As emerging markets experienced unprecedented economic growth, their transport and mobility needs increased. Problems such as road accidents, congestion, and air pollution are faced worldwide. The SIMBA project recognised that EU cooperation with emerging markets in developing the technologies within the fields of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), infrastructure and automotive development to improve road safety and mobility is a pre-requisite to continued economic growth in all regions, as well as to better the quality of life for citizens.
SIMBA aimed to increase road transport research cooperation between Europe and the emerging markets of Brazil, China, India, and South Africa by establishing a collaboration network that would bring together the key stakeholders in the fields of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), infrastructure and automotive development.
The objectives of SIMBA were to increase road safety, mobility and transport efficiency through the exchange of technological know-how and best practices. The project mapped national and regional research activities, policies and future requirements as well as organised regular events in order to establish each country's priorities and define areas for future joint road transport cooperation.
In order to achieve the goals, the SIMBA project:
- prepared, supported and facilitated the rapid adoption and transfer of technologies and research results;
- defined R&D priorities and future cooperation areas;
- made recommendations for new innovative road research activities to be launched locally and in the EU;
- increased the visibility of the European industry and support the industry to respond to emerging business opportunities.
This was done through the following three enablers: ITS, automotive technological development and road infrastructure. The main activities of SIMBA were to organise events in the EU and the emerging markets (EM) that served as a means for fostering closer ties between Europe and the EM in the road transport sector and exchanging knowledge in the fields of ITS, road infrastructure and automotive technological development. The main outcome was transnational networks of key road transport stakeholders that helped define the priorities, research needs and future cooperation areas for road transport.
Through the project activities, including two research reports (priority areas definition; national research development and policies), project meetings and exchange of information with key stakeholders, monitoring relevant developments in EM, the following exploitable results have been generated:
- the definition of priority areas for SIMBA cooperation where there is mutual interest to cooperate and drive forward progress in EM;
- key networks built up and expression of interest for joining SIMBA expert working groups on priority ITS, automotive and infrastructure topics;
- awareness of European Commission initiative in EM and the possible deployment of European technologies in EM (by national governments, industry, academia and NGOs);
- awareness of EM needs, priorities and context by EU stakeholders (policy makers, road operators, industry, research, associations);
- identification of strong demand from Europe and EM to cooperate within this domain and identification that there are mutually beneficial outcomes;
- input from broad stakeholders on key future actions.
As a major component of the project, SIMBA held a number of cooperation events in each of the targeted regions. Regional priority workshops and national events involve both local and European stakeholders (experts from research institutes, authorities, industries and SMEs in the field of ITS, infrastructure and vehicle technologies) to discuss and prioritise the most promising research areas based on their individual national policies and possible issues for future cooperation. From these the national representatives of the SIMBA countries provided detailed input on the main topics for possible cooperation.
For cooperation projects, the following topics appear to offer good opportunities for strong collaboration:
- Electronic toll collection;
- ITS for public transport;
- integrated traffic management;
- incident detection and emergency response;
- pavement management systems / bridge management systems;
- alternative and recycled construction materials;
- heavy vehicles and road wear;
- alternative fuels;
- vehicle and pedestrian safety;
- public transport systems based on buses;
- goods transport;
- security systems.