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Nearly €200 million awarded to Horizon 2020 transport projects
22 Jun 2016:

25 research and innovation projects under the Horizon 2020 challenge Smart, green and integrated transport will receive €198 million EU funding to make European transport greener, safer, more efficient and innovative.


The selected projects cover all transport modes - air, rail, road, waterborne transport - as well as cross-cutting priorities:  green solutions for urban transport, development of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), logistics and infrastructure improvements.

New long-haul CNG truck a a world first
22 Jun 2016:

Moves towards natural gas being used as a viable alternative to diesel in road haulage have seen a boost this week, with the European launch of the world’s first long haul truck powered entirely by the fuel.

The Iveco Stralis NP can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, and unlike other trucks powered by non-diesel fuels, it has a maximum range of 1,500km (932 miles), while maintaining the power rating, comfort and latest transmission technology found across the HGV sector.

Natural gas is seen as one of the most viable ways forward for non-diesel fuelled heavy and large goods vehicles, due to its similarities in performance to heavy oil and significantly reduced particle emissions.

In the USA, California’s Energy Commission are keen exponents of it, leading to CNG vehicles being widely introduced in a variety of commercial and municipal applications, from light-duty trucks and taxis, to medium-duty delivery vans and postal vehicles, and heavy-duty vehicles like buses, street sweepers, refuse trucks and school buses. However, these are primarily urban uses, as poor fuel consumption on CNG has traditionally limited vehicle range.

Yet alongside its fuel range, the Stralis NP delivers 400hp and 1,700 Nm torque, equal to its diesel equivalent, and comes with a 12-speed automated gearbox.

It’s the first full-size truck to make natural gas a viable long-haul solution, with the flexibility to also enter urban centres where there are increasingly stringent rules around noise and emissions, both of which are significantly lower than its traditionally powered counterpart.

Iveco Brand President, Pierre Lahutte, said, “In 1991, Iveco was the first manufacturer in the world of commercial transport to understand the potential of natural gas. We have launched natural gas versions of trucks, vans and buses.

“As a result, today we have a parc of more than 15,000 gas vehicles in Europe. The New Stralis NP builds on Iveco’s extensive expertise to take a step into the future: it is the first true long-haul gas truck in the market that offers an alternative to diesel vehicles and the most sustainable long-distance transport truck ever”.

Somerset sports car maker wins industry acclaim for research and development supported by Innovate UK through the Niche Vehicle Network.
22 Jun 2016:

Lightweight technology for the mighty Atom

Simon Saunders, the founder of Ariel Motor Company, one of the UK’s smallest motor manufacturers, has received the prestigious Sturmey Award for innovation from Autocar.

The company, based at Crewkerne in Somerset, produces around 100 vehicles a year, but has been spearheading development of lightweight structures and other novel weight-saving technologies.

Six of the company’s 25-strong workforce are involved in research and development activities, a number of the projects being supported by Innovate UK.

A developmental version of the company’s iconic Atom sports car is currently the testbed for a ground-breaking titanium chassis and other weight-saving innovations.

40% reduction in chassis mass

Titanium is corrosion-resistant and has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal, as strong as some steels but 45% lighter. However welding is a specialist process and has previously proved too expensive or difficult for use in automotive construction.

Ariel teamed up with two other small businesses – Caged Laser Engineering in nearby Frome and Reynolds Technology in Birmingham – to tackle the issues around titanium structures.

Find out more about how to apply for Innovate UK funding.

The project was funded by Innovate UK and by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Department for Business Innovation & Skills through theNiche Vehicle Network (NVN) R&D programme.

Using an oxygen-free chamber for welding titanium, they achieved a 40% reduction in chassis mass for the lightweight Ti Ariel Atom Chassis, equating to a 9% saving in vehicle weight, while retaining the structural qualities of the chassis.

Lightweight wiring harness

Installing a lightweight wiring harness in the development version of the Atom car has brought the component’s weight down from 9.5kg to 1.25kg, a significant saving, as Ariel’s chief executive and founder, Simon Saunders pointed out:

Although it’s only eight kilos, it’s appreciable that if the idea was taken up by a large manufacturer and you could replicate that percentage on a Range Rover for example, which might have a 100kg harness, there could be some colossal weight savings.

The lightweight wiring harness is a product of LEAP (Lightweight Electrical Architecture Prototype), another project involving the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN), an association of more than 400 small companies who are both competitors and collaborators.

Advanced hybrid technologies

Ariel is currently working on further R&D projects and has been awarded Innovate UK funding totalling more than £900,000 for projects focused on advanced hybrid technologies, electric vehicle batteries and a flexible, lightweight automotive suspension concept. Simon added:

"Innovate UK and NVN have been very supportive of our R&D projects. As well as projects such as the lightweight titanium chassis and wiring harness, Ariel is currently involved in part-funded multi-million-pound projects looking at new and disruptive technologies."

"This assistance means that we, as well as other British companies, will be world leaders in the fast changing world of automotive technology, putting the UK at the front of innovation."

TRIP publishes review of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems
20 Jun 2016:

Interoperability is essential to take advantage of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, says European Commission funded review

There has been ‘a lot of good technical research’ into Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS); however, there remains a significant body of work to be done and to address different approaches amongst stakeholders on certain aspects, according to a new report from the European Commission funded Transport Research & Innovation Portal (TRIP).

