As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at the EU-funded transport projects to have hit the headlines in 2015.
The EU-funded research project 3iBS (intelligent, innovative, integrated bus system) came to an end in March 2015. In three years, it succeeded in increasing efficiency gains, improving the image of the bus, and identifying a five-point action plan to improve bus systems in European cities. The project also carried out a study on the current state-of-the-art and future trends of bus systems in Europe.
Still in March, the OSIRIS (Optimal Strategy to Innovate and Reduce energy consumption In urban Rail System) EU-funded research project, in which UITP was a key partner, came to a close. The project helped measure and validate the energy consumption of rolling stock. Its findings are already helping European rail operators reduce their energy bills by 10% and the environmental impact of their operations.
May saw the launch of the IT2Rail (Information Technologies for SHIFT TO RAIL) project, a first step towards achieving the objectives of the long term IP4 -“IT Solutions for Attractive Railway Services”. IT2Rail aims at raising the attractiveness of rail travel and facilitating the access to a complete customised multimodal travel offer. IT2Rail will support the development of innovative digital technologies solutions to enable seamless travel experiences between transport modes in a door-to-door approach. The first and last mile of long distance journeys will never be the same again.
Attended by more than 2,200 delegates and 280 exhibitors, the UITP World Congress & Exhibition in Milan was the launchpad for the EBSF_2 (European Bus Systems of the Future 2) project to drive innovations and demonstrations in novel bus technologies. “Bus systems offer a huge potential to attract new public transport customers and promote low-carbon and resource-efficient mobility” stated Alain Flausch, the UITP Secretary General, at the EBSF_2 Launch Event,.
The same month saw the kick off of ELIPTIC (Electrification of public transport in cities), an electrification of public transport in cities project. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 Work Programme, it will seek to develop new use concepts and business cases to optimise electric infrastructure and rolling stock so as to save money and energy.
In June, the new SETRIS (Strengthening European Transport Research and Innovation Strategies) project for the very first time federated all the major transport related European Technology Platforms (ETPs) into one single collaborative initiative. The launch event took place in Brussels, where all the ETPs were represented and triggered a productive discussion about the following steps and strategic goals to achieve. SETRIS aims to produce a cohesive and collaborative approach to innovation and research strategies for all transport modes at the European level.
The research project ZeEUS (Zero Emission Urban Bus System) launched an e-bus observatory, which aims to follow the evolution of urban bus system electrification around the globe. Since this moment, a growing circle of cities has been joining the ZeEUS Observatory to exchange ways of introducing high capacity electric buses throughout their networks.
The Final Conference of the EU-funded NODES (New Tools for the Design and Operation of Urban Transport Interchanges) project presented the fruit of all its hard work - an online 'toolbox' to assess and improve different elements of public transport interchanges.
The NGTC (Next Generation of Train Control Systems) EU-funded research project presented its work to an audience of experts from Europe and beyond during its Mid-term Conference. Discussions looked into the progress made on a range of topics from the harmonisation of both ETCS & CBTC systems and their different functional requirements, to the issue of IP-based radio communications, as well as enhanced and unified Moving Block principles.
The first User Forum meeting of the ELIPTIC project in November saw 6 UITP Members (RET Rotterdam, RATB Bucharest, Oradea Local Transport, CTM Spa Cagliari, EMT Madrid and Transport Infrastructure Ireland) join the ELIPTIC project as twin cities with the goal of speeding up the development of electrification of public transport in European cities. The aim of the endeavour is to transfer the knowledge of successful measures from ELIPTIC partner cities to twin cities for subsequent implementation.
The last Viajeo PLUS City Showcase took place in Singapore. It was organized by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and ERTICO – ITS Europe, with the strong support of the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA). The Viajeo PLUS City Showcase aimed at facilitating knowledge exchange between Singapore and Europe on innovative and efficient urban mobility solutions. It gathered acity representatives, policy makers, technology providers and researchers to present their achievements mainly on electric mobility, automated transport systems, ITS, and infrastructure and mobility management.
The end of the year finished on a high note with the presentation of the results of the UITP Regional and Suburban rail market study done in the framework of the FOSTER RAIL (Future of Surface Transport Research Rail) project. It shows that 90% of all European railway users are recorded in regional and suburban services. Cross-border and high-speed trains may be the excellence showcase of railways, but the less spectacular business of carrying nearly 9 billion passengers every year is a critical responsibility to ensure economic development, social cohesion and sustainable mobility.
The running demonstrations have already allowed to gather some promising data, which will be published at a later stage of the project
The ZeEUS project finishes the year with a half of the Core Demonstrations in operation: Barcelona (ES), Stockholm (SE), London (UK), Münster (DE) and Plzen (CZ). In this way the project entered the evaluation phase in order to assess the feasibility of introducing high capacity electric bus from different aspects: economic, operational, social and environmental. “The running demonstrations have already allowed to gather some promising data, which will be published at a later stage of the project”, revealed the UITP-coordinator Umberto Guida.
The EU Projects Team at the UITP would like to thank you for the year gone by and look forward to collaborating with you in the New Year. In the meantime, we wish you all very Happy Holidays.