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CIVITAS Activity Fund and training opportunities boost urban transport

CIVITAS Activity Fund and training opportunities boost urban transport

6 Oct 2015: 

The CIVITAS Initiative, which works to promote and support cleaner and better transport in cities, launched the fourth and final call to its Activity Fund on 1 October.

The Activity Fund co-finances projects which involve the transfer of successful measures from ‘pioneer’ cities to ‘take-up’ cities. Applications to the fourth call, which offers €80,000 in co-financing, should relate to one of the 10 CIVITAS Thematic Categories, as well as a series of proven CIVITAS Tools.

Applications may be submitted individually or jointly by organisations that have not already been involved in projects funded by the CIVITAS Initiative. Organisations applying for funding need to be established in an EU Member State or Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland or Turkey. The call will be open for seven weeks, with an application deadline of 20 November.

Additionally, the CIVITAS Learning Centre recently released four new e-courses on bike-sharing, public involvement, traffic and mobility fundamentals, and mobility management. The Learning Centre will also organise in-person trainings until August 2016 on an ongoing basis. Finally, the Learning Centre runs the CIVITAS placement programme, where municipal mobility staff can learn from their colleagues in a number of leading CIVITAS cities.

For more information:

TSC launches IMExchange - Join the conversation!

TSC launches IMExchange - Join the conversation!

6 Oct 2015: 

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) has launched an online “Intelligent Mobility” knowledge sharing community ( in a bid to bring transport professionals together to create integrated and smart solutions to today’s transport issues.

The TSC is highlighting that the emergence of the Intelligent Mobility Industry and the technology it represents will inevitably disrupt and challenge traditional transport services, forcing transport professionals to rethink their long term development strategies. IMExchange will help transport leaders and academics discuss and engage with Intelligent Mobility so they can profit from the opportunities it presents.

According to research commissioned by the Transport Systems Catapult in 2014, the Intelligent Mobility market is estimated to grow from its current annual value of around £140bn to just over £900bn a year by 2025. Encompassing everything from autonomous vehicles to seamless journey systems and multi-modal modelling software, Intelligent Mobility uses emerging technologies to enable the smarter, greener and more efficient movement of people and goods around the world.

Discussing the implications, TSC Chief Technology Officer Dr Paul Zanelli said:

“With the emergence of new technologies like driverless vehicles and the establishment of smart phone technology as a central part of our lives, transport professionals will increasingly be forced into a paradigm shift in thinking. It is no longer sufficient to think merely in terms of individual modes such as rail transport or road networks. Experts need to look outside of their fields to see how new technology will affect their services and what opportunities it presents. IMExchange can help to achieve this through discussion and knowledge sharing.”

Dr Zanelli was also keen to point out the opportunities which are emerging.

“The rise of Intelligent Mobility presents challenges for transport leaders, but the opportunities are also great. With the value of the Intelligent Mobility industry increasing exponentially, businesses who take the lead in developing smart, connected solutions are set to profit in the future whilst others are left behind. IMExhchange will provide professionals with an access point to the knowledge they need to get this right. It is the mission of IMExchange to help professionals to find the right answer from the right expert – and in return help the expert to build their industry reputation online.”

About IMExchange

IMExchange ( is a free knowledge exchange platform, hosted by the TSC in order to bring industry professionals closer together, to create an online repository of knowledge and to reward top experts. The system can be accessed via mobile phone at work or in transit. Users can search top IM content to questions they have, post a free question that is routed to the best experts and answer any open question to gain reputation points and rewards offered by TSC, like industry certificates, educational courses and job opportunities.

World Leaders commit to new sustainable development agenda calling for more public transport


6 Oct 2015: 

Global leaders from all nations agreed on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for our planet at the three-day UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York (25-27 September).

The 17 goals aim to eradicate poverty and secure economic, social and environmentally sustainable development over the next 15 years.

For the world to achieve these ambitious goals, it is crucial to utilise the strength of the public transport sector. This is because sustainable transport solutions are necessary to achieve several of the UN’s development goals, and there is a specific target on the need to expand public transport for the cities of the future (SGD 11).

Public transport is a key component if the world is to achieve the objectives of economic growth, sustainable infrastructure and to limit climate change

However, public transport is also a key component if the world is to achieve the objectives of economic growth, sustainable infrastructure and naturally, to limit climate change. This will require urban transport systems that are accessible to everyone and that benefits trade and business in a sustainable way.

Progress will be made only if the Goals and targets are approached in a holistic, integrated manner—and advances in funding sustainable public transport, which links so many of the Goals, will be critical.

Secondly, we need to ensure that we track progress made on meeting the targets so that national governments can put in place the appropriate policies and investment. It is for this reason that UITP and around 130 of its members around the globe have made a new commitment to enhance reporting towards the Goals, through theUITP Sustainability Charter. The network will help the public transport sector to better report progress which in turn will support national governments deliver on their commitment to ‘expand’ public transport.

