economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Nine European countries launch a “Road Transport Alliance” in Paris to combat unfair competition
06 Feb 2017:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden got together in Paris on 31 January to launch an “Alliance du Routier” (Road Transport Alliance). Its aim is to combat unfair competition in road freight transport, starting with social dumping.

Road freight transport in Europe is currently facing unfair competition largely based on social dumping. In particular, the sector is the victim of sophisticated fraud and flouting of domestic market rules and the provisions of labour law.
Nine countries have launched the collective initiative in the hope of making faster headway in ensuring that road freight transport is carried out in healthy, fair competition between economic actors, and of guaranteeing workers’ social rights. It follows on from action already taken by several European countries over recent months with a view to promoting this goal in European bodies.

By launching the “Road Transport Alliance”, the nine countries concerned have today signed an 8-measure action plan with two key objectives:

  • Converging various national measures for application of European regulations in order to facilitate their application by operators and improve workers’ lives.

  • Improving monitoring practices on the basis of mutual experience and stepping up cooperation in order to combat fraud more effectively.


January newsletter
17 Jan 2017:

Happy New Year, TRIP’s January newsletter is out now This edition includes an invitation to TRIP's next stakeholder workshop on the subject of cleaner transport and provides information on the Transport Research Arena's call for papers. It also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.

£35m on offer for low-carbon transport research
16 Jan 2017:

A £35 million technology research and development fund has been released by the Advanced Propulsion Centre competition.

The competition was announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK on 12 January.

It is part of a strategy to develop commercial on-vehicle transport technologies for low-carbon vehicles. Technologies that primarily function off a vehicle, such as charging infrastructure, are not eligible for funding.

For a project to be eligible it must be based around at least one of five technologies:

  • Thermal propulsion systems.

  • Lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures.

  • Electric machines and power electronics.

  • Energy storage and energy management.

  • Alternative propulsion systems.

And to qualify it must also be able to demonstrate three key results:

  • Significant reductions in vehicle CO2 or other emissions.

  • Align with Automotive Council technology group roadmaps.

  • Develop the UK’s supply chain in low-carbon vehicle propulsion or light weight systems technology.

The government expects projects to range in size from £5m to £40m with a timescale of between 18 and 42 months. Projects are generally expected to begin two months after an application has succeeded.

As part of funding process, the scheme must be done collaboratively with at least one vehicle manufacturer and/or a tier 1 supplier and at least one SME partner.

At least 70% of the total eligible project costs must be taken on by the commercial organisations themselves. And no more than 50% can be public funding.

For the Treasury to release funds, the value for money of each project must also reach an “acceptable threshold” which is worked out by dividing the net benefit to the UK by the cost to the exchequer.

Non-UK based companies and research organisations are eligible to apply provided that before the project starting they have set up a UK base.

Applicants must register before midday on 29 March and the final deadline for applications is midday on 5 April.

In November, the government announced £390m for future transport technology by 2020/21 including driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy-efficient transport.


Towards an integrated European railway system: 4th Railway package approved on the market side
16 Jan 2017:

According to the new rules, railway companies will be able to offer their services for domestic rail routes in a more innovative, integrated and attractive way for the EU citizens. In particular:

  • Competitive tendering for public service will become the rule as from 2023. Contracts open to all EU rail operators should gradually become the standard procedure for selecting service providers. Better focus on customer services and cost efficiency are expected

  • Each company can offer commercial services on the European markets for rail passenger transport, as from December 2020. Member states could still restrict the new operator's right of access to certain lines and an objective economic analysis by the national regulator is insured.

What is the 4th railway package?

The 4th railway package contains measures aiming at reforming the rail transport sector in four key areas: Infrastructure governance; Opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail; Interoperability and safety; Social dimension. The final objectives are to:

  • deliver a more efficient, competitive, and less fragmented European railway system with better connections between the EU and its neighboring countries;

  • increase rail's capacity, efficiency, and attractiveness for customers;

  • encourage modal shift from road and air;

  • complete the circle of market opening already achieved in the freight, international passenger and other transport markets.

These new rules have also the purpose to encourage the use of rail transport which is one of most sustainable means of transport that would help reducing emissions in the EU (as outlined in the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper).

Transport Research Arena TRA 2018 in Vienna, 16-19 April 2018: Call for Papers now open! Submit your Abstract!
12 Jan 2017:

We would like to inform you that the call for papers for the coming Transport Research Arena - TRA 2018 in Vienna is now open. Please submit your abstract until March 21 2017!

Audience and Focus of TRA 2018:

TRA 2018 is an arena for researchers, scientists and engineers, companies and public authorities active in the field of transport. It welcomes policy makers and stakeholders framing research and transport policy.

 Key focus areas will be:

  • How digitalisation is transforming  transport & mobility systems

  • Decarbonisation & future growth – how to change our mobility system & remain competitive

  • Shaping the new mobility landscape – a vision for transport & mobility for Europe

The TRA 2018 programme includes a range of different session formats that will offer ample opportunity to share information on recent findings and to discuss the aforementioned challenges and opportunities. In scientific and technical sessions, a broad spectrum of research and innovation activities will be discussed, ranging from basic research findings over application-oriented engineering and socio-economic aspects to policies and standards.

CfP topics of TRA 2018 scientitfic and technical sessions:

  1. Environment and Energy Efficiency

  2. Vehicles & Vessels – Design, Development and Production

  3. Advanced Propulsion Systems

  4. Smart Urban Mobility & Logistics

  5. People Mobility – Systems and Services

  6. Freight Transport and Logistics

  7. Transport Infrastructure

  8. Connected and Automated Transport

  9. Digital Technologies for Transport

  10. Safe, Secure and Resilient Transport Systems

  11. Human Dimension in Transport

  12. Socio-Economics, Innovation and Policy

TRA 2018 modes:

  1. Road

  2. Rail

  3. Waterborne            

  4. Aviation       

  5. Cross-modal

  6. Not mode-specific

Important Dates:

21 December 2016     -                        Call for abstracts opens
21 March 2017            -                       Abstracts due
31 May 2017               -                       Abstracts review decision sent to authors
15 September 2017    -                       Full paper due
25 November 2017     -                       Full paper review decision sent to authors
16-19 April 2018          -                       7 th European Transport Research Arena, Reed Messe Wien, Vienna/Austria


For more details please see the attached document or consult the TRA 2018 website:  


Please note that also the 1st Call for Expression of Interest for the TRA 2018 Interactive Zone is already open. And have a look at the TRA Visions 2018 competitions launch. More information thereto in the first TRA 2018 newsletter.