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Sustainable Surface Transport

Programme Type
Funding programme
European (European)
European Union
STRIA Roadmaps
Infrastructure (INF)


Background & Policy context

Surface transport plays a key role in people’s everyday lives and is a decisive factor in economic competitiveness and employment. The promotion of its sustainable development without sacrificing either economic growth or the freedom of movement has become a central objective of the European Union policy.


Surface transport has to face the challenge of supporting future economic development and subsequent traffic increase without degrading the quality of transport services and protecting the environment. Research and technology developments have an important role to play and are providing the European Transport System with innovative vehicle and vessel technology and new forms of transport organisation and infrastructure.

Strategic Objectives

The sustainable surface transport sub-programme addresses the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: New technologies and concepts for all surface transport modes (road, rail and waterborne).
  • Objective 2: Advanced design and production techniques.
  • Objective 3: Rebalancing and integrating different transport modes.
  • Objective 4: Increasing road, rail and waterborne safety and avoiding traffic congestion.
Programme organisation

The strategically important areas (and sub-areas) in which research should be concentrated are:


New technologies and concepts for all surface transport modes (road, rail and waterborne) Research will focus on:

  • high efficiency propulsion systems and their components, based on alternative and renewable fuels, taking into account the fuelling infrastructure;
  • development of zero or near zero emission propulsion systems and components, in particular those integrating fuel cells, hydrogen combustion and their fuelling infrastructure into the transport system;
  • integrated concepts for clean urban transport and rational use of the car in urban locations.


Advanced design and production techniques Research activities under this objective will focus on:

  • "transport-specific" advanced design and production techniques, in particular for one-of-a-kind production environments,
  • leading to improved quality,
  • safety, recycling,
  • comfort and cost-effectiveness of environmentally friendly vehicles (cars and trains) and
  • vessels.


Rebalancing and integrating different transport modes Research under this objective will focus on:

  • interoperable transport systems, to enable the interconnectivity of the transport networks, in particular enabling a competitive European railway system and the integration of a European vessel traffic information system;
  • intermodal transport services, technologies (e.g. harmonisation of unit loads) and systems, and advanced logistics.


Increasing road, rail and waterborne safety and avoiding traffic congestion Research will focus on:

  • strategies and technologies to increase road safety and to improve maritime safety;
  • concepts and systems for advanced human-vehicle, and vehicle-infrastructure interaction;
  • large-scale integration and validation platforms for intelligent transport systems (e.g. transport pricing, transport and traffic management and transport information), including satellite navigation applications, new vehicle types and operational procedures to increase capacity and safety, while respecting the environment (in particular in urban and sensitive areas).


Institution Type
Institution Name
European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Programme funding arrangements and funding conditions

The indicative budget allocated to the Sustainable Surface Transport sub-programme is EUR 670 million.

Participating countries


European Commission

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