The specific programme for Transport RTD formed part of the first activity of the Fourth Framework Programme (FP4) within the sub-area 'Transport', and build on the experience and achievements of the first phase of the EURET programme under the Second Framework Programme.
The programme supported the development and implementation of the common transport policy, as articulated in the Commission Communication on the future of the common transport policy (COM (93) 494 final).
Research contributed to the development, integration and management of a more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly transport system which was to ensure the sustainable mobility of goods and persons.
The main aims of the Transport RTD Programme were:
- to develop a more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly transport system for passengers and goods;
- to facilitate the interconnection and interoperability of the separate transport networks
- to increase the efficiency of each individual mode and improve cooperation between them;
- to promote the design and management of infrastructure with a view to reducing the damage to the environment and improving
- the quality/price ratio; and
- to provide industry, transport operators and users, and authorities with the appropriate decision-making instruments based on better knowledge and understanding of mobility, traffic flows, their interactions and interdependencies.
The overall objective of the specific programme was to contribute to the optimization of transport systems in the Community by means of prenormative and prelegislative research. This was to be achieved by a coordinated dual approach, focusing on a strategy which would, firstly, provide the basis for a trans-European multimodal network through research into the general functioning of the transport system and, secondly, conduct specific research concerning the optimization of the individual networks.
Research activities in both areas would cover both general policy concerns (competitiveness, safety, energy and environment) and the different geographical levels (European, national, regional, urban).
The Transport RTD programme was organised and executed in four dedicated calls for proposals, commencing in December 1994 and ending in March 1998.
Funding was generally on a 50% cost-shared basis (100% of additional costs for certain contractors), but went up to 100% for preparatory, accompanying and support measures, and specific measures such as action to promote standardisation, and measures to provide general tools to research centres, universities and undertakings.
Community funding was also available to cover up to 100% of the costs of the coordination in concerted actions. The bulk of strategic research projects was fully EC funded.
Particular RTD activities included:
- shared-cost actions (financial participation between 35 % and 75 % of total eligible costs);
- training fellowships (financial participation up to 100 % of additional eligible costs);
- research training and thematic networks (financial participation up to 100 % of eligible costs);
- concerted actions (financial participation up to 100 % of eligible costs); and
- accompanying measures (financial participation up to 100 % of eligible costs).
Supporting the research needs of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and encouraging their participation in research is a priority for the European Commission. Two mechanisms to encourage such participation in the programme have been Co-operative Research (CRAFT) Awards and Exploratory Awards, where 50 % and 75 %, respectively, have been financed by the EC. Simplified SME access has been organised through a single entry point at the Commission for project proposals, a dedicated SME info desk and an information pack.
The total planned funding of the Transport RTD programme amounted to some 240 million euro.