The latest research theme analysis report has drawn its findings from the analysis of over a decade’s worth of C-ITS projects submitted by academics, policy makers and private sector organisations to the online TRIP portal. The report provides a comprehensive review of C-ITS progress and points to standardisation and principles of interoperability as the biggest barriers facing the widespread adoption of the technology in Europe. To avoid a fragmented approach to deployment, the report makes a number of scientific and policy recommendations to help transport researchers overcome the barriers in C-ITS implementation and create safer and more sustainable transport systems. Download the report for free at

C-ITS is a process of communication and data sharing between components of transport systems - such as vehicles, infrastructure and pedestrians - which can be used to avoid collisions, reduce vehicle emissions and enable traffic to operate more efficiently. C-ITS has been identified as a core technology to move beyond the capacity of stand-alone transport systems in Europe, however the rate of development and implementation varies widely depending on technology and application.

The new report explores the scientific advances required to make implementation of CITS feasible and the political, legal and ethical issues that must be addressed during development. These include the compatibility of highly automated vehicles with existing legislation and the consequent effects on personal liability and culpability. Despite these challenges, the review identifies that there is already ‘plenty of best practice at the implementation level’ to support C-ITS, and recommends closer collaboration between stakeholders, academia and the private sector to bridge gaps in capacity.

“C-ITS is an exciting technology with the potential to greatly improve transport systems not only in Europe but throughout the entire world,” said Gareth Horton, TRIP lead analyst. “The new report provides a comprehensive review of C-ITS research in Europe to date, and has only been made possible through the open sharing of knowledge and research stimulated by the TRIP portal. I hope that the recommendations made will provide direction for Europe’s academics, policy makers and businesses to turn this exciting technology into reality.”

TRIP is a free, European Commission funded online portal for EU transport professionals to share and discuss innovation in mobility, with over 60,000 users and rising from almost every country in Europe. Previous outcomes of TRIP’s research include a comprehensive report on Urban Mobility, which includes guidance and recommendations for developing Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Europe’s cities. Download the report at Reach academics, local authority transport departments, central transport policy makers and businesses throughout Europe’s transport sector by submitting your transport project at


Single European Rail Area one step closer to completion as new technical provisions enter into force
17 Jun 2016:

The technical provisions  of the Fourth Railway Package are entering into force. These are a series of measures adopted by the European Parliament and the 28 Member States to make European railways more innovative and competitive. They will in particular promote common EU rail standards and approvals, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the rail sector and to the creation of a deeper internal market .

As from 15th June, the European Railway Agency  (ERA) will in particular streamline the large number of national technical rules and develop an improved safety culture in Europe. After a three year transition period, ERA will be empowered to issue single EU-wide certificates for rolling stock and railway undertakings. This will significantly cut red-tape and administrative costs for companies, as they previously had to get authorisations in each Member State of operation.

European Commission injects €6.7 billion in transport infrastructure to boost jobs and growth
17 Jun 2016:

Today the European Commission is firmly delivering on President Juncker's top priority of creating jobs and boosting growth in the European Union, by unveiling a list of 195 transport projects that will receive €6.7 billion of funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

This investment is expected to unlock additional public and private co-financing for a combined amount of €9.6 billion. The selected projects will notably contribute to the digitalisation and decarbonisation of transport, in line with the broader political agenda of this Commission. The Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund received almost 85% of the funding, which will help bridge the infrastructure disparities across the EU.

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "I am happy that the Commission is making yet another major contribution to investment in the transport sector which will lead to more jobs and generate economic growth in Europe. I would also like to use this opportunity to encourage all potential project promoters to explore investment possibilities under the Investment Plan for Europe, and in particular the newly launched European Investment Project Portal (EIPP ), which gives worldwide visibility to transport project."

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "The total investment of €9.6 billion could create up to 100,000 jobs in the European economy by 2030. The projects will make European infrastructure safer, more sustainable and more efficient for passengers and business alike. I am pleased to see that the Western Balkan Region will also receive some funding, bringing its transport infrastructure closer to the EU's."

Selected projects are primarily located on the core trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Among the beneficiaries are flagship initiatives such as the rehabilitation of the Brasov Sighisoara rail section in Romania, the railway connection Aveiro Vilar Formoso in Portugal, the development of a standard gauge railway line in the Rail Baltic corridor, the implementation of the SESAR Deployment Programme and the modernisation of railway line E30 (the Zabrze – Katowice – Krakow section) in Poland.

Launched in November 2015 , the second CEF calls for proposals  generated 406 eligible project proposals. With €12.49 billion of requested EU funding, the calls were widely oversubscribed. This allowed the Commission to select the projects with the highest European added value, while guaranteeing a balanced distribution geographically and between the transport modes. €5.6 billion has been earmarked for Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund. The contribution to other Commission priority actions, such as the Energy Union  or theDigital Single Market , was also evaluated during the selection process.

The EU's financial contribution is made in the form of grants, the co-financing rate of which is between 20% and 50% of the eligible costs of a given project, depending on its type. As regards projects submitted under the Cohesion call, the maximum co-funding rates can go up to 85% of the eligible costs.

Next steps

The proposed funding decision must now be formally approved by the Connecting Europe Facility Coordination Committee, which will meet on 8 July 2016. Adoption of the decision by the Commission is expected for end July 2016. The individual grant agreements will then be prepared by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and signed with the project beneficiaries in the second half of 2016.


Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), €24.05 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T  projects in the EU Member States. Of this amount, €11.305 billion will be available only for projects in Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund. Annual and multi-annual work programmes specify the set of priorities and the total amount of financial support to be committed for each of these priorities in a given year. 2014 was the first programming year under the CEF. Along with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)  and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the CEF plays a major role in bridging the investment gap in Europe, which is one of the Commission's top priorities.

For more information

TRIP Newsletter
16 Jun 2016:

June's edition of the TRIP newsletter is out and available here. This edition includes an update on the LIFE programme projects that are now available on TRIP and the upcoming publication of the C-ITS report. As usual, the newsletter also features project updates, events, and transport research and innovation news.