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Energy Union and Climate Action: Driving Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy
20 Jul 2016:

The Commission today presents a package of measures to accelerate the transition to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy in Europe.

The Commission is working to keep the EU competitive as the global social economic model changes following the impetus to move towards a modern and low-carbon economy set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Today's proposals set clear and fair guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future and keep Europe competitive. This is part and parcel of the Energy Union and a forward-looking Climate Change policy.

In 2014 the EU agreed to a clear commitment: to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels across all sectors of the economy. Today's proposals present binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for Member States from 2021-2030 for the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry sectors as contributors to EU climate action (see Fact sheetMEMO/16/2499 and Fact sheet MEMO/16/2496). The new framework is based on the principles of fairness, solidarity, cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity. All Member States are concerned, as they will be in the forefront in deciding how to implement the measures to meet the agreed 2030 target. The Commission is also presenting a strategy on low-emission mobility setting the course for the development of EU-wide measures on low and zero-emission vehicles and alternative low-emissions fuels (see Fact sheet MEMO/16/2497).

Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said:"The Energy Union is delivering. With the proposed reform of the Emissions Trading System last year and today's proposal on greenhouse gas emissions targets for Member States, we anchor the 2030 Energy and Climate framework in legislation. We are also setting our transport system firmly on the path towards zero-emissions. Today's package shows that we are mobilising all our policies towards the competitive, circular and low-carbon economy that we promised in the Energy Union Strategy".

Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: "This strategy is more than about transport and emissions. It should be seen as yet another element of our efforts to modernise European economy and strengthen our Internal Market. It defines key priorities on the way to low-emission mobility and gives clear guidance for future investors. It contributes to our goals which do not change over time – we want to create conditions for our industry to be more competitive and able to provide quality jobs."

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "The EU has an ambitious emissions reduction target, one I am convinced we can achieve through the collective efforts of all Member States. The national binding targets we are proposing are fair, flexible and realistic. They set the right incentives to unleash investments in sectors like transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management. With these proposals, we are showing that we have done our homework and that we keep our promises.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Transport accounts for a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and is a main cause of air pollution. The transition to low-emission mobility is therefore essential to reach the EU's ambitious climate objectives and to improve the quality of life in our cities. It is also an opportunity to modernise the EU's economy and keep Europe's industry competitive. The Strategy we adopted today presents a roadmap towards low-emission mobility and will give an impetus to that shift."

In the EU, efforts have already started to align private investments with climate and resource-efficiency objectives. The EU financial instruments are significant contributors to climate funding. Over 50% of the investments approved so far are climate relevant. As part of the Investment Plan for Europe, the European Fund for Strategic Investments is on track to deliver on mobilising at least EUR 315 billion in additional investment in the real economy by mid-2018. In addition, the Commission actively works to ensure that the EU budget spending is aligned with climate objectives. At least 20% of the current EU budget is explicitly climate related.

New report sets out a different future for how we travel
20 Jul 2016:

A new report published by the Transport Systems Catapult suggests we are at the beginning of a “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) revolution. MaaS will change how many of us travel and may see a move away from traditional car ownership.

The TSC is calling on policy makers and the private sector to work towards a shared vision for how to make MaaS a success.   The report highlights what the future of MaaS could look like and how policy makers and the transport sector can innovate to meet the changing expectations of consumers.

Several trends identified in the report support future growth of MaaS: consumers are increasingly expecting their transport to be delivered as a ‘service’. Adoption of MaaS would also incentivise technological advances around improving journey experiences.

James Datson, lead author of the report explained:

MaaS is about using a digital interface to source and manage transport related services to meet customer needs. Key influencers are now talking seriously about MaaS from an innovation perspective, as it embodies what many of us working in the transport industry see as the future. 

There are many opportunities ahead – it’s an exciting time for investors and for the travelling public. The private sector sees MaaS as an opportunity to offer customers better journeys, and the public sector can embrace MaaS to help address the UK’s transport challenges.”

