Transport and Innovation: Commission pushes to accelerate development and market uptake of new transport technologies


Published 18.September 2012 


The European Commission launches today an initiative to coordinate and focus European research and innovation in transport. The aim is to speed up the deployment of new transport means and solutions to achieve a competitive and affordable European transport system. The definition of a set of roadmaps focusing on the deployment of technologies and innovation in 10 critical areas of transport will start in September 2012.


“Transport is essential to Europe's economy. If we do not invest more in research and innovation, Europe's leadership would be compromised, Europeans’ ability to travel and the costs of goods could be severely impacted, with direct consequences on the overall competitiveness of the EU economy. This new initiative will help our transport system to develop into an even more efficient, sustainable and user-friendly system to reach our mobility goals. It will impact positively on growth and jobs in Europe.”, said Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Transport.


“Smart, green and integrated transport is one of the challenges identified in our Horizon 2020 proposal. European research will continue to bring benefits to the transport industry and to citizens. We will work together with the stakeholders and Commission services to produce viable roadmaps for the most strategic transport technologies.” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.


Key objectives clearly defined

The initiative launched today by the Commission, in the form of a Communication, lists ten different fields of interest for which roadmaps towards deployment will be developed:

  1. Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart road vehicles
  2. Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart aircraft
  3. Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart vessels
  4. Clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart rail vehicles
  5. Smart, green, low-maintenance and climate-resilient infrastructure
  6. Europe-wide alternative fuel distribution infrastructures
  7. Efficient modal traffic management systems (including capacity and demand management)
  8. Integrated cross-modal information and management services
  9. Seamless logistics
  10. Integrated and innovative urban mobility and transport


Industry, the public sector and other stakeholders involved in bringing innovative transport technologies and services to the market will be invited to participate in further developing and implementing this strategy, for example by agreeing common targets, coordinating development and deployment agenda's, considering the needs for standards and identifying funding implications.



The White Paper on Transport (2011) highlights the need to join European efforts to reach ambitious targets in areas such as clean vehicles, sustainable alternative fuels, intelligent infrastructure and sustainable urban mobility.


Reaching the targets will require the development and deployment of new technologies. Support for a coordinated strategy to do this was confirmed in a stakeholder consultation carried out in 2011. Reports presenting a scientific assessment of transport technologies and mapping the innovation capacities of the European transport sector were published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in support to this strategy.


Several proposed Commission funding resources will be used to support a new transport system in Europe:

  • Horizon 2020, the next framework programme for research and innovation, has a proposed budget of €6.8 billion euros for research and innovation on "smart, green and integrated transport".
  • The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) has a proposed budget of €31.7 billion to modernise Europe's transport infrastructure, build missing links and remove bottlenecks. This includes €10 billion ring-fenced in the Cohesion Fund for transport projects in cohesion countries, with the remaining €21.7 billion available for all Member States.
  • The programme for the Competitiveness of Entreprises and Small and Medium-sized Entreprises (COSME) will, among others, help small and medium-sized entrerprises to access finance and new markets. Its proposed budget is €2.5 billion.




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