Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The role of research in transport policy

Mr. Neil Kinnock, European Commissioner responsible for transport policy, outlined his ideas for research on transport in the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, in a speech to the Community's Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee (IRDAC), in Brussels, on 24 Octobe...
Mr. Neil Kinnock, European Commissioner responsible for transport policy, outlined his ideas for research on transport in the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, in a speech to the Community's Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee (IRDAC), in Brussels, on 24 October 1996.

Mr. Kinnock picked up on IRDAC's opinion on the Fifth Framework Programme, in which the Committee calls for a specific programme on generic technologies for mobility. He said that he considered their emphasis on research with a broader "mobility" perspective rather than a narrower "transport" perspective to be "entirely positive". "Mobility is obviously central to modern social and economic activity", he said.

The Commissioner agreed with the IRDAC opinion that research should focus on solving problems. In particular, mobility must be considered globally and research should contribute to making mobility more sustainable, not just more plentiful. Research on mobility should be aimed at the integration of existing technologies, although the development of new technologies might be appropriate. "Research should relate directly to the changing requirements of industry and people", and should be pragmatic, he said.

A number of problems in relation to transport systems, and particularly the road network exist in Europe today. Many of these stem from the limits of capacity of infrastructure having been reached, and include pollution, congestion, and accidents. In total, these have a negative cost equivalent to 4% of the EU's GDP (gross domestic product). With Member States unable or unwilling to invest in infrastructure on the scale of the past, new policies and practices are required. According to Mr. Kinnock, there is a clear and essential role for well-planned and cogent research in these.

In the framework of the trans-European networks, a number of telematic tools have been deployed, he said. In applications such as traffic management by satellite, harmonized railway train management, and telematic systems to manage road traffic (including road pricing), Europe has the means to equip itself with intelligent transport systems, but only if the political will is there, according to the Commissioner. Furthermore, by ensuring that research priorities reflect true needs and requirements, the Community can ensure that research is related to user demand, and likely to have a reasonable chance of commercial success.

Commissioner Kinnock raised two further points from the IRDAC opinion. Firstly he suggested that European researchers must increasingly cooperate with their counterparts from other advanced countries, including the US, Japan and Canada. This is particularly so for key strategic developments in transport systems. As regards the dissemination of research results, he noted that the results of publicly-funded research must be visible. He agreed with IRDAC that there should not be a specific programme for dissemination and exploitation of results, but that these functions should be integrated in each programme.

He concluded by giving a number of examples of applications for which Community-funded research would be vital:

- European rail traffic management system;
- Maritime black box technology;
- Strategic environmental impact assessments.

The contribution of research, and the differences made, to these systems has to be demonstrated, and the effective dissemination of results would be critical for that, he said.

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-parole
DE FR

Related information

Programmes

Subjects

Policies - Transport
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top