The report suggests that the rewards of moving from existing business models that focus on single modes of transport, to the provision of flexible end-to-end travel services, could be significant. MaaS can address many of thepain points in journeys and enable policy makers to make more efficient use of transport assets.

Lucy Yu, Head of Mobility as a Service at the DfT and CCAV, said:

The idea of buying and selling mobility as a service represents a profound change in the way we think about transportation. Although the market will not transform overnight, clear signs of a shift are already present as well as the possibility for joint value creation across the public and commercial sectors.

MaaS offers a compelling opportunity to help local and regional areas meet their policy objectives in relation to the economy, congestion and pollution, as well as a potential means for re-framing how government subsidises and provides public transport services in the future.

The report ‘Exploring the Opportunity for Mobility as a Service in the UK’ was commissioned by the Department for Transport and seeks to help define what MaaS is, how it can help us travel, and what the future could look like once it becomes mainstream. You can read the complete report at

Finnish company providing Californian cities with renewable fuels
20 Jul 2016:

Finland-based energy company Neste, a global leader in providing renewable fuel made with waste and residues, is now providing fuel for the city of Carlsbad in California.

Neste Renewable Diesel also provides fuel for the Californian cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Walnut Creek.

Changing from petroleum diesel to renewable diesel is designed to help Carlsbad reduce its diesel fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 per cent.

Kaisa Hietala, executive vice president of renewable products at Neste, said: “Many cities and corporations worldwide are now looking at ways to reduce emissions and carbon footprint... In the United States, California is leading the way.”

Using this alternative fuel also helps improving air quality thanks to the reduction of tailpipe emissions.

Neste’s diesel will be used by the city of Carlsbad to power heavy-duty vehicles such as fire trucks, dump trucks and vacuum trucks.

Hietala underlined: “Switching to our product doesn’t require any additional investments on infrastructure or engine modifications... Fleets can switch to renewable diesel overnight.”

Neste diesel is provided to cities under the brand name Diesel HPR by the largest retailer of low carbon fuels in California, Proper Fuels.

Mercedes-Benz reveals bus of the future
20 Jul 2016:

The world’s first autonomous bus made its debut on a pilot run through a major European capital city this week.

The Future Bus, from Mercedes-Benz, successfully drove itself 12 miles from Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport in the Netherlands to the town of Haarlem, using a system called CityPilot.

The bus is the German company’s vision for public transportation in the future and uses cameras, radar and connected data to drive itself. The CityPilot system uses essentially the same technology as HighwayPilot, a system which it developed on the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck, first seen in 2014.

Citypilot is refined to enable it to navigate busy areas, and is able to recognise traffic lights, communicate with them and safely negotiate junctions controlled by them. It can also recognise obstacles such as pedestrians and cyclists on the road, and brake autonomously. At bus stops, it automatically opens and closes its doors, and  can drive through tunnels with no loss of GPS communication.

A total of 11 cameras scan the road and surroundings, while long and short-range radar systems constantly monitor the route ahead. Using data fusion, which brings together GPS, radar, 3 and 4G and the camera data, the bus can be positioned on the road to within centimetres.

To prove it, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated the Future Bus, which is just less than 40 feet long and based on the Citaro low roof single decker, on Europe’s longest rapid transport bus route – the 12 miles from Amsterdam Schipol to Haarlem, which includes a number of tight bends, tunnels, numerous bus stops and high speeds for a city bus, as well as the more traditional urban hazards.

Mercedes-Benz says the driver only needs to take control when the bus faces oncoming traffic, in line with local laws, and does not need to intervene in any way, though he or she remains in place at all times.

£24 million boost for reduced emissions freight
20 Jul 2016:

The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) and the government-led innovation agency, Innovate UK, are to invest up to £24 million into schemes that reduce emissions from freight, it was announced this week.

OLEV is now inviting consortia, including academic institutions, freight operators and small-to-medium enterprise business, to bid for a slice of the funding, applications for which are open until October 12.

