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April Newsletter
26 Apr 2016:

The April newsletter is out and available here: it includes information about TRIP’s user survey and the new Urban Mobility report. It also features project updates, upcoming events, and transport research and innovation news.

Perpetuum: self-powered rail safety technology drives jobs growth
26 Apr 2016:

A fast-growing spin-out from Southampton University has used EU research funding and innovation funding through Innovate UK to further develop technology for the rail industry that is improving safety and reliability and delivering significant cost reductions.

This has established Perpetuum as a global market leader. More than 45% of the company’s sales were exported in 2015 and this is expected to rise to 70% or more over the next 3 years.

Volume orders and trials of its self-powered condition monitoring systems for rail operators around the world have resulted in staff numbers almost trebling in the last three years.

Condition monitoring capability

Perpetuum’s expertise is in understanding and using vibration This is employed in its proprietary Vibration Energy Harvesters to achieve ‘power from vibration’, enabling Perpetuum’s condition monitoring solutions to be self-powered and therefore very easy to fit.

Perpetuum’s condition monitoring capability is achieved through sophisticated analysis of vibration since this is a very early indicator of degradation, so providing ‘information from vibration’.

Learn more about how Innovate UK helps firms find success

By joining an EU-financed Framework 7 (FP7) consortium in 2011, Perpetuum was able to build on its core technology to design, develop and commercialise complete systems to monitor train wheel bearings. Partners in the project included Siemens, FIAT and a number of European universities.

The company realised that the system, which is quick to install and maintenance-free, could also monitor the condition of the rail track itself.

The next generation of Perpetuum’s condition monitoring systems is now being accelerated through another EU-funded programme, Horizon 2020, as a €2.1 millon SME Instrument project begun last year.

Larger market opportunity

CEO Steve Turley said the project was critical to the future growth of the company:

It will deliver an enhanced product that will open up the market for rail freight and long passenger trains.

This will create a much larger market opportunity, especially in the US, Europe, India, China and Australia. It is central to our drive to maintain global leadership as the market expands and new competitors try to catch up on a worldwide basis.

There are already full fleet deployments of the system with the largest train operators in the UK, and trials are under way in Australia, Sweden, the US and Ireland.

The project has allowed us to be the front runner in a project to equip the railways in a major Asian country with condition monitoring and metro systems in two major US cities have also requested trials.

More high-quality jobs

Perpetuum expects to produce market-ready systems for freight and long passenger trains by the end of this year, with further enhancements being delivered in 2017.

This will complement the product that is already shipping to customers in Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific regions. Steve added:

The project will create additional high-quality jobs and we expect a further doubling of the headcount by the end of 2018.

Perpetuum, founded in 2004, is backed by venture capital investorsEnvironmental Technologies FundIP GroupParkwalk Advisors andAlbion Ventures.

Making it even better
22 Apr 2016:

TRIP has launched its third user survey. These are held at regular intervals and help to identify how the portal can be improved in order to best meet your needs. Please take some time to let us know your thoughts. It only takes 5 minutes to complete!

The future of urban ITS in Europe
21 Apr 2016:

In an article for ITS, Gareth Horton, TRIP Transport Analysis Lead, explains how TRIP can help expedite research and turn theory into practice:

Compete, Innovate and Win - New Horizon Prize
20 Apr 2016:

The European Commission has today launched two Horizon prizes worth €3.5 million and €1.5 million to develop the cleanest combustion engines and to cut emissions from existing diesal engines.

1. Cleanest Engine of the Future

 €3.5 million Horizon Prize  - Applications are open from now until 20 August 2019

The Horizon Prize for the Cleanest Engine of the Future aims to pave the way to this future engine by developing any technology that cleans the exhaust gases. This might be a filter, an additive, a combustion system or any other technology: it is up to the creativity of European scientists and industrial experts.

2. Engine Retrofit for Clean Air

 €1.5 million Horizon Prize - Applications are open from now until 12 September 2017

The Horizon Prize for the Engine Retrofit for Clean Air aims to find a way of cleaning existing diesel engines. This would offer a temporary solution until a better engine is invented or before electric cars become a mainstream.

Applicants from all fields, whether they are established researchers or innovative newcomers, are encouraged to apply for these prizes. Applicants have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver the breakthrough solution. The rules of contest of both prizes are available online at the dedicated:

Smart motorway 'has improved journeys'
20 Apr 2016:

A £316 million smart motorway scheme has succeeded in making a difference to motorists' lives, according to Highways England.

The 15-mile stretch of smart motorway on the M62 in West Yorkshire was completed in 2013.

Highways England says despite traffic levels rising, the four-lane road is speeding up journeys for commuters, saving them an average of 30 minutes each week - the equivalent to more than a day each year.

Technology is used to keep tabs on vehicle volumes with variable speed limits displayed on overhead electronic signs to keep the traffic moving. CCTV, meanwhile, is used to enable officials to shut lanes if necessary and swiftly respond to any incidents.

Highways England's service delivery team leader, Roger Wantling, says putting traffic on to the hard shoulder during busy times and using variable speed limits has cut congestion and kept motorists moving.

As well as shortening journey times, he adds, the scheme has also improved safety on the M62.

The smart motorway runs between junction 30 at Rothwell to the south of Leeds and junction 25 at Brighouse.

Its busiest section - between junction 27, where the M62 joins the M621, and junction 26 at Bradford - is now used by an average of 155,000 vehicles a day, an increase of 6% compared to the total using it before the scheme was implemented.

Chancellor George Osborne has said that work will be carried out to extend the scheme from junction 25 to junction 20 at Rochdale in Lancashire.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

20 Apr 2016:

With space increasingly at a premium in today’s cities, high quality public transport combined with a broader mix of mobility services is the answer to cutting car dependency according to the latest Policy Brief position from UITP. 

The new Policy Brief entitled, ‘Public transport at the heart of the integrated mobility solution,’ confirms that the key to cutting urban car dependency is an integrated combination of sustainable mobility services. Cities with strong public transport, complemented with services such as car- and bike-sharing, shared taxi services and ride-sharing offer citizens convenient and flexible travel options.

Urban space is one of the most precious resources in a city: private cars are parked 95% of their lifetime and during the 5% of the time they are driven, are much less space-efficient compared to public transport, walking and cycling. With the increasing urbanisation of the planet, mobility demand will continue to rise: public transport, particularly on major corridors and in peak hours, will remain the only viable solution for cities.  

Though new mobility services such as ride selling apps (Uber, Lyft), free-floating car-sharing (car2go) or ridesharing apps (Blablacar) play a valuable role in helping to reduce car ownership, alone they do not have the capacity or capability to meet every journey need or solve congestion issues.

These services thus depend on efficient public transport in order to function well. In Paris, 65% of Uber trips start or end within 200m of a metro station. In Berlin, free-floating car-sharing is well-developed but still represents just 0.1% of total trips. This is precisely the point, though: car usage decreases because car-sharing users walk, cycle and use public transport for the majority of their trips and use a car only when necessary.

Changing mobility landscape: what role for authorities?
In the context of the evolving urban mobility landscape, UITP’s Combined Mobility Platform with the support of the Organising Authorities Committee organised a workshop last week in Barcelona looking at the benefits of combined mobility and at what public authorities can do to encourage an integrated offer of urban mobility services, whether public or private. 

The event also included an in-depth discussion about the potential impact of autonomous vehicles on urban mobility, with the feeling being that shared autonomous vehicles could have a dramatic effect in freeing up valuable urban space by reducing the need for parking and road infrastructure while cutting congestion.