The Lisbon European Council introduced a strategic goal for the EU 'to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010'. European Technology Platforms (ETPs) were established to contribute to this goal, focusing on strategic issues where achieving competitiveness and sustainable growth depends upon important technological advances. Led by industry, they bring together all stakeholders within a given sector to define medium- and long-term research and technological development objectives.
In the transport sector, ETPs were established for air, waterborne, rail and road modes, the latter one being ERTRAC - the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council, which was launched in June 2003. ERTRAC consisted of high level representatives from all road transport sectors including consumers, vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers, road infrastructure operators and developers, service providers, energy suppliers, research organisations, cities and regions as well as public authorities at both European Union and national level.
Its goals were to mobilise all stakeholders, develop a shared vision, and ensure timely, co-ordinated and efficient application of research resources to meet the continuing challenges of road transport and European competitiveness.
ERTRAC's funding under FP6 enables it to address the need to accelerate the development of sustainable, integrated transport solutions related to road transport, by providing a research framework to focus co-ordination efforts of public and private resources.
In particular, the objectives of this Co-ordination Action were to establish a Vision and a Strategic Research Agenda, in order to support the development of a truly sustainable road transport system.
The purpose of the ERTRAC Vision is to provide a vision of European road transport in 2020, particularly with respect to R&D focused on breakthrough technologies. The Strategic Research Agenda aims to set out strategies and road-maps to realise this vision.
The Vision and Strategic Research Agenda aim to address the key economic, technological, environmental and societal challenges of the 21st century for the road transport system, for instance:
- meeting the future demand for road transport and mobility;
- further improving road safety;
- promoting sustainable development;
- contributing to European security of energy supply;
- enhancing EU competitiveness;
- developing a fully integrated European transport system.
Due to the complexity of the issues and the number of stakeholders involved with road transport, ERTRAC structured the discussion and development of its 2020 Vision and Strategic Research Agenda around four pillars (while taking into account inter-dependencies between them):
- mobility, transport and infrastructure;
- safety and security;
- environment, energy and resources;
- design and production systems.
In order to carry out its work, ERTRAC was organised into a Plenary (a forum of all stakeholders), a Support Group (a management level working body) and a Work Group (expert support).
The ERTRAC Work Group was responsible for developing the Strategic Research Agenda, in consultation with ERTRAC members (including infrastructure providers, vehicle and fuel manufacturers and suppliers, non-governmental organisations, Member States, local governments and the European Commission). Extensive consultation also took place with other experts throughout Europe and a series of Workshops and internal reviews were held in order to reach consensus on each of the above four thematic 'pillars'.
The work involved the development of a logical flow from the vision statements in each pillar to the targets for 2020 and the description of the research areas needed to achieve them. Every effort was also made to incorporate the results of other relevant European studies and roadmap projects.
Although all research actions identified are considered to be priority, it was recognised that there are differences in the timing, technical difficulty, investment and other factors. Assessments of the 'Benefits to Society' and 'Difficulty to Achieve' were therefore given on a scale of 1 to 5 for each. Champions and Supporters were also identified for each research area. Champions take the initiative to lead the research and ensure the implementation of results, while Supporters conduct research and develop the required technologies. Champions and Supporters may be Industry, Research providers or Public bodies.
The ERTRAC document 'Vision 2020 and Challenges' was published in June 2004. This represents a consensus on the Vision 2020 and a summary of ERTRAC's work as it stood at that time. In addition to explaining the background and ERTRAC's organisation and mission, the document covered the following areas:
- Vision and challenges for 2020 and beyond, covering mobility of people and transport of goods; safety and security; environment, energy and resources; and competitive design and production systems.
- Structure and content of the 2020 Vision and Strategic Research Agenda.
- Realising the 2020 Vision and implementing the Strategic Research Agenda.
The Vision states that road transport must be seen as part of an integrated system and should comply with the principles of sustainable development. Research is crucial for the competitiveness of the road transport industries and services. Growing economic activity resulting from enlargement will require sustainable responses, as well as reliable and flexible solutions. Research will have to consider social trends and people's perceptions and preferences. A key challenge is to achieve and maintain global industry leadership through coordinated R&D. This necessitates co-ordination between research, education and training.
Major aspects of the vision are given in the 'Vision 2020 and Challenges' document (available on ERTRAC's website), and focus on the following high-level vision statements for the year 2020:
- Enhanced mobility, optimised and efficient seamless system;
- A safe and secure road transport system;
- A cleaner, quieter and more energy efficient road transport system; and
- Highly competitive and sustainable systems for products and services.
With the inputs from its stakeholders and invited road transport experts, ERTRAC developed a Strategic Research Agenda, published in December 2004. This document will be periodically updated, and the progress of the corresponding lines of research will be monitored. Ten research areas were identified (see under Policy implications), covering four themes, with expectations and targets given for each.
Specific research targets identified:
a) Mobility, Transport and Infrastructure:
- Provide the necessary solutions to improve mobility and satisfy the expected 32% increase in individual demand for travel from 2000 to 2020;
- Development of a series of robust indicators in o
Although much of the research proposed in ERTRAC's Strategic Research Agenda is technical, the output of the agenda is to recommend research actions, hence these recommendations are listed under Policy Implications.
The policy implications given are the research lines proposed by ERTRAC.
Theme A: Mobility, Transport and Infrastructure
1. Mobility of people
i) Mobility Concepts research for:
- Adequate provision for the elderly and disabled travelling population,
- Integrated vehicle and infrastructure systems, and where appropriate, dedicated infrastructure for motorised and non-motorised vehicles and guided vehicles,
- Quicker return to operation after maintenance and incidents to ensure the road space availability is maximised.
ii) Land Use planning and assessment research for:
- More cohesive strategies for urban design and local transport planning together with greater appreciation of environmental and societal effects,
- An understanding of behavioural issues and e-service influences that will be embedded in full-location based assessment models.
iii) Social Trends and Behaviour research to consider the evolution of mobility needs due to demographic changes and quality of life issues, including the effects of an ageing population, an increasingly mobile labour market, household budgets, housing issues, and personal security concerns.
iv) Mobility Management research into data collection techniques, business models and fiscal incentives, and traffic management.
v) Multimodal Interfaces research to:
- Investigate the links between different transport systems,
- Offer passengers integrated route planning supported by appropriate data collection architecture,
- Develop new concepts for intelligent and flexible infrastructure and for vehicles that interact seamlessly across modes.
vi) Information Provision research to:
- Increase the reliability of journey-times with comprehensive pre-and on-trip information,
- Provide vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure linkages that ensure optimum integration with other traffic and with traffic management systems.
2. Transport of goods
i) Business Processes research into on-line tracking and maximising the use of load space.
ii) Urban Transshipment research to consider:
- Appropriate location of depots and relations with extra-urban road transport and other modes,
- New concepts for urban-f