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The Establishment of a Transport Analytics Centre of Excellence in Cyprus (TrACE)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TrACE (The Establishment of a Transport Analytics Centre of Excellence in Cyprus (TrACE))

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Transport is globally one of the most fundamental sectors because it is directly associated with both the economy of a country at various levels and the quality of life of its citizens. Whilst, though, transport enables economic growth and development, it causes significant consumption of resources and environmental pollution (White Paper, 2011). As noted in the Green Paper (2007), the increased traffic in cities throughout Europe has resulted in chronic congestion, with many adverse consequences in terms of delays, noise and pollution. Every year nearly 100 billion euro, or 1% of the EU's GDP, are lost to the European economy as a result of this phenomenon. Further, air and noise pollution is getting worse by the year as urban traffic is responsible for 40% of the total CO2 emissions and 70% of the emissions of other pollutants. The number of road traffic accidents in urban areas is also growing each year, with one third involving fatalities (pedestrians and cyclists being the main victims).

Transport related challenges, similar to those described above are faced in Cyprus, as well. Especially, urban areas encounter increased congestion, road accidents, noise and air pollution. The transport sector contributes more than 25% to the greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore evident that there is a strong and urgent need for structural changes in the transport sector, including policies in order to bring about a change in the existing culture of people towards sustainable mobility. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) has set as priority to resolve such transport-related problems and a relevant and foremost sustainable Centre of Excellence can play a pivotal and crucial role towards this direction. Further to the need for a more efficient land transport sector, Cyprus is a leading shipping and ship management Centre (with around 7% of the GDP share), hence Cyprus needs to make informed and balanced policy decisions to enhance the capabilities of its maritime infrastructure in order to continue providing a meaningful role in the international maritime arena. Based on the above considerations the new CoE is expected to have great impact in the Cypriot society.

Thus the overall project objectives achieved in the context of Phase I are the followings:
1. It has been developed a strong relationship between the partners in order to lay the foundation stone for the long-term joint venture in the case of success at Phase 2.
2. Stakeholders from the public and private sector, municipalities, SMEs and NGOs have been actively involved in the whole process via two open “Stakeholders meetings” and more than 20 specific meetings in their organisations. As a result, 6 organizations decided to become members of the CoE Business Hub with an annual fee based on a loyalty scheme and more than 15 provided a letter of support expressing their interest for Phase 2 project and the potential to become members of the Business Hub as well.
3. They have been developed relations with some MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region countries showed their strong interest and support to the project for Phase 2.
4. They have been developed relations with several related European organisations stating their support and interest for Project Phase 2.
5. They have been used several ways for the communication and dissemination of the project such as website, social media, international conference presentation, press releases and others.
6. It has been developed a comprehensive Business Plan based on the project’s work plan.
The work performed from the beginning of the action until the end of the period followed the work plan. The work plan was divided into 7 work packages (WPs).

Work Package 1, Project Management & Quality Assurance: included the organisation, coordination and management of all the legal, financial, contractual and administrative issues surrounding the project.

Work package 2, Communication and Dissemination: included the organisation, oversight and coordination of the broader communication/ dissemination of the project operations to the relevant stakeholders and the wider public, including the European Commission, and the establishment of efficient communication among all project partners.

Work package 3, Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management: investigated mechanisms and actions to ensure the sustainability of the centre beyond the funding period, with special emphasis on the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Work package 4, Market: Investigated the competition and current state of the art analysis verifying their relevance to the Centre’s overall strategy and vision. In addition, they were defined specific target customers and the niche of the CoE.

Work Package 5, Development of the Centre’s Business Model: It carried out a detailed analysis of the CoE business model and the long term financial sustainability plan.

Work package 6, Development of the Centre’s Business Plan: Involved the SWOT and TOWS analyses, a risk analysis with a risk management and mitigation plan and the synthesis of the final Business Plan of the CoE.

Work package7, Ethics requirements: Set out the 'ethics requirements' that the project must comply (based on national and EU legislation) regarding the procedures that will be implemented for data collection, storage, protection, retention and destruction and; the informed consent procedures that will be implemented in regard to the collection, storage and protection of personal data.

The results for each of the above WPs are the relevant twelve deliverables submitted to EC. Other results are noted in the previous section in terms of achieving the overall objectives set out.
The impacts of this one-year Phase I project are briefly noted below:
l. The partner organisations incorporated in their long-term plans the involvement and strong engagement in the potential establishment of the new CoE at Phase II project and even further to the period of 7 years.
2. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works in Cyprus and the University of Cyprus decided to invest and support the establishment of the new CoE for a 15 year period with a significant financial and in-kind support.
3. Six organisations in Cyprus from the public and private sector and local authorities have also decided to invest in this effort at Phase II by becoming members of the Business Hub to receive niche consulting services for the CoE i.e. upgrading with this way their business services for the public.
4. More than 20 key organisations in Cyprus from the public and private sector and local authorities and some hundreds of citizens are more aware and have a better knowledge and culture about the need for promoting transport sustainability in Cyprus and EU in general.