Harmonising approaches to road research European road research conferences have brought a wealth of information to the sector. They have also helped the continent bring together all parties involved in the field. Climate Change and Environment © Shutterstock Road transport research in Europe is crucial for improving road safety, upgrading transportation systems and addressing environmental concerns. The 'Third European Road Research Conference' (ERRC3), fully funded by the EU, has provided an important platform to outline road research requirements, building synergies among research initiatives and stakeholders. Held in 2005, the conference paved the way for the Transport Research Arena (TRA) 2006 to support a sustainable, safer and more efficient road transport system in Europe. During the ERRC3, leading experts outlined the needs in road research using practical examples and identified the latest trends regarding research in this area. The presentations and panel discussions during the three-day event showed how emphasis has shifted from individual technology-oriented projects to a more holistic programme. The conference also stressed the importance of involving end users in the implementation process. ERRC3 gathered participation from five different Directorates-General of the EU (under the themes of transport, research, information society, environment and enterprise), demonstrating the importance of the subject for Europe. This has fostered development of the European Research Area (ERA) in relation to road transport, focusing strongly on research needs and assessing resources. Another interesting research aspect of the conference related to addressing the increasing growth of roads and highways in and around towns and cities. Also noteworthy is participation by the road infrastructure industry at the conference, demonstrating its desire to develop and test new techniques and innovations and paving the way for public private partnerships. All this networking and exchange has the potential to profoundly impact future innovation and research, priming countries to develop a more harmonised road research approach under the ERA.