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Supporting the Transport Research Arena 2012 conference

Final Report Summary - TRA2012 (Supporting the Transport Research Arena 2012 conference)

TRA2012 built on the successes of the three previous Transport Research Arenas (TRAs) held in Brussels, Ljubljana and Gothenburg. It took into account the experiences and conclusions of the Belgium, Slovenian and Swedish organisers and took also into account the current strategic European priorities in the area of transport research and innovation. TRA2012 had a unique character through the view of Athens as the capital of a sea-faring nation.

The main organiser was the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks which took on all the financial risks, although it was a TRA under the auspices of the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR), the European Commission (EC), the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC), the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC), and Waterborne Technology Platform (TP).

The main objective of the TRA2012 was to contribute to innovation in sustainable mobility for Europe, by bringing together all the stakeholders of the transport system. The TRA gives the opportunity to the road, rail and maritime sectors to address common challenges and share knowledge in order to deliver together a greener, safer and smarter transport system. In pursuing its objective of sustainable mobility for Europe, the TRA enhances the global competitiveness of the European Union (EU), by promoting the three aspects of the knowledge triangle: research - education - innovation.

The work performed in 2011 and in 2012 consisted mainly in delivering an attractive programme and exhibition for the participants. The TRA2012 conference programme was composed of five different session types, namely plenary, strategic, technical, poster and special sessions. Plenary sessions, including the opening and the closing session were addressed to all conference and exhibition attendees and hosted personalities from Europe and worldwide, who spoke about the future prospects of the transport system, its role in the societies of tomorrow and the steps to be taken towards the desired targets. Special sessions were organised by national European and international bodies, federations, associations, projects, initiatives, professional institutions and unions on the topics of their interest during the conference.

All the details and the proceeds of TRA 2012 can be found on

Project context and objectives:

This project gave support for organising and promoting the Transport Research Arena 2012 (TRA2012) in Athens. It reinforced the scientific excellence of the conference and cemented its position as the main transport research event in Europe.

The fourth TRA was organised in Athens, Greece, in April 2012 and was supported by five stakeholder organisations:

- EC
- ERRAC and
- Waterborne TP.

The project was a coordinated commitment of partners from all of the relevant stakeholder organisations and the 2012 TRA organisers. The final commitment of the European Technology Platforms (ETPs) to this first multi-modal version of TRA was confirmed once the general framework of the conference was agreed between CEDR, EC and the ETPs which happened before the end of the first quarter of 2011. The tasks related to this Coordination and Support Action (CSA) started on 1 January 2011; the relevant expenditures were charged from that date to the project.

The EC utilised the event fully with high-level speakers and indications of the implementation of the Strategic Transport Technology Plan (STTP) and indications of forthcoming Eighth Framework Programme (FP8) activities.

This conference brought together representatives of the surface transport modes from industry, public authorities (national and local) and from the research providers. In 2012, it represented a major step towards establishing itself as the high-level European transport conference. The objectives of this conference were that 'The TRA conference provides a platform for research in Europe that can set results for those who have to implement them.' As such, TRA2012 addressed the needs of the knowledge yriangle for the surface transport sector. This fourth TRA also integrated for the first time all surface transport modes: road, rail and waterborne (sea and inland), and interlinks between them.

The main objective of the TRA2012 was to contribute to innovation in sustainable mobility for Europe, by bringing together all the stakeholders of the transport system. The TRA gives the opportunity to the road, rail and maritime sectors to address common challenges and share knowledge in order to deliver together a greener, safer and smarter transport system. In pursuing its objective of sustainable mobility for Europe, the TRA enhances the global competitiveness of the EU, by promoting the three aspects of the knowledge triangle: research - education - innovation. (Source: TRA2012 terms of reference)

The objective of this project was to support the organisation of the TRA event in 2012 so that it can be effectively considered as the first European sustainable surface transport research conference and to strengthen the scientific quality and impact of the event. This involved a balanced representation between the three transport modes, with proper involvement of ETPs and the major transport research stakeholders (academics, suppliers, operators, infrastructure managers, and transport authorities at EU, national and local level). The partners of this project came from the stakeholder bodies of TRA.

The organisers of TRA2012 agreed that, building on the experiences of Brussels, Ljubljana and Gothenburg; they would firstly take into account the current strategic European priorities in the area of transport research and innovation, and secondly specific issues that characterise TRA2012 through the view of Athens being the capital of a sea-faring nation. The main organiser, the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks through their road company Egnatia Odos S.A took on all the main financial risks. This project supplemented many of those actions and provided critical support in the areas of communication and awareness-raising, strengthening the process so as to support TRA2012 and also facilitate a student competition and review of TRA with the objective of sustaining TRA for the future whether it will continue to be a surface transport or be further enlarged to all transport modes including air.

TRA2012 covered a wide range of research and innovation activities. These ranged from basic sciences to engineering and application-oriented and represented social aspects, technical and economic aspects, policy and standards. The TRA also addressed demonstration activities. The project partners worked together with all other stakeholders to strengthen the long-term commitment to develop and maintain a European high-standard scientific conference. It will concern European and national research activities. This means in this respect CEDR and IFSTTAR, the coordinator of ERA-NET ROAD, involving national public agencies and administrations, and supporting future joint research planning between the Member States and the EC.

TRA2012 continued its tradition and held an early-stage research student competition with the goal of stimulating interest among young researchers in the conference.

The TRA2012 programme was organised into six pillars built around the European research and innovation strategies while emphasising on the issues of climate change, carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction, fuel efficiency and supply.

These pillars were:

1. surface transport research and education (needs and agendas)
2. transport, mobility and infrastructure
3. safety and security
4. energy, environment and resources
5. design and production (vehicles, vessels and infrastructure)
6. complementarities of transport modes.

These pillars were arranged in three levels of sessions. The first two were the strategic and plenary sessions which were organised by CEDR, EC, ERRAC, ERTRAC, or Waterborne TP. The third type was the thematic sessions which were based partly on a call for papers and partly from expressions of interest from stakeholder member organisations. Based on the input of the ETPs and taking into account the results of the project evaluations, the project partners made recommendations to the programme committee (PC) on the concept of the pillars to better structure the conference considering transversal topics between platforms like freight, passengers, long and medium distance transport and urban mobility.

Project partners were assembled from all of the surface transport Technology Platforms and played an active role in their activities. As such, the project supported and was supported by the various projects associated with the technology platforms. This represented a considerable multiplier for the project effort.

Through this approach and with an 'on the move to TRA' logo, numerous events were TRA-branded throughout 2011 and early 2012, including the ERTRAC 2011 event, the World Congress on Rail Research (WCRR), the UITP World Congress and others. Such branding activities were encouraged and supported by the awareness and media work package (WP3) of this project.

This project supported the organisation of TRA2012 by providing key logistical support from the representative associations from the stakeholders that were participating. These organisations represented a mixture of organisations from the different stakeholders.

Finally, TRA was complemented by the 2012 version of the Young European Area of Research (YEAR). This competition was launched with EC support for TRA2008 and repeated in TRA2010. On both occasions, it was well appreciated by the stakeholders and directly supported by the cabinets of the Commissioner.

Project results:

The programme

The main theme for TRA 2012 at the Megaron International Conference Centre in Athens was sustainable mobility through innovation. The motto of previous editions remained the same: 'Greener, safer and smarter road transport for Europe.' TRA 2012 sought to reflect on the multidisciplinary nature of the transport sector and, for this reason, addressed all stakeholders in both the public and private sectors and all professionals, regardless of their roles, researchers, practitioners, designers, constructors, operators and administrators.

1. Architecture

The structure of TRA 2012 was organised into six main pillars built around the European and innovation strategies while emphasizing on climate change, CO2 reduction, fuel efficiency and supply. The six pillars were:

Pillar 1: Governance of the transport system
Pillar 2: Transport, mobility and infrastructure
Pillar 3: Safety and security
Pillar 4: Energy, environment and resources
Pillar 5: Design and production (vehicles, vessels and infrastructure)
Pillar 6: Complementarities of transport modes.

In total some 85 different topics are addressed assembled into 47 thematic sessions.

2. Conference programme

TRA 2012 conference programme was made up of five different session types:

- plenary sessions, where personalities from European policy agencies, transport industry and academia, addressed some of the most important issues in the transport sector and the transport sector's role in future society;
- strategic sessions, where invited experts from the EC, the TRA stakeholders and different organisations and agencies all over the world where invited to speak and debate about many of the most cutting edge transport issues;
- thematic oral sessions, where the authors of the papers presented their research work and/or application in the transport sector falling in one or more of the topics chosen for this conference;
- thematic poster sessions, where the authors presented their work and/or research project results on posters and conference participants could meet authors for creative discussions;
- special sessions, where issues of special interest in the transport sector were presented and promoted by the session organising institutions, agencies or project consortia.

Three YEAR 2012 and Vision olympics

TRA 2012 repeated the successful young researchers' competition, the well-known YEAR as well as Vision olympics. The purpose of these competitions was to motivate and encourage young researchers from all European states by providing them a European platform for their ideas and research work for the benefit of greener, safer, and smarter surface transport in Europe.

The competition gave students the opportunity to showcase their work to experts within their field, both on the web under and, for the best applicants, at TRA 2012.

More than 350 students submitted their abstract online and 67 judges selected the eight best applicants in each pillar. The 30 top students from the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden were invited to attend TRA 2012 to display their research. The pillar leaders and their deputies interviewed all the finalists prior to the TRA 2012 awards ceremony and selected the gold, silver and bronze medallist for each pillar.

The gold medallists for each pillar received EUR 1000, the silver medallists EUR 500 and the bronze medallists EUR 250. The awards were presented by Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

The YEAR competition and the TRA 2012 conference were co-funded by the EC under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

4. Scientific conclusions of TRA 2012

The scientific conclusions were summarised by Prof. George A. Giannopoulos, Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT) and Centre for Research and Technology Development Hellas (CERTH) at the closing ceremony. He started by saying that TRA 2012 was a turning point that will define future trends because it had:

- adopted a multimodal approach (all surface modes considered throughout themes and sessions);
- considered cross cutting issues in a horizontal sense;
- highlighted the challenges to society;
- addressed transport in the context of the economic challenges facing Europe and the world;
- encouraged with many concrete steps the participation of the young generation of researchers;
- opened up to world participation;
- created prominent links with other world class conferences;
- exceeded all expectations in terms of participation.

He structured his conclusions into three main themes with 5 major challenges from which 10 prevailing cross-cutting issues derived.

The three main themes that created the tempo were:

1. From research to deployment (Fulfilling the EU and Horizon 2020 Agendas)
- seamless support from idea to the market with simplification in procedures;
- adopt a 'customer led' research agenda;
- reforming the innovation and research governing systems of the future;
- building 'psychological' innovation through burden sharing, and creating the vision.

2. Providing competitiveness for the European transport industries
- offering innovation as a stimulus to competitiveness;
- faster standard setting, access to venture capital, more public procurement of research;
- build upon existing technological strengths (e.g. sustainable mobility, environmental technologies, maritime construction, etc.) and achievements (EGCI, city mobile, etc.);
- Key emphasis on: light materials (resources?), flexibility in construction, smart systems (connected), etc.;
- skill shortage to support competitiveness (must press on further education, and R&D);
- PPPs are crucial in risk sharing and risk reduction.

3. Decarbonisation and energy forms
- fossil fuels here to stay for the next 30 years but steps beyond them must start now: improvement of gasoline and diesel engines / stop – start hybridisation / electrification;
- decarbonisation in maritime must be addressed to new ships (retrofitting of old ones poses problems);
- a fully integrated approach including many measures, is necessary;
- roadmaps for the future actions needed (for all modes- for road, ERTRAC already on the way).

The five main challenges expected to dominate transport research in the future are:

- iInnovation, across all modes and services;
- infrastructure development and maintenance;
- intelligence in transport operations (ITS);
- integration of systems /services across modes;
- impacts on society and economy.

The ten cross cutting issues were described as:

1. Safety
- Society may not always afford to pay for it but safety (and security) in transport is the issue irrespective of the mode.
- The 'zero vision' by 2050 in road safety, feasible but needs a series of measures and a strict roadmap.
- Railway safety issues (of prominence): Passive safety equipment for crashes at moderate speeds / level crossings / automatic inspection of the track.
- In maritime safety, improving the SOLAS requirements for RoPax and cruises is needed using new risk based damage survivability tools in cases of collision and grounding.
- Proactive tools for maritime safety: near misses reporting / communicating routes (way points) in relation to ECDIS / use of MCA to evaluate port development in terms of safety.

2. Efficiency in freight and passenger transport
- Freight and logistics efficiency may benefit from establishment of a self-governing framework at regional or national government level which would continuously identify logistics critical issues and recommending policies and solutions on the company or governmental level.
- Need for dedicated instruments for the assessment of efficiency in current logistics performance, and the analysis of new co-modal alternatives for its potential improvement.
- Increase efficiency of freight trains through increasing their speed rather than volumes of goods per train.
- Conflicts between passenger and freight trains, when they share tracks, seriously compromise efficiency. Provided demand is sufficient, dedicated freight lines, must be provided; mixed traffic is less profitable.
- If load energy efficiency in freight and logistics is raised to 70 % (from 40 % today) EUR 160 billion per year will be saved at EU level.
- Freight vehicle and loading units, weights and dimensions need to be reconsidered to increase efficiency and multimodality.
- Performance standards relative to the above can be provided from current research results.

3. Sustainability
- Sustainability can be: economic / environmental / social (human aspects etc. usually neglected).
- By 2025 more than 11 billion trips / day (from 7.2 today) in urban areas by more than 4 billion urban dwellers – also 5 more billion cars.
- In order to maintain current quality of urban life the doubling of public transport use is necessary by 2025. This means tripling the PT ridership and reducing car use accordingly.
- Needed, an integrated approach including.
- Lifestyle changes / innovation funding / new urban governance / new business culture / mobility management.
- Novel work presented on NH3 absorption in future SCR technologies for diesel engines.
- 40 % of all transport related CO2 is produced in cities.
- Use of second generation vegetable oils and bio-fuels - increased diversification of bio-fuel blends.

4. Mobility and accessibility of modes and services
- One-stop-shop for mobility planning not yet possible because of issues with data availability - certification - liability.
- Data collection (from end users / service providers / surrounding services) necessary - Key issue: data quality and interoperable formats.
- Customer-led R&D and design need to integrate entire systems (e.g. transport logistic chains, transport networks).
- Implementation of results crucial: guidelines / standards / new improved services and products.
- 'Developing new rigid mobility products necessitates: integration / cooperation between developers/service providers/ end users.
- Mobility and accessibility information provision to the traveller necessary at real time and with emphasis on user needs.
- Focus on influencing behaviour and effecting behavioural change.

5. Policy making
- Focus on developing competitive rail freight and passenger services.
- Create long term roadmaps to achieve policy objectives and proceed with multiannual implementation periods and annual evaluation of progress. This also applies to R&D.
- The 2011 transport White Paper foresees an enormous expansion of the role of rail in both passenger and freight traffic. To achieve this, more attractive services at lower cost will be required.
- A level playing field is crucial to the success of rail; this means not just harmonising pricing rules across the modes but also harmonising legislation on issues such as working conditions and ensuring compliance.
- In creating the single European transport area, special emphasis on eliminating regional differences in: transport related taxes; safety and security measures for freight and passenger vehicles / vessels / trains; effecting liberalisation of the transport markets; training and education in the transport sector.

6. Managing traffic and optimising network capacities
- Network management is a key feature in the future. Different mechanisms of network management were presented.
- Network governance must be simplified and interlinked at European level.
- Different data transaction structures and their potential added value for network governance examined.
- Good network governance relies on thorough monitoring and control.
- Increased added value from early private involvement.
- Contract flexibility and possibilities for intervention.
- Value in offering incentives to the construction industry.
- Interconnectivity of different transport networks between modes and across national borders a key issue that calls for a more active role of the EU, and strategic policy decisions binding all Member States;
- Interoperability in railway networks.
- Dynamic lane allocation for buses recommended.

7. User demand and behaviour
- Over past 15 years car use by men aged 25 - 50 is declining.
- Modal split increasingly related to land-use patterns.
- Future ITS use likely to be rejected by the elderly, poorly educated, ethnic minority groups.
- For teenagers, the: gender, family status, parents' occupation, influence trip making.
- General consensus on unacceptability of coercive measures or restrictions, to achieve behavioural change.
- Behavioural issues not adequately covered.

8. Security and resilience
- Railway and maritime security are very important issues for the future.
- Mitigating the effects of unexpected events on the railways (e.g. suicide attempts, strikes, etc.).
- Security of the total (multimodal) supply chain for global transport is an urgent issue requiring efforts on global harmonisation and standardisation / enhanced cooperation between private stakeholders and government services, etc.

9. Societal and gender issues
- Societal impacts must be considered at all cases of new system introduction.
- Behavioural change policies and models must be linked to societal needs and wants.
- Gender issues still exist in certain transport operation domains.
- Societal issues important in developing new infrastructures.

10. International cooperation
- Importance and relevance of international cooperation in transport research is now well established and many initiatives exist or are on the way.
- Need to make these initiatives more accessible and visible to individual researchers.
- A strategic partnership of the EU with the US is forming in transport research.
- Other priorities for the EU: BRICS; Mediterranean cooperation countries; Japan.
- A tri-lateral cooperation initiative between EU (DG INFSO), US, and Japan currently on-going.
- Transport appears prominently in all major research work programmes around the world but there is no uniform frame for international cooperation yet. This should be the long term goal.

This conference showed over its multitude of sessions and discussion-fora that there is a wealth of innovation being produced in all fields of transport, globally and in Europe.

He concluded by saying that what is now basically needed is the large scale deployment of new systems, services, technologies, and infrastructures that fit around human needs and societal challenges.

Attentive audience during a plenary session

Lessons Learned by the programme committee (PC)

1. Aim of report
The aim of this short report by the chairperson of the PC is to identify the main problems in the TRA 2012 PC during the period of October 2010 until April 2012 and to submit suggestions and recommendations which will enable a better performance of future TRA PCs.

2. Programme committee composition
The PC members were nominated by the TRA stakeholders and a small percentage by the PC Chairman who was nominated by the host country. The PC consisted of 35 regular members and 15 deputy members. Several previous members of the PC, as well as past PC chairpersons, remained for TRA 2012, thus conveying their experience into the next PCs. However, since knowledge and science progress at a fast rate, the PC lacks members who cover new scientific areas. Given that at the first evaluation stage of papers - which is the abstract evaluation stage - the so called pillar leaders and their deputies are responsible for accepting or rejecting the submissions, there is a rather high probability that good abstracts are rejected and non-important ones are accepted, since a wide range of topics has to be dealt with by a small number of members.

The commitment level of the PC members varies widely because PC members are usually very busy people in responsible positions. The absence of certain members at the meetings is a usual phenomenon and in this way the ones who systematically are present undertake a heavier burden than the others. The larger the PC, the wider is the variation in the members’ commitment. This inevitably has an impact on the overall performance of the PC and often leads to delays with respect to the agreed time schedules. The above - i.e. level of commitment - is relevant to the way travel expenses and time consumed by PC members for the TRA PC activities are compensated.

The above phenomena were stronger in TRA 2012 than in previous events due to the fact that two new stakeholders, ERRAC and Waterborne TP, joined TRA. The workload distribution among stakeholders and pillars was uneven because certain thematic areas attracted much more submissions than others. In this respect the uniform representation of stakeholders in the PC which was a matter of equity among stakeholders, created distortions in the PC's performance.

As an additional recommendation, it is suggested that the number of the PC members is kept if possible below 35 including the deputy members. There must also be some kind of consequences to those members who systematically do not participate in the PC meetings.

3. Abstract and full paper reviewing process

Certain new elements characterised TRA 2012 in comparison to previous events. The main ones were the publication of the conference papers in a well-known international publishing house, Elsevier, the possibility of best papers to be published in journals of the same publisher and the more detailed and thorough evaluation of submitted full papers. Based on the TRA 2012 experiences in this matter, it is suggested that the evaluation process (criteria, grades, marking, etc.) should be known well in advance; changes should be possible only after malfunctions have been identified. There is a need for 'permanent' guidelines regarding the evaluation criteria and marking of submissions both at the abstract and at the full paper level. TRA 2012's PC established some core and some secondary criteria, but this must be known right from the start, so that there is no waste of time examining the same issues every time. In this way PC members and external reviewers will be aware of the rules pertaining to the evaluation of abstracts and papers.

Once the likely distribution of submissions among pillars, themes and topics is known, the members of the PC should be selected in proportion to the expected submissions and not as an even distribution amongst the different stakeholders. This could work as an incentive to those having low representation to mobilise the different members of their associations to submit scientific papers or to take part in the exhibition.

Publication of accepted papers in a worldwide publishing house, though it meant more burden to the PC chair, proved to be a strong incentive to many potential authors. The same applied for the potential publication of the best papers in selected journals of the same publishing house.

A perennial concept should also be adopted with respect to the creation of some TRA thematic committees, so that the efforts do not start from scratch every time. This of course would mean some extra costs, but is perhaps the best way to secure continuation and added value for each TRA. The participation of well-known academics in the various fields, together with stakeholder representatives in such committees, could be one way to deal with this issue.

4. Poster session
Poster session papers were selected according to the content and topic and not according to evaluation marks. All papers either presented orally or on posters, were considered equal; this rule should be kept in future and made clear to all PC members right from the beginning, so that there are no misunderstandings among evaluators. Regarding the areas for poster sessions, it is stressed that these areas should be placed in a well-travelled and easily accessible area in the TRA.

5. Strategic session
Thirteen strategic sessions took place. They were distributed evenly based on the different modes and the different subjects of TRA. Each strategic session was entrusted to one or more PC members who were responsible to write a rational and propose key-note speakers to be invited. This process was performed during the second PC meeting already to ensure enough time for the process and to invite the speakers. The invitations were sent centrally by the chairman; later on communication went directly between the responsible PC members and the speakers. No significant problem occurred.

The organisation of strategic sessions was an important element of the TRA 2012 and contributed to a large extent to its success. Therefore, adequate time for finalising these sessions must be planned, while at the same time, flexibility must be kept for last minute changes.

6. Special sessions
The call for special sessions was organised early on; it was included in the second announcement of TRA 2012 with the call for abstracts. This early call gave enough time for international federations, organisations, projects, initiatives and universities to organise their own session during TRA 2012. They were asked to submit a proposal including a description of the session's rationale, the proposed invited speakers and the targeted audience. 51 proposals were ranked by the PC members and the best 36 were included in the Programme. These sessions were quite attractive to participants and covered different thematic and scientific areas as well as topics of special interest.

7. General problems identified
The main problems which were identified and had an impact on TRA 2012 PC are the following:

Late start of the communication task force (CTF): This was a weak point in TRA 2012 - at least at the beginning - since the communication strategy which was the responsibility of the CTF, was formulated with delay. Communication activities are mainly an OC responsibility but they pertain to all TRA Committees including the PC.

The PC is the first of the TRA committees, in terms of deadlines, that needs specific support from the CTF to advertise and promote TRA to the potential authors, normally 18 - 20 months in advance. Communication activities need to be integrated and coordinated with the other activities of the different committees in the best possible way right from the start. This means that there must be a strong cooperation between the PC Chair, the OC, the CTF and the webmaster.

Coordination of the central TRA website administrator with the OC's webmaster: Depending on the organisational scheme of each TRA event, a better coordination between the webmaster of the OC and the central TRA website administrator is required.

View on the Parthenon from the Acropolis Museum during the gala dinner

Lessons learned by the organizing committee (OC)

TRA 2012 was deemed as very successful. This positive result owes big thanks to the shared experience from previous TRAs. On top of that, the help and support of the EC, CEDR, and the other European Technology Platforms was truly indispensable.

Drawing from the TRA 2012 experience, here are the key lessons learned by the OC, which could be useful for the organisation of the next TRA2014:

The communication working group, although it was set up quite late, played a very important role for the success of TRA 2012; it is obviously very important for it to be set up and provide its services from the very beginning. Additionally, of utmost importance is the existence of an integrated communication strategy and action plan from the very beginning, so that the Conference is actively promoted to its potential participants and sponsors / exhibitors as early as possible.

TRA 2012 failed to attract many sponsors, while it attracted a good number of exhibitors. The existence of a specialized action plan to attract sponsors / exhibitors (which did not exist for TRA 2012) would be critical for the success of the conference itself and (most importantly) for its financial equilibrium. Clear assignment of relevant actions and expected results for the TRA stakeholders should be included in this action plan, together with a specific time-table.

The TRA website is the window to the world; therefore, upgrading (to become more attractive and user-friendly) and constantly updating it during the whole preparation period, and also after the implementation of TRA, is crucial for the image of the TRA institution in general as well as for securing a wide participation. It is very important that a competent team be constituted, whose sole duties will be the web-site maintenance.

Venue and events:
The venue is one of the key parameters of the success for TRA. An attractive, well equipped, easily accessed, properly organised venue provides the good general atmosphere which influences the will to participate, the feelings and the opinions of the participants. Equally important are the parallel events and the capability of the wider venue area / sites to provide recreation possibilities to the participants.

The special promotion of TRA to national target groups (scientists / professionals of both the private and the public sector) would dramatically increase the participation and create potential future participation prospects from the hosting country.

Special reference should be made to the contribution of the EC officials, both through their participation in all strategic preparatory activities of the conference (within the frame of the MC, PC and the CWG) as well as through the implementation of the CSA, under which a number of crucial activities were financed. Both the wider participation and the financial success of TRA 2012 depend heavily on the contribution of the EC.

Special thanks must go to the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks (YPOMEDI) and in particular to its Secretary General, Mr Sergios Lambropoulos, who led his staff and the members of the MC to the great success all participants, sponsors and exhibitors experienced in Athens. This achievement was reached despite the very difficult times Greece was simultaneously going through.

Lessons learned by the communication working group (CWG)

The promotion of the event targeted towards sponsors and exhibitors as well as researchers, professionals and specialised press is a difficult and specific job and should be an ongoing process that starts early. In previous TRAs, a CTF was established within the OC. For TRA 2012, a separate CWG was established to work with the OC but funded through the EC's CSA. This TRA 2012 CWG was co-chaired by Jean-Yves Calvez of the EC and Steve Phillips of FEHRL. The group consisted of representatives from each of the platforms (ERRAC - UITP, UIC, UNIFE, ERTRAC - FEHRL, Polis and Waterborne), the Greek OC, the EC and CEDR and met five times between the summer of 2011 and April 2012.

Following completion of its own terms of reference and a communications and marketing strategy and action plan, the CWG group successfully carried out the following activities:

- production of five electronic newsletters which were sent to key stakeholders giving key details on the TRA 2012 programme, speakers, etc.;
- ongoing advice to the OC on developing / updating the TRA 2012 website at
- addition of announcements on TRA20212 to key websites;
- publicising of TRA 2012 at key events and constituencies using an 'On the move to TRA' campaign;
- use of Linked In and Twitter to promote TRA 2012;
- coordination of press and media activities.

The tasks of the CTF relating to sponsors and exhibitors were the responsibility of the OC member of the CWG. The budget responsibility for the different tasks was also divided between the EC-supported CWG and the OC. The OC took responsibility for advertising whereas the CWG reallocated its advertising budget to support the attendance of journalists. Regrettably, the EC was unable to approve the use of that budget at the last minute and therefore the attendance of journalists was much lower than anticipated. The plans for a series of technical press briefings were cancelled as a result.

Early in the course of TRA 2012 development, a number of potential media supporting organisations were identified. Many of these made offers of support, but confusion about who should approve this meant that not all the offers were evaluated. Nevertheless, as for TRA2010, media partnerships were established with Route One Publishing (World Highways and ITS International). Partnerships were also established with European energy innovation and automotive industries. The customised contract included visibility in conference bags, final programme, and newsletters, in exchange for advertisements, editorials in several publications and on the partners' websites.

The support of the different organisations involved in the CWG was important to ensure the buy-in of the different sectors for this first truly multimodal TRA. However it is recognised that the process started too late and future TRA's should ensure this no longer happens.

The distribution of tasks between the local organisers and the 'permanent stakeholders' seems appropriate, although this could be made clearer. As long as they are taking the financial risk, the organisers should remain ultimately responsible for sponsors and exhibitors. Nevertheless, the stakeholders should ensure the overall level of awareness throughout their community and ensure the continuity. In particular, the stakeholders need to ensure that the communications between and across TRAs are seamless. Media partnerships and advertising deals should ideally be established two years in advance.

Including the organisers of the student competition in the CWG was an important element. No specific link was established with the relevant conference journals and this should be considered early in the process. Involving academic journals in the CWG would help to raise awareness and enhance the technical reputation of the conference.

During the conference, there was a fully equipped pressroom where journalists could find the latest information on the conference, the latest press release and had access to computers and internet.

Satisfaction survey

TRA 2012 was the first event where a survey of the delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors was undertaken as a task to be undertaken within the CSA financed by the EC.

The feedback received will lead to developments within the TRA organisation which will meet closely the requirements or expectations of the main target groups of future TRAs.

The participants were surveyed during the second and third day of TRA 2012 and the results were disclosed during the closing session on the fourth day. Over 300 participants accepted to answer the questionnaire, which equals roughly 20 % of the total.

Some interesting facts and figures are worthwhile noticing:

Identification reason for attending:
- 80 % of TRA 2012 attendees were new to TRA;
- 11 % had attended TRA 2010, only 4 % had attended TRAs since 2006;
- > 82 % of TRA 2012 attendees stayed at least 3 days.

Reason for attending:
- almost 50 % of the participants attended to present a paper or a poster and to learn about the latest development in transport tesearch;
- 41 % of the participants attended TRA 2012 mainly for networking.

Interest in transport sector:
- > 65 % of participants are very interested in the road transport sector;
- > 65 % of participants are very interested in urban transport;
- > 66 % of participants are interested in railway transport sector;
- > 70 % of participants are interested in the waterborne sector;
- > 60 % of participants are interested in the logistics sector.

Satisfaction with the sessions:
- > 80 % of participants in plenary sessions were satisfied;
- > 88 % of participants in strategic sessions were satisfied;
- > 92 % of participants in thematic sessions were satisfied;
- > 78 % of participants in special sessions were satisfied.

Satisfaction with the exhibition:
- > 82 % of TRA 2012 participants visited the exhibition;
- > 92 % of them were satisfied.
Satisfaction with the social events:
- over 95 % of people attending the welcome reception were satisfied;
- over 90 % of people attending the gala dinner were satisfied.

Overall satisfaction:
- over 95 % of participants were satisfied with TRA 2012;
- over 82 % of participants said TRA 2012 met their expectations.

Future TRAs:
- over 68 % of TRA 2012 participants think about attending TRA 2014.

Final conclusions by the chairman of the MC

This fourth edition of the TRA in Athens provided, for the first time, an extended framework in which the present and future of all surface transport modes in Europe (road, rail, waterborne, but also urban transport and mobility) were discussed. Policies for transport, society and industry were brought together with innovation; strategies for the way forward were developed with the goal to increase the competitiveness of Europe throughout the world.

I am sure that all participants have grasped the opportunity provided by TRA 2012 to meet stakeholders in every sector of surface transport, to learn what is new, to establish new contacts and to discuss the current and future challenges for Europe. TRA 2012 gave a boost to European and global transport policy and has contributed to our ability to work together, to exchange ideas and for our own country, to implement successful European practices.

During the four days of TRA 2012, the participants had also the opportunity to visit the exhibition where many exhibitors showed the latest developments in their sector.

Next to the experts in the field of surface transport, TRA 2012 gave the opportunity to young researchers to present their findings. As we are all discussing the future of transport in Europe, it is important to endorse the work of the new researchers, who will play an important role in shaping new paths to mobility.

I would like to thank the OC members for the excellent work they have done; the venue was magnificent and all the sessions were successful.

I would like also to thank the PC members for composing a high level programme with many interesting sessions. Overall, the quality of both the scientific papers and the professional papers presented in this fourth TRA has increased substantially.

Finally, I would like to express my thanks to the MC members for their cooperation and their effective guidance and decision taking.

The organisers of the next TRA 2014 in Paris will be able to build on the experience gained during the preparation and implementation of the past four editions. I am confident that the fifth conference will be an even bigger success.

Prof. Sergios Lambropoulos
Chairman MC

Prof. Panos Papaioannou
Chairman PC

Mr Sarantis Pantelias
Chairman OC

Mr Michel Egger
TRA 2012 Secretary General

Potential impact:

Call requirements, contribution of project

Activities included in particular the support of the organisation of the TRA conference in 2012. This was the main objective of the project which contributed ensuring the smooth running and adequate resources for all the conference structures.

The aim was to have a follow-up of the previous TRA conference with a larger scope that covered all surface transport modes: road transport, rail transport, waterborne transport and their interfaces. The project team brought together representatives from the previous TRA conferences at both European (i.e. CEDR and ERTRAC) and national levels (i.e. Belgium and Slovenia) together with organisations from the rail and waterborne sections.

The idea was to have a high standard scientific European conference as the first transport event in the world covering all aspects of R&D: from basic sciences, socio-economic research to applied sciences and demonstration activities. The project supported the PC of the conference with additional resources for reviewing and evaluation and also supported the publication of peer reviewed papers.

The intention was to assure a long-term commitment to develop and maintain a European high standard scientific conference. The project supported the strengthening of the TRA brand. The use of EC funds was allocated to those activities that ensure not only the success of 2012 but also future conferences. Relevant activities here included the scientific journal, awareness and media as well as the review and recommendations.

The conference had to have a systemic approach to building sustainable transport especially aiming at greener, safer and smarter transport. The structure of the conference management ensured that each of the transport modes (especially through the ETPs) contributed according to their objectives, all of which aimed for greener, safer and smarter transport.

It had to concern European and national research activities. The project included representatives from organisations responsible for both European and national research activities including ERA-NETs.

The link to European Technology Platforms related to transport (e.g. ERTRAC, ERRAC and Waterborne) was necessary. Partners in the project were key members in all the relevant technology platforms and were (or had been) the secretariats of each.

Finally, it had also to be complemented by an early-stage research students' competition with the goal of stimulating the interest among young researchers in the conference.WP 4 was dedicated to the running of the YEAR early stage research student competition.

Proposals had to demonstrate contributing to the dissemination of knowledge and/or of the results of European and national research in the field of surface transport, thus to improved coordination of research and technology development in the sector. The overall aim of the conference was based on disseminating knowledge generated by the national and European projects of the stakeholders and of all other interested parties. The conference strengthened the links between research providers, research clients (including policy makers) in each mode and between all the modes.

The partners were committed to establishing TRA as THE Transport research conference for European and the ERA. Their support for TRA2012 served to strengthen the integration of the different modes within one common event.


Out of an initial list of 21 Elsevier journals 6 of them were finally selected which cover most of the best papers' topics. The 110 best papers were then allocated to these 6 journals. At a next step the Chief Editors of these six journals were contacted for the purpose of approving the publication of special issues. It should be noted that half of them had been already contacted in late 2011, i.e. before the event took place, and had agreed to the publication of a TRA2012 special issue.

For each journal special issue, one or two guest editors need to be appointed. The PC chair approached several personalities, including members of the TRA2012 PC and after their consent and the journal chief editors' approval the guest editors for each special issue were selected.

The list of the journals is available below with a hyperlink to the ELSEVIER website:

1. Accident analysis and Prevention
R. Elvik and K. Kim
2. International Journal of Engineering Science
M. Kachanov and K. Rajagopal
3. Journal of Rail Transport Planning and Management
I. Hansen
4. Transportation Part A - Policy and Practice
D. Niemeier
5. Transportation Part C - Emerging Technologies
M. Papageorgiou
6. Transportation Part D - Transport and Environment
K. Button

Exploitation of results

The full wrap up report of TRA 2012 has been distributed to all the members of the MC. The lessons learned by the MC, the PC, the OC and the CWG will be integrated in the work performed for TRA 2014 which will be held in the CNIT in Paris - La Défense in April 2014.

The TRA2012 website is located at

Contact details of the consortium are mentioned below:

Michel Egger, tel: +33-140-813687, email:

Kyriaki Papapdopoulou, tel: +30-231-0470200344, email:

Dennis Schut, tel: +32-473-663001, email:

Lea Paties, tel: +32-264-37081, email:

Lanfranco Benedetti, tel: +32-228-20353, email:

George Giannopoulos, tel: +30-231-0498457, email:

Wolfgang Steinicke, tel: +49-(30)3-1997020, email:

Kenneth Gavin, tel: +35-317-163222, email:

Caroline Hoogendoorn, tel: +32-278-80111, email:

Steve Phillips, tel: +32-277-58238, email:

Patrick Mallejacq, tel: +33-140-435028, email: