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Towards an integrated European railway system: 4th Railway package approved on the market side
16 Jan 2017:

According to the new rules, railway companies will be able to offer their services for domestic rail routes in a more innovative, integrated and attractive way for the EU citizens. In particular:

  • Competitive tendering for public service will become the rule as from 2023. Contracts open to all EU rail operators should gradually become the standard procedure for selecting service providers. Better focus on customer services and cost efficiency are expected

  • Each company can offer commercial services on the European markets for rail passenger transport, as from December 2020. Member states could still restrict the new operator's right of access to certain lines and an objective economic analysis by the national regulator is insured.

What is the 4th railway package?

The 4th railway package contains measures aiming at reforming the rail transport sector in four key areas: Infrastructure governance; Opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail; Interoperability and safety; Social dimension. The final objectives are to:

  • deliver a more efficient, competitive, and less fragmented European railway system with better connections between the EU and its neighboring countries;

  • increase rail's capacity, efficiency, and attractiveness for customers;

  • encourage modal shift from road and air;

  • complete the circle of market opening already achieved in the freight, international passenger and other transport markets.

These new rules have also the purpose to encourage the use of rail transport which is one of most sustainable means of transport that would help reducing emissions in the EU (as outlined in the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper).

Transport Research Arena TRA 2018 in Vienna, 16-19 April 2018: Call for Papers now open! Submit your Abstract!
12 Jan 2017:

We would like to inform you that the call for papers for the coming Transport Research Arena - TRA 2018 in Vienna is now open. Please submit your abstract until March 21 2017!

Audience and Focus of TRA 2018:

TRA 2018 is an arena for researchers, scientists and engineers, companies and public authorities active in the field of transport. It welcomes policy makers and stakeholders framing research and transport policy.

 Key focus areas will be:

  • How digitalisation is transforming  transport & mobility systems

  • Decarbonisation & future growth – how to change our mobility system & remain competitive

  • Shaping the new mobility landscape – a vision for transport & mobility for Europe

The TRA 2018 programme includes a range of different session formats that will offer ample opportunity to share information on recent findings and to discuss the aforementioned challenges and opportunities. In scientific and technical sessions, a broad spectrum of research and innovation activities will be discussed, ranging from basic research findings over application-oriented engineering and socio-economic aspects to policies and standards.

CfP topics of TRA 2018 scientitfic and technical sessions:

  1. Environment and Energy Efficiency

  2. Vehicles & Vessels – Design, Development and Production

  3. Advanced Propulsion Systems

  4. Smart Urban Mobility & Logistics

  5. People Mobility – Systems and Services

  6. Freight Transport and Logistics

  7. Transport Infrastructure

  8. Connected and Automated Transport

  9. Digital Technologies for Transport

  10. Safe, Secure and Resilient Transport Systems

  11. Human Dimension in Transport

  12. Socio-Economics, Innovation and Policy

TRA 2018 modes:

  1. Road

  2. Rail

  3. Waterborne            

  4. Aviation       

  5. Cross-modal

  6. Not mode-specific

Important Dates:

21 December 2016     -                        Call for abstracts opens
21 March 2017            -                       Abstracts due
31 May 2017               -                       Abstracts review decision sent to authors
15 September 2017    -                       Full paper due
25 November 2017     -                       Full paper review decision sent to authors
16-19 April 2018          -                       7 th European Transport Research Arena, Reed Messe Wien, Vienna/Austria


For more details please see the attached document or consult the TRA 2018 website:  


Please note that also the 1st Call for Expression of Interest for the TRA 2018 Interactive Zone is already open. And have a look at the TRA Visions 2018 competitions launch. More information thereto in the first TRA 2018 newsletter.


Diesel only has eight years left according to industry executives
12 Jan 2017:

Battery-powered electric vehicles will dominate the marketplace within the next eight years, according to senior executives in the UK car industry.

In a striking landscape switch, the technology synonymous with diesel cars is predicted to be consigned to the scrap heap, as manufacturers embrace more efficient, eco-conscious forms of fuel.

Professional services giant KPMG reported back on its annual Global Automotive Executive Survey, with figures suggesting a revolution against diesel, which is fast losing importance for manufacturers.

Only last month, a group of doctors led a campaign for London to follow in the footsteps of other major European capitals in banning diesel vehicles.

As many as 90% of executives expect battery electric cars to have pole position in the marketplace by 2025 – with 93% of them revealing their plans to start investing in the technology needed for the switch during the next five years.

Furthermore, a telling 62% say diesel is losing its significance with major car brands.

READ MORE: Petrol and diesel prices rise to highest for 18 months

The survey was completed by senior executives across all auto industry areas including suppliers, dealers and manufacturers plus providers of mobility service and financial services.