For the climate talks in Paris that will be concluded at the end of the year (COP21) to be a success, a shared understanding on the complementarily of sustainable development, economic growth and climate responsibility is needed. The Goals have the potential to provide coherence in international efforts but importantly, provide a clear signal on where to invest. This new commitment combined with the UITP Sustainability Charter will be a key part of the ‘solution agenda’ for transport at COP21.

For the past years, UITP has been working with UN member states to raise awareness of the importance of public transport to the future sustainable development agenda. Our voice has clearly been heard and will continue to be as an adviser to the UN through its membership of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s high level advisory group for sustainable transport[1].

Upon the launch of the new agenda, Gunnar Heipp, the chair of the UITP Sustainable Development Commission said “Public transport is particularly important in fast-growing cities in the developing world. We have an historic opportunity to facilitate adequate policies that will avoid unsustainable practices as cities grow, strengthening better services and incentivising the use of clean means of public transport and the UITP Charter can be a key means to facilitate this.”

“Everybody is committed to these goals – governments are committed, civil society is committed, academia is committed, the private sector is committed – everyone owns these sustainable development goals,” explained Nikhil Seth, Director of UN DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development.


Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce pledge to halve aviation emissions

Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce pledge to halve aviation emissions

6 Oct 2015: 

The world’s leading aviation companies have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the sector as part of the United Nations-led effort to secure a historic climate deal in Paris in December.

Twenty-eight signatories, including executives from Airbus, Boeing, and Rolls-Royce, published an open letter on Wednesday, with a commitment to stabilise GHG emissions from 2020 and cut them by 50 per cent by 2050 from a 2005 baseline.

To achieve the ambitious targets, the signatories emphasised the need to introduce a new carbon market before the 2016 summit of UN aviation authority, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The letter says: “It’s a challenging task. But it is one to which the aviation industry is fully committed.”

The signatories, representing more than 90 per cent of global airline traffic and about US$1 trillion of annual revenue, called on governments to support the targets.

The Air Transport Action Group coordinated the letter and their Executive Director, Michael Gill, said: “This is an influential set of business leaders adding their voice to those supporting climate action in the lead-up to the COP21 negotiations in Paris and one year ahead of aviation’s own climate deadline.”

Industry leaders are aiming to meet rising demand for air travel without increasing emissions from 2020 onwards in an effort that will include improving fuel efficiency, developing biofuels and offsetting unavoidable emissions.

Recycling energy from Tube trains to power stations

Recycling energy from Tube trains to power stations

30 Sep 2015: 

A world-first trial that uses the latest technology to collect waste energy from Tube train brakes has captured enough power to run a large Underground station - opening the way for significant savings across the network.

London Underground (LU) used the new 'inverter' system at the Cloudesley Road substation on the Victoria line for a five-week trial, and in just one week of operation, the new technology recovered enough power to run a station as large as Holborn for more than two days per week.

The results show that the new green technology could allow LU to tap into a previously inaccessible resource, reducing its overall carbon footprint and saving as much as £6m every year for reinvestment in improving transport.

As well as saving energy, the technology has the added benefit of lessening the amount of heat generated by trains braking in tunnels, which in turn would reduce the energy required to operate LU's cooling systems.

The results indicated that 1 Megawatt hour (MWh) of energy can be captured per day - enough to power 104 homes per year.

Matthew Pencharz, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said:

'The results of this project are really exciting and show huge potential for harnessing some of the immense energy in our Tube trains. The trial puts London at the cutting edge of this kind of technology and clearly demonstrates how energy from trains can be recovered to power Tube stations, making the network more environmentally friendly and cost effective. This complements our wider work to make other forms of public transport cleaner and greener, including our buses, where we have introduced hybrid and zero-emission technology.'

Chris Tong, LU's Head of Power and Cooling, said:

'This state-of-the-art regenerative braking system has the potential to transform how we power stations across the TfL network, unlocking massive power savings and significantly reducing our energy bills. We are committed to doing more to reduce our energy use, and this technology - a world first for metro railways - is one of a number of innovations we're embracing to lower our environmental impact.'

The trial follows a number of other measures put in place by the Mayor and Transport for London to 'green' the Capital's Tube system. In January, it was announced the historic Greenwich Power Station would be revamped to transform it into a low-carbon power generator for the Tube network. Its six new gas engines will replace existing boilers and provide cheaper, cleaner power for the Tube, with waste heat being channelled into a new local heat network that will also benefit residents.

LU is carrying out its largest programme of modernisation in decades, with major stations, trains, track and control systems being updated or replaced to meet the needs of the rapidly growing city and provide a 30 per cent increase in capacity across the Tube network.

Source: TfL

Cycling revolution goes electric

Cycling revolution goes electric

29 Sep 2015: 

£700,000 competition supports hire schemes across the country with hundreds of new electric bicycles to get more people cycling.

Cycle-hire schemes across the country will receive hundreds of electric bikes to make cycling more accessible, Transport Minister Andrew Jones announced today (28 September 2015).

The ‘e-bikes’, which offer battery-assisted pedalling at the flick of a switch, will make it easier for people who are keen to cycle more but who may be put off by hilly routes or not having cycled regularly.

