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Specific research, technological development and demonstration programme in the field of transport, 1994-1998

This specific programme forms part of the First Activity of the Fourth Framework Programme within the subarea "Transport", and builds on the experience and achievements of the first phase of the EURET programme under the Third Framework Programme.

The programme supports the development and implementation of the common transport policy, as articulated in the Commission Communication on the future of the common transport policy (COM (93) 494 final). Research will contribute to the development, integration and management of a more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly transport system which will ensure the sustainable mobility of goods and persons.

The overall objective of the specific programme is to contribute to the optimization of transport systems in the Community by means of prenormative and prelegislative research. This will be achieved by a coordinated dual approach, focusing on a strategy which will, firstly, provide the basis for a trans-European multimodal network through research into the general functioning of the transport system and, secondly, conduct specific research concerning the optimization of the individual networks.

Research activities in both areas will cover both general policy concerns (competitiveness, safety, energy and environment) and the different geographical levels (European, national, regional, urban).

RTD under the first area will serve to improve the knowledge and understanding of traffic flows and of their interactions and interdependencies. These will be used to evaluate transport demand to develop scenarios for efficient transport networks, evaluate the impact of variations in demand and of the modal split, together with their institutional, economic, social, environmental and energy impact. This research will provide industry and public authorities with the decision-making tools necessary to define needs and constraints to be taken into account, with a view to giving guidance for future action.

Research within the second area should ensure, firstly, the development of compatible systems for the management of the individual transport modes and, secondly, improvements in the capacity, safety, reliability and quality of transport services. Such activities will help guarantee the interoperability, interconnection and accessibility of the different networks.

The research activities are conducted within a coherent framework taking account of activities under the other specific programmes (e.g. industrial technologies, telematics, environment and non-nuclear energy), which relate to the objectives of the common transport policy. In particular, important contributions are expected from those programmes developing innovative solutions based on generic technologies, such as telematic tools for telematic management, propulsion systems in the field industrial and materials technologies and other technologies in the field of energy and the environment (e.g. technologies to reduce energy consumption and pollution). Tangible results permitting, in particular, a modular approach and a gradual implementation of transport systems in coordination with EUREKA, are expected in the short and medium term.
To stimulate conceptual and technological innovations centred on strategic research for a trans-European multimodal transport network and the optimization of each of the individual transport modes.
Two areas:

- Strategic research for a trans-European multimodal network (definition, demonstration and validation):
To improve the efficiency of the European transport system as a whole with different modal components. Research is subdivided into five areas of investigation:
. Understanding mobility (passengers and goods);
. Developing intermodality;
. Economics of the transport system;
. System orgnization and interoperability;
. Integration of new technologies;
. Policy assessment.

- Network optimization:
Research into the internal optimization of each mode of transport:
. Railways (traffic management, safety, interoperability of national systems);
. Integrated transport chains (transshipment of goods, logistics);
. Air transport (air traffic management, air traffic safety);
. Urban transport (ecological traffic management, safety management, optimization of road use, design of transport points to improve accessibility to towns, measures to promote public transport);
. Maritime transport and inland waterways (maritime traffic management, safety, environmental protection, integration of new generic technologies, safety and environmental considerations, organization, human resources);
. Road transport (traffic management, logistics and safety).
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by an advisory committee consisting of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission. A work programme is drawn up by the Commission, detailing the scientific and technological objectives of the action, the stages in the programme's implementation and the corresponding financial arrangements. This work programme may provide for participation in certain activities within the EUREKA framework.

Calls for proposals for RTD projects are issued by the Commission on the basis of the work programme. Outline proposals may be submitted at any time (a continuously open call for proposals). Those proposals which have been selected will receive a feasibility award to search for partners and to prepare a detailed proposal. That proposal will then be evaluated in order to decide on the funding of the research project itself.

Participation in the programme is open to all legal entities regularly carrying out RTD activities in the Community or in countries with whom the Community has concluded specific agreements. To this end, the Commission is authorized to negotiate bilateral agreements with European third countries not covered by the EEA, with a view to involving them in all or part of the programme. Provisions are also made to facilitate cooperation within international organizations where appropriate.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate in the indirect activities covered by the programme. It will also contribute, through its own programme of direct activities, to the realization of the RTD objectives set out in the specific programme.

The programme is mainly implemented through shared-cost activities, concerted actions, specific measures and various preparatory, accompanying and support measures.

Community support for shared-cost RTD projects and finance towards the infrastructure or installations necessary for the realization of a coordinated action does not normally exceed 50% of total costs. Other shared-cost activities, (e.g. networks, training, feasibility awards and accompanying measures) may receive financial support of up to 100% of either the additional costs or the total costs of the action.

Provisions are made to finance technology stimulation measures which are aimed, in particular, at SMEs. Through cooperative research, these are designed to enable groups of undertakings, without adequate research resources of their own, to commission third parties to carry out the research needed to solve a common technical problem. Technology stimulation may also involve feasibility awards to facilitate SME participation in RTD projects. The Community's financial contribution would not normally exceed 75% of the costs of the initial activity, with a ceiling of ECU 50,000 for a period not normally exceeding 9 months.

Concerted actions, which consist of the coordination, notably through "concertation networks", of RTD projects already financed by public or private bodies, may qualify for a contribution of up to 100% of the concertation costs. Specific measures, such as those encouraging standardization, and those measures intended to set up general service tools for research organizations may also be eligible for funding of up to 100% of total costs.

The breakdown of the programme budget between the research areas is as follows: Strategic research for a trans-European multimodal network (definition, demonstration and validation) ECU 48 million; Network optimization ECU 192 million. The budget allocated to the second area is divided between the six sub-activities as follows: Rail transport ECU 38.5 million; Integrated transport chains ECU 16.5 million; Air transport ECU 38.5 million; Urban transport ECU 26.5 million; Maritime transport and inland waterways ECU 45.5 million; Road transport ECU 26.5 million.

These figures include an allocation of 8.3% for staff and administrative expenditure. A sum of up to 5% of the total budget may be spent on specific measures in support of SMEs whilst ECU 2 million is earmarked for the dissemination and utilization of the programme results. This latter action is closely coordinated with the specific programme of the Third Activity of the Fourth Framework Programme "Dissemination and utilization of results".

The budget allocated to the programme may increase before the end of June 1996, in accordance with the Decision establishing the Fourth Framework Programme.

The Commission will continuously review the implementation of the programme to ensure that its objectives, priorities and financial resources remain appropriate. On the basis of this review process it shall, where appropriate, submit proposals to adapt or supplement the programme.

In addition, regular assessments of the activities covered by the specific programme will be conducted by independent experts who, upon completion of the programme, will carry out a final evaluation of the results achieved compared to initial objectives. A report of this final evaluation will be communicated to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.