KPMG’s John Leech explained that “almost the whole automotive industry” is convinced the next decade will stage the mass adoption of electric cars.

Mr Leech puts this assertion down to improvements in the “cost and range of battery technology, coupled with growing concern over the emission of both carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides from diesel engines”.

Perhaps surprisingly, some 74% of executives think more than half of car owners today would ideally not want to own a vehicle.

IN OTHER NEWS: Mayor pledges to double London’s clean air efforts

Researchers believe there will be fewer cars and therefore less money to be made from building vehicles in the future as people may opt to use, rent or pay for a car service rather than to own a car.

Mr Leech said: “Carmakers plan to sell myriad of new digital services to vehicle users.

“Today car makers already make substantial profits from the sale of consumer finance and annual vehicle insurance but this will grow in the future as innovative services such as remote vehicle monitoring and the integration of the car as a focal point in people's ever more connected lifestyles are demanded by consumers.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

Compulsory “clean stickers” for vehicles in Paris
11 Jan 2017:

Paris has passed a new regulation which requires vehicles to display a “clean sticker” indicating the cleanliness of the vehicle in high pollution areas.

Effective from January 2017, cars will be graded from one to six – each signified by a different coloured sticker which must be placed on the windscreen.

The different grades are awarded according to a number of factors, such as the car’s year of registration, its energy efficiency, and its emission quantity.

Air pollution has become a severe problem in major cities like Paris, and the French capital were last week forced to forbid half of its vehicles from entering the city centre– with the introduction of an alternating traffic rule which banned cars with either odd or even registration plates.

The measure was stopped after the levels of pollution dropped over the week end but it is feared that they will rise again with rush-hour traffic.

The new regulation, which has been applied progressively since summer 2016, will now be compulsory for all vehicles except for emergency vehicles, vintage cars and certain delivery and security vans.

Vehicles which fail to have their stickers will be banned from the specific high pollution zones or low emissions zones (ZCR) during week days.

The low emissions zones will be defined by local authorities according to pollution evaluations.

The French Minister of Environment, Ségolène Royal, said: “What we now need is a revolution bringing clean transport, responsible cities, electric vehicles in cities and different ways of moving around.”

The “superbonus scheme” is another measure aimed at lowering the levels of pollution in cities, granting a €10,000 (£8,400) payment for vehicles owners who change an old polluting vehicle for an electric one.

The scheme has been applied to private car owners until now, but there are plans to extend it to taxis and vans as well.

Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said she hopes that the capital will be free of diesel vehicles by 2020, and the whole France by 2025.

Commission sets date to put standardised European railway signalling system in place
10 Jan 2017:

The European Commission has adopted an implementing regulation on the new European Rail Traffic Management System European Deployment Plan (ERTMS EDP). ERTMS allows trains to run seamlessly across borders by replacing differing national technical systems. The plan sets new targets until 2023 by which about 50% of the Core Network Corridors shall be equipped. In 2023, the ERTMS European Deployment Plan will be updated again setting out the precise implementation dates for the remaining part of the Corridors between 2024 and 2030. The new deployment plan will facilitate the investment and resource planning of railway undertakings and infrastructure managers.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc stated: "The European Rail Traffic Management System or ERTMS makes a direct contribution to the competitiveness and the safety of European railways. The deployment plan adopted today provides for a phased implementation along the European rail network, bringing us closer to a fully interoperable single European rail area, where trains can more easily travel across borders."

The new ERTMS EDP is the result of consultation and negotiation with Member States, carried out by the European ERTMS Coordinator Karel Vinck over the last two years.

European ERTMS Coordinator Karel Vinck said: "All Member States have accepted ERTMS as the signalling system in Europe. It is ready to be implemented from a technical point of view and through implementing the recently adopted deployment plan we can ensure the timely deployment of ERTMS."



ERTMS is a control, command, signalling and communication system that has been available on the European market for more than 20 years. It is a software based system for the railway management and safe regulation that continuously ensures that the train does not exceed the safe speed and distance. This standardised European signalling system will replace 25 different national signalling systems and remove one of the main bottlenecks of an interoperable European railway network.

Currently trains cannot cross borders without stopping due to the different national signalling systems in operation. ERTMS makes the systems interoperable. Another benefit is the higher safety level that ERTMS provides compared with the vast majority of the existing national systems. ERTMS implementation enables higher speeds and reduces the distance between operating trains that leads to direct increases of capacity and productivity. ERTMS-equipped trains can be operated with a higher rate of reliability and punctuality, which contributes to modal shift.

The implementing regulation replaces the old ERTMS EDP of 2009. The deadlines of the old deployment plan for six ERTMS Corridors became unrealistic due to shortage of financing, limited number of available qualified experts or technical problems during implementation. Furthermore, the geographical scope and the definite deadline for implementation have been aligned with the requirements of the Regulation (EU) Nr 1315/2013 in the recently adopted deployment plan.

