Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commission begins work on train of the future and transport intermodality

The inaugural meetings of the two Commission Task Forces created to develop the "train of the future" and improve interconnections between different forms of transport (intermodality), were held in December 1995. Participants included not just the transport industry, but also ...
The inaugural meetings of the two Commission Task Forces created to develop the "train of the future" and improve interconnections between different forms of transport (intermodality), were held in December 1995. Participants included not just the transport industry, but also consumer groups and unions who have given their whole-hearted backing to this new Commission approach to research and development.

With the cooperation of all interested parties, the Commission expects to compile a comprehensive inventory of all R&D projects underway or planned, pinpoint possible synergies and establish a priority list of projects suitable for fast-track development.

With regard to train travel in Europe, only 15% of passenger traffic and 10% of freight travels by train. Trains are seen as expensive and inflexible. Among the aims of the Task Forces, is the development of the "50% train": a train that is 50% cheaper, costs 50% less to maintain and will be used 50% more. Research will also begin on the next generation of high-speed trains, on energy efficient light-rail vehicles such as super trams, and on "silent" freight trains that can be rapidly loaded and unloaded.

Trends in road and air transport point to greater congestion, pollution, wasted time and money, dangers to health and the environment. If traffic is to keep moving, the planning and investment in transport infrastructures and facilities must be better coordinated, urban transport improved and the connections between different transport modes made more efficient.

Through the Transport Intermodality Task Force, the Commission will try to ensure that, in the future, the divisions between transport modes are broken down so that journeys can be made door-to-door across an integrated transport system. Telematics research will be harnessed to provide better information systems. Future possibilities include a special "smart" card tailored to a multi-ticketing system which will make it technically possible to book a through journey on a variety of transport modes across Europe, pay for it and, using the same card, print a personalized through-ticket showing all the journey details.

Individuals, firms and other corporate bodies concerned by developments in the transport sector are invited to make written submissions, to the European Commission, on areas covered by the action plans proposed by the Task Forces (see RCN 5154 and RCN 5105).

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-parole
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