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Transport research contributes to building European transport networks

Cooperation in transport research and development and coordination in the development and deployment of intelligent transport systems will be two of the EU's main priorities as it works to extend its transport networks into neighbouring countries in the next 20 years.

The Com...
Cooperation in transport research and development and coordination in the development and deployment of intelligent transport systems will be two of the EU's main priorities as it works to extend its transport networks into neighbouring countries in the next 20 years.

The Commission's "Action Plan for a pan-European transport networks partnership" (COM(97) 172), which is to be presented to the Pan-European Transport Conference in Helsinki on 23 June 1997, sets out five priorities for action. These are:

- Establishing and developing the pan-European transport corridors and areas as the framework for links with all the EU's neighbours;
- Preparing the extension of the trans-European transport networks (TENs) to the applicant countries;
- Promoting interoperability and standardization in the use of technologies in the development of transport networks;
- Promoting the use of intelligent transport systems;
- Developing pan-European cooperation in transport research and development.

These priorities reflect the Union's internal transport policy priorities in a number of areas, and in particular maintain the goals of developing safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly transport systems for people and goods. The networks to be developed will not only connect the EU with its immediate neighbours in Central and Eastern Europe, but will also link it with the countries of the former Soviet Union and the Mediterranean.

In respect of interoperability, the Commission aims to increase the involvement of neighbouring third countries in developing the technical standards necessary to maximize network interoperability by promoting their participation in the appropriate regulatory bodies. Interconnection and interoperability are considered a top priority, in particular for the applicant countries.

The deployment of intelligent transport systems represents significant value for money through greatly increasing the networks' existing capacity at much lower costs than adding to physical infrastructure. The Commission supports the extension of a number of systems, some of which are global rather than limited to the EU, to the neighbouring countries. A number of such systems exist or are under development, including navigation systems, freight management systems, and applications specific to individual transport modes.

Research on transport at EU level within the Fourth Framework Programme is mainly concentrated in two specific programmes - the Transport RTD programme and the Transport sector of the Telematics Applications programme. The Transport programme, with a budget of ECU 256 million over the four years 1994-1998, has the general objectives of strategic research for a trans-European multimodal network and network optimization. The Transport sector of the Telematics Applications programme, with a budget of ECU 219 million over the same period, aims to develop, demonstrate and validate telematics applications which provide enhanced services to transport users through improved efficiency, safety and environmental quality. Research in both of these programmes may concern any or several modes of transport.

Several of the research/industry task forces, established by the Commission in 1995, aim to increase coordination in research efforts in the transport field. The transport intermodality, trains and railway systems of the future, maritime systems, car of the future and aeronautics task forces all have the aim of focusing research in these areas on creating more efficient and environmentally friendly means of transport.

Thus far, participation in projects under these programmes by entities from the Central and Eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union has been limited, although interest has risen with each call for proposals launched. A number of Transport programme projects currently have participants from these countries, funded by the International Cooperation programme (INCO).

Transport research will be an important area of the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, scheduled to start by the end of 1998. The Commission's proposal for the programme, currently before the European Parliament and the Council, would address aspects of transport research in two "key actions" in particular: Information Society systems and services for the citizen, and Sustainable mobility and intermodality. Two other key actions would address the development of new technologies for aeronautics and marine transport respectively. Some Member States have suggested that a separate transport research programme should be established. This would mean an even stronger focus on transport research within the Fifth Framework Programme

Source: European Commission, DG VII

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