Virtual modelling shows driverless cars could cut delays in the future
10 Jan 2017:

Study shows driverless cars could significantly reduce delays.

Driverless cars could significantly reduce delays according to a new study by the Department for Transport.

The project used computer software to create virtual models of different parts of the UK road network including urban roads and a 20km motorway section.

Delays and traffic flow were all shown to improve as the proportion of automated vehicles increased above specific levels.

The study demonstrates that driverless cars offer major potential benefits when the proportion of them on the road is higher than the proportion of older, more traditional vehicles.

This study is an important first step towards understanding the full range of complex effects of these technologies. It paves the way for further trials and research to help ensure the transition to driverless or automated vehicles is safe and beneficial for all.

Transport Minister Johns Hayes said:

This exciting and extensive study shows that driverless cars could vastly improve the flow of traffic in our towns and cities, offering huge benefits to motorists including reduced delays and more reliable journey times.

Driverless cars are just one example of cutting edge technology which could transform the way in which we travel in the future, particularly in providing new opportunities for those with reduced mobility. This study reinforces our belief that these technologies offer major benefits and this government will support their research.

The study examined different scenarios including the level of automation, the proportion of vehicles equipped with the technology and different automated driving styles.

The main findings of the report included that:

  • on major roads where traditional vehicles outnumbered automated vehicles benefits are relatively small, but increase as the percentage of driverless cars on the roads increases - when measuring peak traffic periods with a maximum of up to 100% of driverless vehicles we saw journey times reduced by more than 11% and delays cut by more than 40%

  • on urban roads benefits are seen in peak traffic periods even with low levels of automated vehicles on roads - benefits include a 12% improvement in delays and a 21% improvement in journey time reliability

As well as this study, the Department for Transport along with the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles is publishing a response to a consultation on insurance for driverless cars.

The response details proposals to extend compulsory motor insurance to include the use of automated vehicles. The response aims to establish a model where an insurer would cover both the driver’s use of the vehicle and the driverless vehicle technology itself. These proposals are intended to be taken through the Modern Transport Bill.

Commission releases report on the development of the rail market
03 Jan 2017:

On 08/12/2016 the European Commission adopted the fifth report on the development of the European rail market. The report shows that EU legislation on rail, which encourages competitiveness and market opening, has led to a more efficient and customer-responsive industry. In Member States where rail markets are opened, competition can result overall in lower fares for customers and better value for taxpayers. After adoption of the 4th Railway Package, the focus of the Commission will be on the implementation of existing legislation to bring about further performance improvement.

The report shows that, on average, the market share of competing freight operators (15% in 2006) had more than doubled by 2014. At the end of 2014, rail freight transport was 100% in the hands of national incumbent still in Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania and Luxembourg.

Market shares of competitors in passenger markets are lower, given the different stage of market opening, being well below of 20% in all Member States except in Poland and the United Kingdom. Open access competition has developed in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.


Other main findings

Safety and services

Railway safety continued to improve between 2010 and 2014, with fatalities, serious injuries and significant accidents all decreasing. In 2013, the fatality risk for a rail passenger was 16 times lower than for a person travelling by car.

In 2009, with the low point of the economic crisis, rail freight volumes dropped heavily. Rail passenger volumes however, were hardly impacted. More than 50% of freight traffic in 2014 was international giving rail freight a much stronger European dimension than is the case for passenger traffic (only 6% international). Latest developments show that rail freight currently has a good 3% average annual increase rate.


The total length of rail network in 2014 was about 220,000 kilometres increasing by 2% in comparison to 2009. 52% of the network is so far electrified. Network utilisation rates are highest in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria, Belgium and Germany.
Infrastructure expenditure increased from EUR 29 billion in 2011 to EUR 45 billion in 2014. Under the current EU financial framework (2014-2020) more than EUR 33 billion in grants has been allocated to rail investment.


At the end of 2014 about 900,000 people were employed by rail operators and infrastructure managers – a decrease of 4% compared to 2009. The workforce is predominately male and the proportion of workers over 40 is in many companies more than 50%. But after long recruitment freezes, rail companies have begun to recruit again.


The overall cost of the rail operations and infrastructure management was around EUR 110 billion of which 60% was covered by passenger and freight revenue, 30% by public subsidies to operations and network management, and the remainder by other sources of income (2012 data). On average, the split between infrastructure and operator costs in national rail systems is approximately 30%:70 %. Rolling stock fleet for both passenger and freight has been in decline since 2009. Passenger revenue has increased significantly, while total operating costs have remained broadly static in real terms.