The European Commission has published a report with a list of over 50 specific vehicle safety features that have the most potential to improve vehicle safety, and thus road safety, in the EU.
The European Union Road Federation has launched its Position Paper aiming at improving road safety in work zones.
The results of the EU co-funded initiative within the framework of which experts have investigated the impact of road markings on driver behaviour were presented at the final conference of RAINVISION Project.
For more information see: http://newsroom.erf.be/
European Parliament news, cross-border enforcement of traffic rules.
For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/newsletters/2015/02-16/articles/cross_border_en.htm
Testing driverless cars on public roads given green light in the UK
A major review has confirmed the UK is uniquely positioned to develop driverless car technology.
Up to now, the scope for testing driverless cars has been limited, but today (11 February 2015) industry has been given the green light for testing on public roads.
The UK’s regulatory environment now sets it apart as a premium location for developing new technology, with tremendous potential for reducing accidents and making traffic flow more smoothly.
For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-lead-development-of-driverless-car-technology
The European Commission welcomes "historic" agreement on new trans-European transport network
Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, welcomed the agreement between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament on proposals to transform the existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified transport network (TEN-T).
Vice-President Kallas said: "This is a historic agreement to create a powerful European transport network across 28 Member States. Transport is vital to the European economy, without good connections Europe will not grow or prosper. This agreement will connect East with West and replace today’s transport patchwork with a network that is genuinely European. This is a major step towards building a new transport network that will be the backbone to boost growth and competitiveness in Europe's Single Market."
The agreement today establishes a core transport network to be established by 2030 to act as the backbone for transportation within the Single Market. Transport financing under the Connecting Europe Facility (for the period 2014–2020) will also focus on this core transport network, filling in cross-border missing links, removing bottlenecks and making the network smarter.
The new core TEN-T network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level. This will largely be financed by Member States, with some EU transport and regional funding possibilities, including with new innovative financing instruments. The aim is to ensure that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe's citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes' travel time from this comprehensive network.
Taken as a whole, the new transport network will deliver:
- safer and less congested travel
- as well as smoother and quicker journeys.
This agreement, reached in trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and European Commission, must be formally approved by the European Parliament Plenary and Council.
The new EU infrastructure policy aims at creating a real network and no longer focuses on isolated projects. The guidelines contain precise maps of the network which has been identified on the basis of an objective methodology.
The new regulation provides for deadlines to make sure that all projects contributing to the core transport network are implemented as a priority. It sets standards to ensure that trains, ships, planes, trucks and cars can use the transport infrastructure safely and without any technical problem. The core network is to be completed by 2030.
For instance, by 2030 the core railway network will be equipped with the European ERTMS signalling system, allowing for easy and safe cross-border train operations. Member States will have to provide sufficient parking space along core network roads for commercial users. Alternative clean fuels have to be available at the key nodes of the network.
Core network corridors will be created as a way to promote the coordinated development of infrastructure and resource-efficient ways of using it. The new policy focuses the most critical elements: cross-border projects, interoperability and inter-modality between different means of transport. European coordinators will support Member States and project promoters so as to reap optimal benefit from all investments.
For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/infrastructure/index_en.htm
Brokerage event for first ERA-NET Transport Flagship Call
International research groups can bring in innovative projects until November 4th, 2013. On June 13th, 2013, a networking event for interested researchers will take place in Brussels.
The aim of ERA-NET TRANSPORT (ENT) is to promote international research in the transport area. For that purpose the partner institutions provide financial support for international groups of researchers. Since April 29th, 2013, the first ENT-Flagship Call with a volume of 10 million Euros is open. This Call deals with "Future Travelling" and shall contribute to reducing emissions, to enhance sustainability of passenger and freight traffic in order to create a benefit for Europe. International researching groups can bring in innovative projects around the two topic areas "Future Vehicle Technologies" and "Traveller of the Future" until November 4th, 2013.
Researchers, who want to participate, are searching partners for their project or want to get inspired by the ideas of others have the opportunity to attend a kick-off and brokerage event. For the event which takes place in Brussels on June 13th, interested researchers can register until May 29th, 2013. Participation is free of charge.
Further information and the agenda you can find on http://www.b2match.eu/futuretravellingent2013.
New EU rules for safer and greener lorries
The current situation
There are currently 6.5 million heavy goods vehicles (HGV; with a maximum weight above 3.5 tonnes) in circulation in the EU. EU truck manufacturers are among the world leaders in smart and innovative vehicle design. Truck manufacturing and road freight transport employ around 6 million people in the EU. Road freight transport is vital to Europe's economic growth, accounting for more than 70% of inland freight transport activity (in tonne-km) in the EU, transporting more than 80% of goods in volume (tonnes) and more than 90% of goods in value (€) and accounting for close to 1.5% of GDP.
While road freight is likely to carry the bulk of all goods in Europe for the foreseeable future, the road sector needs to do more to manage existing demand in a sustainable and resource-efficient way.
