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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.

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.