The focus of the scheme will be trialling new technology in a real world environment, and any syndicate bidding for funding will need to prove its idea will significantly reduce emissions in freight, logistics, utility, or emergency vehicle use. Funding will be available across both the heavy and light commercial vehicle sectors.

The primary objective of the low-emission freight trials is to encourage the growth of ultra-low carbon vehicles, helping the UK meet increasingly stringent CO2 reduction targets.

Two streams of funding are being made available. The first relates to vehicle development, or high-tech on-vehicle technology – the aim being to test and validate new systems before they come onto the market.

The second stream will concentrate on ‘disruptive technology’ that focuses on emissions reduction. These are new or innovative types of business model or on-vehicle technology that challenge or overturn traditional methods.

Project bid registrations must be received by 12 October 2016.

New measures to help Britain lead the way in developing driverless technology
20 Jul 2016:

A major consultation to help pave the way for automated cars to be used on British roads is being launched, with all drivers invited to have their say.

Under the proposed measures, rules will be changed so automated vehiclescan be insured for use on the roads.

In addition, the Highway code and regulations are to be altered so advanced driver assistance systems that change lanes on the motorway and park the vehicle by remote control can be used safely.

Separately, the government will next month launch a competition for a further £30 million from the Intelligent Mobility Fund, for research and development of innovative connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

This builds on the first £20 million awarded to a number of projects in February, and ensures the UK is able to take advantage of the latest technological developments in driverless cars research. An additional £19 million fund is also paving the way for driverless car projects in Greenwich, Bristol, and a joint project in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

The government is determined that Britain leads the way globally in embracing the safe development of driverless technology.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

Driverless car technology will revolutionise the way we travel and deliver better journeys.

Britain is leading the way but I want everyone to have the chance to have a say on how we embrace and use these technologies.

Our roads are already some of the safest in the world and increasing advanced driver assist and driverless technologies have the potential to help cut the number of accidents further.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Britain’s auto industry has always been at the forefront of innovation and research. This additional £30 million of funding for reseach and development (R&D) is a further sign of our commitment to making sure we’re creating opportunities for UK businesses to thrive and attract global investment in world-class technology.

Cars with advanced driver assistance features, like remote control parking and motorway assist, are expected to be on sale in Britain in the next 2 to 4 years with automated and driverless vehicles expected on the roads any time from the mid-2020s onwards.

Advanced driver assistance systems and ‘self-driving’ technologies will transform travel helping deliver safer, smoother and smarter road journeys.

The consultation on the 2 changes is due to get underway today (11 July 2016) and will last for 9 weeks. It is the start of a rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles.

Under the proposals:

  • the ‘Highway code’ and regulations will be changed to support the safe use of remote control parking and motorway assist features

  • insurance law will be changed so that, in the future, motorists who have handed control to their ‘self-driving’ cars can be insured properly

The proposed changes to insurance will be brought forward in the Modern Transport Bill. Motor insurance will remain compulsory but will be extended to cover product liability for automated vehicles.

When a motorist has handed control to their vehicle, they can be reassured that their insurance will be there if anything goes wrong.

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said:

The ABI’s Automated Driving Insurer Group has been engaged in constructive and productive discussions with the DfT for many months now so it is good to see the importance of insurance to the vehicles of the future recognised within this consultation. The development of automated driving will revolutionise motoring, potentially as important a road safety innovation as the seatbelt. Insurers strongly support the Government’s ambition of making the UK a world leader in this technology and believe the insurance industry has a key role in helping give consumers confidence in using these vehicles when they become more widely available.

The driver’s insurer will still pay out in the normal way so road accident victims are promptly reimbursed – but the insurer will then be able to claim the money back from the car company if the vehicle is deemed to be at fault.

July newsletter
11 Jul 2016:

July's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out and available here. This edition provides information on cooperation between TRIP and the European Transport Network Alliance (ETNA) and includes an invitation to TRIP's upcoming stakeholder workshop on infrastructure in Brussels. As usual, the newsletter also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.