Winners of the £700,000 fund include commuter cycle-hubs at railway stations and park & rides, a hilly campus university encouraging students to cycle to lectures, and a tourist hire scheme for cycle-getaways on the Isle of Wight.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and today’s announcement will provide an opportunity for thousands more to enjoy the advantages they offer.

Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.

We want to double the number of journeys made by bicycle. That is why we are also investing over the next five years in cycle training and infrastructure.

The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Sharing Pilot Scheme is the latest announcement backing the government’s commitment to double the number of cycle journeys by encouraging people of all ages and abilities to get on their bikes.

The winning schemes will offer a variety of opportunities to hire the e-bikes, devised by local organisations up and down the country. Tourists and occasional riders can hire the bikes for one-off Boris Bike-style sessions, while regular users can register with local car clubs to use the e-bikes for as little as £1 an hour.

Successful proposals include:

  • 70 e-bikes at an existing popular travel hub in Rotherham to attract commuters who previously do not cycle.
  • a new tourist cycle-hire scheme offering 25 e-bikes to visitors to the Isle of Wight making it easier to see more of the island by bike
  • a housing association setting up a trial to install 18 e-bikes in low-income communities to provide cheaper, convenient and more accessible travel
  • the University of Brighton providing 20 e-bikes to encourage more students to cycle the hilly route between their Eastbourne campus and Eastbourne railway station
  • Plymouth receiving an expansion of 20 e-bikes to reduce car dependency at Park & Ride sites and offer a ‘try before you buy’ offer for local residents
  • a start-up of 24 e-bikes located at four hubs across Bristol, including Temple Meads station and Avon Fire and Rescue service.
  • 16 e-bikes adding to an already popular bike-hire scheme in Oxford targeting the city’s residents, students and hospital workers.

Alistair Kirkbride, Director of Carplus, an organisation that will assist many of the successful schemes, said:

Riding an electric bike is like cycling with the wind behind you. Electric bikes have been shown to encourage more people to cycle more often. By supporting electric cycles in shared bikes networks it will enable a greater number of people to enjoy the benefits in more locations.

A full list of the winning schemes, including the location and number of e-bikes they will receive has been published.

Horizon 2020 Green Vehicle Initiative project ‘HDGAS’

Horizon 2020 Green Vehicle Initiative project ‘HDGAS’

23 Sep 2015: 

Partners in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Green Vehicle Initiative project ‘HDGAS’ – a project that aims to develop, demonstrate and optimize advanced powertrain concepts for dual-fuel and pure natural gas powered heavy duty vehicles have been announced

Long haul trucks are an essential element of the transportation mix of modern, industrialized society. They are, however, inherently less amenable to the type of electrification and hybridization strategies that are already contributing to reduced carbon emissions and potential long-term sustainability for the light vehicle sector. A key global imperative is, therefore, the substantial improvement of heavy vehicle engine efficiency and reduction of environmental impact. The primary objectives of HDGAS are to deliver improved fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions whilst also meeting current Euro VI emissions standards. It aims to develop technologies to address this need whilst also meeting or exceeding the latest Euro VI regulated emissions standards, as well as achieving in-use compliance under real-world driving conditions and CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

One of 19 collaborating EU commercial and academic partners on the HDGAS project is Ricardo Plc. Particular areas of focus for the company will be the development of engine and aftertreatment systems that offer the prospect of delivering real driving emissions well below Euro VI limits for heavy duty vehicles. Specifically, the aim of the new systems is to demonstrate improvements of in the region of ten percent in torque, power, fuel efficiency and GHG emissions reduction. Through extensive use of simulation methods, Ricardo aims to create a heavy duty natural gas version of its direct injection combustion system that has already been used to great effect in ultra-clean gasoline engines. Technologies that will be investigated in this endeavour include a conceptual study of liquid natural gas direct injection and the application of high energy ignition system based on corona discharge.

Advanced dual fuel and pure natural gas aftertreatment specification, development and testing is also a critical part the work of the HDGAS project, and an area where Ricardo will lead several partners of the consortium. This work will aim to provide important knowledge around the challenge of controlling tailpipe methane emissions and the impact of natural gas on some of the conventional aftertreatment technologies that might be applied, such as the risk of methane poisoning of SCR catalysts. Having specified the system requirements based on simulation and analysis, this information will be used as the basis for rig testing and development followed by incorporation of the technology on the four new heavy duty natural gas powertrains developed within the project. These will include the Ricardo lean burn direct injection engine and the three other engines being developed by the partners on the project. Ricardo will then complete a Euro VI calibration of the aftertreatment system on the lean burn engine.

“For future heavy commercial vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a critical priority,” commented Dr Andrew Noble, Ricardo head of heavy duty engines. “A promising route towards this goal is the more widespread use of natural gas as an alternative to conventional liquid fossil fuels such as diesel. However, the adoption of natural gas power for commercial vehicles faces several technical challenges which are being addressed by the HDGAS project. Ricardo is very pleased to be a partner in HDGAS, contributing innovative technologies in collaboration with the other partners. We look forward to working towards the goal of demonstrating efficient lean burn engines and aftertreatment systems for all the candidate mono- and dual-fuel natural gas engine types.”

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