In the EU, transport depends on oil and oil products for about 90% of its energy needs. Reducing fuel consumption of long distance road haulage will make a very important environmental and economic contribution.
The current rules
The EU rules covering heavy goods vehicles were established in the 1980s (Directive 96/53/EC) to meet three key objectives: to protect infrastructure, to ensure road safety and to ensure free competition within the Single Market. At the time, the rules were not designed with energy efficiency or environmental objectives in mind.
Directive 96/53/EC limits the maximum weight of heavy goods vehicles to 40 tonnes (44 in combined transport) and the length to 18.75 m. There are certain possibilities to derogate from these dimensions, but that is for each Member State to decide based on subsidiarity and local conditions. In practice, the current rules now actually prevent the introduction of innovative designs – such as more rounded cabins- which are essential to increase fuel efficiency and safety.
Around one-fifth of the EU's total CO2 emissions come from road transport, of which HGVs account for a quarter. Despite some improvements made in fuel efficiency in recent years, HGV emissions are still rising, mainly due to increasing road freight traffic.
The existing rules urgently need updating to keep pace with technological progress.
Of the 6.5 million lorries currently on Europe's roads, at least 1 million - regularly travelling long distances - could take advantage of new more aerodynamic vehicles.
What are we proposing?
Better aerodynamics: the Commission's proposals aim to facilitate the introduction of more aerodynamic vehicles, in particular, by allowing manufacturers to design truck cabins with a rounded shape and to equip vehicles with aerodynamic flaps at the back of the trailer. These are small changes, but they have a considerable impact on aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, particularly over longer distances.
Together, these improvements can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 10%, with no change to loading capacity. They would save up to 5,000 Euros per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance truck covering a distance of 100,000 km.
Better road safety: The current brick shape can increase the severity of injuries to road users in a collision. It also reduces the drivers "sideways" vision. The more rounded shape of the aerodynamic cabins will increase the field of vision of the driver and – in the event of a low speed collision – can reduce the impact on a vulnerable road user, helping to save the lives of 300 to 500 vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists every year: a 10% reduction in EU road deaths which involve trucks.
The new cabins will also increase the comfort of the driver with more space and allow for the use of airbags.
Better intermodal transport: to facilitate intermodal transport, red tape will be reduced to make it easier to switch 45 foot containers - the most used long-distance containers – between ship, road and rail. For example, a special permit will no longer be required.
Better for European business and job creation in vehicle manufacturing: European heavy vehicle manufacturers are global market leaders and the sector is one of the largest corporate investors in research and development. The development of the new heavy goods vehicles with aerodynamic cabins and rear flaps will be an opportunity for European manufacturers to develop new models to meet the global demand for greener and more fuel efficient heavy goods vehicles.
Overloading: Today, up to one third of controlled vehicles are overloaded causing damage to the infrastructure, compromising road safety and costing taxpayers some 950 million Euro every year. On-board weighing systems and weigh-in-motion stations on the main roads will allow targeting overweight vehicles automatically. The development of automatic targeting will save the unnecessary stopping of around 75,000 vehicles per year. This will allow control authorities avoid around 140,000 hours of unnecessary work. It will also benefit manufacturing processes relying on just-in-time deliveries, as unnecessary stops are weeded out.
The proposal covers heavy goods vehicles and buses, but also other smaller categories of vehicles specified in the Directive.
In June 2012 Vice-President Kallas provided guidance on the conditions under which longer trucks can cross borders. The main point of this guidance was to underline that the use of longer trucks is an issue for individual Member States to decide, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, based on different local conditions. No Member State is obliged to authorise the use of longer vehicles if they do not deem it appropriate. The guidance also indicated that longer trucks can cross the border of two adjacent Member States authorising their use, as long as it remains restricted to transport between only those two Member States and does not significantly affect international competition. This guidance is now incorporated in the revised Directive.
In a few figures
- Truck cabins with rounded shape and aerodynamic flaps at the back of the trailer could save up to 5,000 Euros per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance truck covering a distance of 100,000 km.
- Of the 6.5 million lorries currently on Europe's roads, at least 1 million - regularly travelling long distances - could take advantage of the new measures;
- Combining aerodynamic flaps (rear-spoilers) and rounded HGV cabins can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%;
- Changing the cabin design of HGVs could save 300 to 500 lives per year in the EU;
- While a relatively high proportion of HGVs are overloaded, around 75,000 HGVs are stopped per year for no reason 'costing' the control authorities 140,000 hours, which could be saved or used for other purposes.
For more information:
Current Directive 96/53/EC
White Roads Project
On 20th March, the European Union Road Federation and the Spanish Road Association presented the final results of the White Roads Project, the cumulative effort of 3 years of work. The underlying philosophy behind the WhiteRoads Project is to create positive approach to road safety and focus on zero fatality roads, as opposed to the traditional practice of focusing on black spots.
