Note to the reader: this event was also covered in the 288th edition of UIC eNews (released on 25 April 2012), which includes the speech delivered by Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux during the conference’s opening ceremony.
From 23 – 26 April 2012, Athens hosted the Transport Research Arena (TRA) event. The theme for this 4th edition was “For a greener, safer and smarter surface transport for Europe”, and for the first time all land transport modes were invited: road, rail and waterborne. On behalf of the rail operating community and the rail industry, UIC, UNIFE and the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) shared a stand and took this opportunity to represent railway sector initiatives in the field of research.
This conference was the opportunity for industry, operators, research centres and policy makers to exchange their knowledge and best practice regarding innovation, research and development in the transport sector.
This event was important in particular for various parties in the context of the ongoing discussions on the preparation of the next EU Framework Programme, Horizon 2020.
For UIC, this conference was the occasion to advertise its activities as well as to present a large number of EU projects to which it has been committed through its different departments:
- For the safety and security department, Mr Peter Gerhardt, Safety department director and Mr Wisniewski, Fundamental Values director, gave two different presentations on safety activities and the RESTRAIL project. In addition, Mrs Isabelle Fonverne presented the ILCAD campaign with respect to safety at level crossings.
- On behalf of the Rail System Forum, Mr Emmanuel Buseyne gave a presentation of INESS, which addresses new IT systems for interlocking, and which comes to an end at the end of May.
- Mr Bjorn Paulsson gave a presentation on the MAINLINE project.
Regarding the players representing rail at the event, Turkish Railways (TCDD) presented their current development and research plans as an active railway company in the Middle East region, as well as being a key player in establishing future links between Europe and Asia.
For ERRAC, this conference was the opportunity to present the first results of the ERRAC Roadmap project which will end in late summer this year. The conference also enabled ERRAC to present its latest important document, “Rail route 2050”. Published in November 2011, this document provides the main guidelines for rail research until 2050. This document, in line with the objectives set out in the White Paper of the European Commission, aims to make the train the “backbone” of transport in Europe by 2050.
For this edition, the Greek capital received over 1,000 experts, which made this conference a promising and rewarding success. Indeed, it showed the great interest of European politicians in transport research and gave interesting perspectives for the future especially regarding co-modality with the cooperation between the main European Technology Platforms (ERRAC, ERTRAC, waterborne, etc. …).
In addition, this high attendance reflects the interest not just in road but also the need to invest in other transport modes and above all, rail, for sustainable transport in Europe.
In his speech delivered during the opening ceremony, Mr Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, reiterated his great satisfaction at seeing rail invited for the first time to this event, and has already committed to the next edition of TRA that will take place in Paris in 2014, in which UIC wishes to play an active role.