New report on public transport research and innovation in Europe (2024)

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has recently published (2022) a report in the context ofTRIMIS(the Transport Research and Innovation Monitoring and Information System)onPublic transport research and innovation in Europe,which identifies the relevant projects from the TRIMIS database that have a focus on public transport. In so doing, the reportprovides a quantitative and qualitativereview of therecent trends, challenges and achievements of European research and innovation initiatives in public transport.It also presents future research needs and policy recommendations.

TheEuropean Green Dealwith its ambitious target for reducing emissions, together with theNew EU Urban Mobility Frameworkspotlighted public transport as a key challenge to the EUachieving itsmobility and climate goals.Research and innovation is thus required in order to respond to thisneed. In particular, the key themesfor research and innovation identified in the policy documents and in the public transport-related projects reviewed in the report, are:digitalisation,emissionsreduction,public transport planning and management,safety,transport infrastructure development, andthedeployment of connected and automated mobility.

The key conclusions of the report are:

— Even though public transport has a central role in EU policy and strategydocuments and is key to achievingthe objectives of the Green Deal,only 114 out of nearly 2,700 H2020 transport projects intheTRIMIS database feature public transport.

— The main topics identifiedin public transport-related projects coveredpublic transport planning and management, digitalisation and digital innovations,emissions reduction and electrification of transport.

— TheH2020 research and innovation effort is in line with the keychallenges set out in the EU Urban Mobility Framework.

— Future research and innovation initiatives should concentrate on fostering aninclusive, safe, affordable and sustainable public transport system for all users, offering a seamless integration with new and shared mobility services. Public transport electrification and infrastructure development should contribute to a more efficient transport system and a reduction in emissions. Furthermore, automated and connected mobility should be developed and tested under different environmental, infrastructure and social conditions.

Other main findings include:

— The highest total funding was directed throughInnovation Actionsfunding scheme (€201 million), however the highest number of projects are funded under Research and Innovation Actions (29 projects).

Spanishorganisations werethe most active in European R&I public transport projects in terms of the total EUcontribution received and the number ofprojects they participated in or led.

— More than half of the projects were onSmart mobilityand services(92 out of 163), which meant that this STRIA roadmap received the highest funding of all the roadmaps (€240 m);

— Most of the identified projects focused onpublic transport management and planning,digitalisationas well asemissions reduction. Three other sub-themes received significantly less attention, namely connected and automated mobility, safety and infrastructure.

The report recommendsfurther researchinto the following areas:

Accessibility to public transportso asnot to leave anyone behind. Thus, future R&I initiatives should concentrate on:

  • evaluation of the current performance (transport accessibility, volume of passengers, user satisfaction), mapping users’ needs and improvingplanningin order to meet those needs,
  • fostering an inclusive, safe, affordable and sustainable public transport for all, including tailored approaches for vulnerable groups.

In addition, itshouldidentify the specific mobility needs of women, children,teenagers andpeople with disabilities, as well astake into accountthe geographical dimension, i.e.the needs of people from peri-urban and rural areas.

Linkingpublic transport and active travel modes, i.e. multi-modal hubs and accessibility to infrastructures. Participation in transport urban planning activities should be encouraged with feedback activities onpublic transport utilisation and satisfaction.

Incorporatingstakeholders in the decision-making processby means of innovative participatory processes, co-creation methods, living labs and hubs for innovative participative governance.

Integratingnew and shared mobility services(e.g. micro mobility including bike/scooter sharing, demand responsive transport, car-pooling or car sharing) as well as integratingMobility-as-a-Serviceinto existing or new infrastructure settings, in both urban and non-urban areas.

Collecting, storingand analysingpublic transport dataand usingsimulation tools tosupport the creation of science-based indicators, which would lead toa common planning, monitoring, reporting and verification framework forEuropean cities. Data collection should cover different transport user groups, mobility patterns, behaviours and needs and dissemination of these data would increase public transport use, greatly support users’ informed decisions (e.g. about route choice, applicable fare etc.) and help lead toa modal shift towards more sustainable modes of transport and reduced private car use.

Implementingthe learning, replicability and scaling-up of solutionssothat cities canlearn from each other other and tailor their approach in order to develop a customised public transport policy frameworkusing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans concept and guidelines. Large-scale pilots should be promoted that deployR&I solutions that foresee scaling-up and replication in other cities.

Deployingelectric, automated and connected busesunder different environmental, infrastructure and social conditions andmore accurate estimationof operational and ownership costs,which deserveadditional research in the future, to lead tomore efficient transport and reducedemissions.

The list could be expanded further in response tonew societal and mobility challenges. For now, the indications in the report alignwith the topics included in the relevant Horizon Europe calls both from the Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission and from the Horizon Europe, Pillar II-Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness and Cluster 5 on Climate, Energy and Mobility.

To read the full report, please clickhere.

New report on public transport research and innovation in Europe (2024)

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