A European White Spot (EUWS) is a road section of at least 15 kms long where no fatality accidents have happened during the last 5 years considered during the study. In total, 982 EUWS have been identified representing 40% over the total TEN-T road network and after analysing 85,418 Kms of roads and 248,158 accidents in the EU.
The main challenge for the consortium was the collection and analysis of data and statistics from 27 member states. This information has been the basis to develop the project. Throughout the project, the ERF and AEC maintained regular contact with more than 100 experts in road safety from National Road Agencies, Ministries of Transport, Home Affairs, Traffic Police, or National Statistics Bodies.
The need for very concrete information about accidents represented an important challenge as some countries were not allowed to provide any data due to strict privacy regulations. The lack of statistics or the existence of incomplete information has always a very negative impact on road safety. José Díez from the ERF described the difficulties and challenges faced by the consortium and stressed “if we want to achieve a goal and improve road safety, we need to know good data at our disposal”.
Elena de la Peña from AEC presented the WhiteRoads checklist which can be used to complement existing guidelines for the design, maintenance and management of safer roads as laid down by the Directive on Road Infrastructure Safety Management. In her words, “WhiteRoads aims to contribute at the creation of safer roads but, ultimately, an integral approach between users, vehicle, infrastructure, enforcement and governments is needed”.
The event was opened by MEP Ms Inés Ayala Sender who stressed the positive vision of the project and the inter-institutional cooperation to reduce accidents especially involving vulnerable users.
Other panelists, i.e. Mr Sangjin Han (OCDE/ITF) and Mr George Yannis (Dacota Project) focused on the necessity to improve data collection and methodology with particular focus on serious injuries. Mr Lars Ekman (Swedish Transport Administration) explained the Vision Zero experience in Sweden and its continuous improvement in road safety.
The panel was concluded by Mr Szabolcs Schmidt (Head of Unit Road Safety-EC) who described the policy tools used at EU level to halve number of fatalities by 2020 and congratulated for the 9% reduction in fatalities in 2012 in the EU.
Further information about the Project can be found at: www.whiteroads.eu
Contact person: José Díez email@example.com
DG MOVE newsletter
European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas emphasized an importance of introducing European road safety standards while addressing Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue meeting in Georgia on 13.02.2013: “The European Union attaches great importance to safety on roads. As considerable number of passengers and high volumes of freight is carried by road, we are interested in cooperating with the partner countries to introduce high safety standards.”
Link to communication
Pan-European road safety and transport programme
A major programme - Compass4D - that will boost road safety and transport efficiency is now being developed jointly in seven European cities. The authorities in Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Eindhoven-Helmond, Newcastle, Thessaloniki, Verona and Vigo have joined forces with the aim of improving road safety, increasing energy efficiency and reducing level of congestions for road transport.
The city authorities will work along with industrial partners to jointly implement three cooperative services for forward collision warnings, red light violation warnings and more energy efficient intersections.
IFSTTAR is partner of the COMPASS4D project.
For more information, please visit: http://www.worldhighways.com/sections/general/news/pan-european-road-safety-and-transport-programme/
Link to short summary
Reducing the number of traffic accidents in the EU
Research has shown that human error is the main factor in 90 % of traffic accidents. With more than 40,000 deaths every year and over 1.2 million injuries, increasing traffic safety so as to reduce these figures is a priority for the European Commission.
The EUROFOT project (European Field Operational Test on active safety functions in vehicles) aims to do just, that with funding of almost EUR 14 million from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project has brought together car manufacturers, suppliers, universities, research institutes and other stakeholders - 28 organisations in all, to test intelligent vehicle systems (IVS) across Europe. The aim is to make road transport safer, more efficient and also more pleasant.
For more information, please visit: http://www.eurofot-ip.eu/
Link to short summary
Mobility and Transport newsletters of the European Commission
Link to newsletters
FEHRL Infrastructure Research Meeting 2013 (FIRM13)
FEHRL Infrastructure Research Meeting 2013 (FIRM13) on 4-6th June 2013 at the Diamant Centre in Brussels, Belgium.
With the theme of "Advanced and Innovative Construction and Maintenance", FIRM13 will feature sessions on infrastructure innovation, implementation and maintenance, including adaptation to climate change, knowledge transfer and asset management. The programme will also include sessions with innovation funding agencies and others, as well as a workshop on barriers to market uptake.
Link to the event
January 2013 will see the introduction of a European driving licence as part of the entry into force of the third EU Driving Licence Directive. The new credit-card style format will replace some 100 paper and plastic models currently in use by more than 300 million drivers across the EU. More on this topic and more news with regard to road safety in Europe in the Road Safety Newsletter of the European Commission
Link to the Road Safety Newsletter # 10, December 2012:
Commissioner Kallas calls on addressing risks caused by heavy duty vehicles: “Last year, 4,500 of the 35,000 fatal road accidents reported in the EU involved HGVs. With millions of trucks travelling on Europe’s roads every day, we must do everything we can to improve the situation.”
Link to the press-release: