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Enhancing excellence and innovation capacity in sustainable transport interchanges

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ALLIANCE (Enhancing excellence and innovation capacity in sustainable transport interchanges)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

ALLIANCE aimed at developing advanced research in the field of smart interconnecting sustainable transport networks in Latvia, by linking the Transport and Telecommunication Institute (TTI) with two internationally recognized research entities, University of Thessaly (UTH), Greece and Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (Fraunhofer IFF), Germany. Collaboration enabled the achievement of the project’s goals through several activities, including the organization of young researchers’ seminars, workshops/training schools, the development of an educational programme for PhD and postdoc students, the support of Short-Term Staff Exchanges (STSE), the creation of an educational online tool for distance learning and knowledge sharing, etc.
ALLIANCE provided new opportunities to extend TTI competences and knowledge in the selected area, raised research capacity and provided the ability to TTI to become more visible in the European research area.
For the needs of the project’s two Summer Schools, the consortium developed an educational and training program “Sustainable Transport Interchanges Program (STIP)”. Based on STIP, partners developed digitalized courses to support lifelong learning purposes. Several courses of STIP were also included in TTI study programmes. In total, the consortium members completed 12 STSE’s, which were very fruitful for all partners. TTI significantly improved collaboration in project theme areas, by organizing 5 research international teams consisted of young and senior researchers. This activity raised the number of publications produced by TTI staff.
The methodology of ALLIANCE was built around the analysis of the needs of Latvia and Baltic area on knowledge gain about intermodal transportation networks and the development of the tools to attain this knowledge, providing at the same time excellence and innovation capacity.
ALLIANCE was oriented to intermodal transportation systems, considering legal and organizational issues, identifying smart and sustainable solutions for achieving smooth and seamless transportation, and exploiting decision-making strategies, methodologies and techniques for evaluating the impact of solutions on the transportation domain, economy and society. One of the goals was to deliver a coherent educational/training program, structured in 3 pillars: governance/policy, smart solutions and decision-making, and addressed to enhancing the knowledge of researchers and professionals.
The project focused on intermodal interconnections, as a result of the analysis of data on interchanges for passenger and freight transportation, and educational and training transport programs. A review of good practices included 41 passengers and 13 freight interchanges from 17 EU countries.
The research, educational\training programs in Europe section comprised 3 parts: program identification and selection, data processing and organizing, and programs’ presentation. 18 and 19 educational programs were selected to be reviewed for both EU and Latvia, respectively.
The analysis resulted in the identification of 20 educational areas for interchanges, which were combined in 12 courses that compose the core of the Sustainable Transport Interchange Program (STIP). STIP was elaborated and organized throw Summer Schools in 2017 and 2018. The course material was divided into parts: a) Core, b) Freight transportation (1st School), and c) Public transport systems: from research to decision making (2nd School). Core courses were covered over both Schools, while content for “Freight” and “Passenger” courses was modified to cover freight and passenger interchanges.
The knowledge-sharing strategy was set up by defining beneficiaries and sharing tools that include: e-resources, STSEs, educational/training programs, Summer Schools and collaborative research activities.
During the project, 12 STSEs were successfully completed, 2 Training schools, 3 Young researchers’ seminars, 3 “Train the Trainers” seminars/workshops and 2 Summer Schools were organised. More than 100 participants took part in training activities, at least 50% from them – TTI students and staff.
The scheme of double supervising for PhD/MSc students was developed and currently is used for 2 PhD students of TTI. 10 MSc and 5 PhD students from TTI chose the research topic of sustainable transportation. 5 collaborative research teams were set up and 15 publications were prepared by TTI with the partners in topics of the ALLIANCE. A Special Issue of Transport and Telecommunication Journal was published as output from collaboration teams.
In the frame of the project, networking activities were completed: the participation of TTI in ECTRI, the involvement of TTI students and staff, Latvian business entities to the ALLIANCE events: Summer Schools, Conferences, Workshops, Final Conference etc.
The e-platform of the project was established, to support training activities and digitalized version of STIP.
The dissemination material that has been produced include: a project presentation, a leaflet, a poster, 16 press releases, 5 fact sheets, a roll-on banner, 3 newsletters, 3 promotional articles and an official video.
ALLIANCE, apart from the dissemination of knowledge on intermodal transport interchanges’ operation and best practice, aimed at the configuration of a new way of interdepartmental collaboration amongst research organizations and universities, identifying the gaps and hierarchizing the needs, enriching the educational process to enlighten the grey points in the most effective way providing excellence.
The expected impacts were achieved by pursuing the ALLIANCE objectives and work approach, to improve to a measurable and significant degree the overall scientific and innovation capacity of TTI in the domain of interconnected transportation systems.
ALLIANCE developed a coherent dissemination plan and organized networking activities that embrace the EC. Dissemination activities (more than 70) have good coverage, with an estimated number of persons reached more than 10000.
KPIs for TTI scientific excellence shows positive dynamics: the number of indexed papers was increased by 5 times in 2017 and 4 times in 2018 compared to (2015); 5 PhD students were enrolled in TTI; the events enabled the increase of the collaboration with industry representatives; the number of participants in TTI annual International Conference “RelStat” was raised significantly.
TTI addressed industrial and societal needs at the regional level through special events “Research-to-Business”, organized during the ALLIANCE (workshops, discussion tables, etc). The project team generated innovative ideas for future research through the project’s activities and more than 10 proposals for projects were submitted (Horizon2020, InterReg, etc.). The STIP courses were set up and introduced in TTI study programmes and as digitalised version for long-life education programme (accessible for free by any interested person). During the project, partners organized and/or participated in more than 70 dissemination activities and events.