Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

INtentify future Transport rEsearch NeeDs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTEND (INtentify future Transport rEsearch NeeDs)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2018-09-30

At a time of public budget constraints, major demographic changes and increasing global competition, Europe's competitiveness, the capacity to create millions of new jobs to replace those lost during the current economic and financial crisis and, overall, maintain our future standard of living, depends on our ability to drive innovation. This is why innovation has been placed at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy.
INTEND delivers an elaborated study of the research needs and priorities in the transport sector utilising a systematic data collection method. The overall objectives of INTEND are:
- Define the transport research landscape
- Define the Megatrends and their impact on research needs
- To identify the main transport research needs and priorities
The conceptual path that INTEND followed, is divided in three stages based on the three main objectives of the project.
Stage 1- Research and Analysis: Definition of the Landscape
During the first stage of the project, a thorough investigation was conducted of studies produced at a European and international level which provided a comprehensive analysis of the knowledge produced with a focus on technological advances, political imperatives, future transport concepts and Megatrends
The research on technological advances focused on European and International literature. 388 reports were analysed
In the road transport sector, it has been identified that the most dominant technologies in terms of research were: electric and hybrid vehicles; autonomous vehicles; materials development; internal combustion engine design; alternative fuels and refuelling infrastructure; ADAS; CAE; Fuel cell vehicles; electric motor design and battery development. For the aviation sector aircraft design has been identified as the most dominant topic, with engine design and CAE in second place. Air traffic management, materials development and hybrid & electric propulsion ranked right below, while noise modelling and mitigation, alternative fuels and manufacturing processes were also technologies that will enable the sector. For the rail transport mode the most cited technology themes were satellite technologies and their integration with ERTMS and ETCS. Wagon design, non-destructive testing for infrastructure, CAE and future rail station design, including noise monitoring and mitigation solutions were all dominant themes. Finally, for the maritime transport mode the most dominant identified themes were electrified vessels followed by CAE, alternative fuels, multi-engine fuels, ship design, secondary energy converters and integrated emissions control. Autonomous ships and sensor technologies were also identified as potential future technologies for implementation
To identify the transport concepts of the future, a literature review was conducted; 41 reports were analysed. The research revealed that the most dominant passenger transport-applicable concepts of the future were the following: automation, shared mobility, on-demand mobility, MaaS, electrification, seamless transport chains, personal air transportation, smart use of travel time, high-speed rail, superfast ground and underground transportation
For freight transport: freight as a service – FaaS, seamless transport chains, automation, electrification , delivery drones, superfast ground and underground transport, freight consolidation hubs.
The political imperatives were identified using a literature review of more than 130 European and International imperatives supported by the software. Imperatives that, among other aspects, directly or indirectly have goals of reducing GHG emissions by supporting modal shift, substituting the source of energy (EV’s, alternative fuels) or using existing infrastructure more efficiently are in the majority.
Finally, the identification process of Megatrends based on literature review revealed that the following four megatrends can be considered as the key among both groups of reviewed sources (transport-related and general foresight studies):
• ageing society
• environmental challenges
• key resource scarcity
• urbanization and megacities

Stage 2- Validation and Analysis: Understanding the conditions
Validation was carried out through the application of the Analytic network process (ANP). Experts from academia, policy-makers, and industry, were invited to participate in a survey session and ninety responses were received.
The results of the Megatrends validation and their effect in the passenger transport have shown that for all interest groups the key Megatrends are 'Changing lifestyle' and 'Environmental challenges - climate changes', and then 'Energy demand and sources', 'Urbanization and Megacities' and 'Ageing society'.
For freight transport research has shown that the most influential Megatrends for all interest groups are also ‘Changing lifestyle’ and ‘Environmental challenges - climate changes’. The following Megatrends have a slightly less impact: ‘Urbanization and Megacities’, ‘Energy demand and sources’, ‘Big world economy’ and finally ‘Ageing society’.
The most dominant key Transport Concepts of the Future Passenger (TCFPs) in passenger transport were’ High-speed trains’ and ‘Automation’. When it comes to freight transport, the key dominant Transport Concepts Future Freight ( TCFFs) were: ‘Automation’ and ‘Delivery drones’

Stage3- Deliver the Future: Development of transport research agenda
Based on the identification of gaps and blind spots in transportation research, future research needs & priorities were defined, resulting in a blueprint of a transport research agenda, consisting of key research and innovation pathways for the future.
The picture below illustrates a snapshot of the main areas of the research agenda
INTEND impacted on improving the competitiveness of the European transport sector. The project's main areas of impact are the following:
-Provided a comprehensive picture and integrated analysis of existing forward-looking knowledge in the transport sector
-Provided input for the elaboration of a transport research agenda in the medium term
-Enhanced the competitiveness of the European transport sector & to help achieve the EU policy goals
Furthermore, INTEND has a greater impact on the society as well:
-Achieve a better society: Research gaps and underrepresented fields beyond the mainstream and research institutions perspective were identified. Thus, society benefits from at least partially shifting the focus from path dependant research traditions towards real world and societal problems.
- Improved research capacities: INTEND identified new research opportunities in less considered fields of R&D which can lead not only to an increase of research activities but also a shift within the research fields. This will lead to new opportunities and allow a strengthening and expansion of research capacities within the economy and research institutions.

-Improved industrial performance: The project provides new insights and knowledge for industry allowing for both identification of new business opportunities and focussing of innovation activities into promising fields.
-Improved policy: INTEND results revealed both research needs continuing the solid European basis of research in the transportation fields as well as revealing new opportunities in research which can strengthen both society and the economy by providing valuable input for policy strategies and measures