Mobility and transport together represent a central socio-political issue in today's world. Mobility is a fundamental need in modern society - a prerequisite for economic success, social prosperity, and general satisfaction of all actors in society. Guaranteeing mobility in the future requires strategies which neither encroach on the general welfare of today's society nor threaten the foundations of future generations. The dynamic development of traffic - especially in regard to the growth of automobile traffic, the increasing tendency of travelling ever greater distances, the global networking of business relationships, and demographic change - poses an enormous scientific and technical challenge. The variety of activities necessary to meet this challenge will promise all that much more success when the different related national research programmes are co-ordinated with one another.
The future R&D activities of the German Federal Government should contribute to achievement of the following goals:
- sustainable management of mobility from an ecological, economic and social standpoint
- improvement of the performance, efficiency and safety of the transport system
- achievement of a higher level of international competitiveness
- safeguarding and creation of future-oriented jobs in the transportation industry.
The promotion of innovations in the transport sector can become more efficient through an early inter-connection with a multitude of technological development programmes. The most important transport related applications are core initiatives on information technology (IT), research into new materials, investigations into new production processes, and the development of energy transformer systems.
This transport research concept comprises an important step towards the harmonisation of goals and fields of activity on the federal level. This implies interaction with transport research activities led by the following ministries: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing (BMVBW), Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA), and Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).
Furthermore, the integration with technology development programmes, the participation of federal states and fine-tuning with the EU's framework programmes are addressed.
Funding is provided for research and development as well as demonstration projects which aim to promote sustainable mobility and contribute to creating an efficient and safe transport system.
The most important ongoing funding activities include the lead projects for improving mobility in conurbations, which develop and demonstrate systems solutions for transport in big cities. Furthermore funding is provided for project networks to increase the efficiency of freight traffic (Flexible Transport Chains), to reduce environmental stress caused by traffic - particularly road traffic (Towards Minimal Emission) - and to increase road safety (Safer Roads). As mobility and transport take place in a constantly changing social environment, relevant activities will include the interdisciplinary study of the social aspects of individual mobility (A Better Understanding of Mobility and Transport).
All commercial and non-commercial institutions and individuals are eligible for funding. Depending upon the subject, these include in particular institutions of higher education, non-university research establishments and similar institutions, business enterprises, territorial authorities and associations. In some cases, calls for proposals are addressed to specific groups of potential applicants. The focus is on projects which involve co-operation by several partners who, in an interdisciplinary approach and on the basis of shared responsibility, develop highly innovative solutions for the above-mentioned funding activities and/or try to demonstrate their suitability for practical application and which, by involving or co-operating with science, industry and the planning sector, aim to ensure utilisation of the research results on the broadest possible scale.
Dr Peter Rüenaufer (Head of PT MVBW)
2/ TÜV-Akademie Rheinland GmbH, Projektträger Mobilität und Verkehr,
Bauen und Wohnen des BMBF (PT MVBW)