From 25 – 27 April 2018, 26 Ministers and more than 2000 transport experts and decision-makers joined the TEN-T Days 2018 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The 2018 conference focused on smart, sustainable and safe mobility on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and the appropriate investment in transport connectivity. In order to facilitate exchange and foster jobs and growth in the transport sector, TEN-T Days 2018 offered a new, dynamic format of bringing innovators of futuristic mobility solutions together with investors.
Ms Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, hosted this edition during these three days. She delivered a keynote speech at the Official Opening on 26 April and was joined by Mr Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Miro Cerar, Slovenian Prime-Minister, Mr Ivaylo Moskovski, Bulgarian Minister for Transport, Information Technology and Communications and Ms Karima Delli, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism at the European Parliament.
Ms Bulc started talking about the EU core objectives and said: “These are: Improved efficiency (of our logistic networks, passenger services, and investments), improved connectivity (within EU and our neighbourhood), and reduced negative externalities. Our aspirational vision zero consists of: zero-fatalities on European roads, zero-emissions from Transport and zero paper by 2050, along with fully integrated ticketing and integrated logistics systems. But achieving the objectives is not enough – it also matters how you achieve them.”
She then focused on four key main issues:
Decarbonisation: “We focus on decarbonisation, ensuring funding for deployment and research in the field of alternative energies, infrastructure, clean vehicles, vessels, and aviation, and above all better organisation of mobility (on core corridors, in the cities, towns and villages). Our vision is very clear: “Zero pollution” from transport by 2050”.
Digitalisation: “Digitalisation often goes hand in hand with decarbonisation, focusing on higher level of cooperative, connected, automated and autonomous mobility, bringing back public transport in a more integrated and accessible way in combination with the sharing and collaborative solutions, leading towards integrated passenger services/ticketing and integrated/multimodal logistic solutions (do not forget that this year is a year of multimodality). For that we are creating a seamless digital/data layer, decoupled from infrastructure and service layer”.
Investments: “Focus so much on investments. Under the current multi-annual financial framework for 2014-2020, funding and financing possibilities for transport were split across different programmes and instruments. We can be proud of the results and the delivery of the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) and the success of Cohesion funds. The CEF model has proved its efficiency and ability to generate European added-value. CEF approved € 22.3bn grants for 641 projects worth more than € 50bn”.
And Innovation: “The new excitement to EU mobility brings innovation. You probably have sensed already many of the core topics of innovation opportunities in the last two days: innovation in products, materials, services, business models, behaviour, social structures. But still, let me wrap up this attractive driver of EU transport with some exciting advancements that are really transforming mobility not only in EU but globally. Blockchains are bringing a similar evolution shift in the system structures as relational databases did in the 90s.”
Mr Miro Cerar, Slovenian Prime-Minister, highlighted the vital importance of the transport for the development of any society and the good investment in transport infrastructure and in sustainable mobility that has been managed.
Mr Ivaylo Moskovski, Bulgarian Minister for Transport, Information Technology and Communications mentioned a better connection with the EU with a more completed extended single European market.
Ms Karima Delli, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament, talked about innovation and the need of mobility and safety everywhere. She insisted on the importance of the development of the digital ecosystem and the dynamic input of the start-ups.
UIC participated in this major European event, particularly in order to learn about European experiences and to support also the H2020 funded NeTIRail-INFRA project as it is one of the partners of the consortium and as it has led between others the dissemination work package. The NeTIRail-INFRA project was one of the indoor exhibitors represented by Mrs Christine Hassoun, UIC Senior Advisor in charge of the Project Dissemination and Mr Jon Paragreen, the Project Manager.
During this three-day conference, some interesting themes were discussed. The gender dimension was discussed this year for the first time. A participatory brainstorming session looked to the reasons why a gender perspective should be introduced in Ten-T Projects and corridors and how to include it. Ms Elisabeth Kotthaus, Head of Unit, DG Mobility and Transport at the European Commission together with Ms Maja Roginska, Economist, European Invest Bank (EIB) moderated the exchange and brainstorming session between participants. Among interesting inputs, we can mention the need for more services for women, more involvement of women as experts, more accessibility on infrastructure for them, a better image requested to allow women to access better positions (…)
Ms Bulc finally concluded by saying that women are part of the system. “Only 22% of the workforce in Transport are women”. It needs to become part of the agenda.
ERTMS, the European Rail Traffic Management System, was another topic discussed during the conference. A parallel session grouped together several high-level speakers. Among them, Karel Vinck, ERTMS Coordinator who highlighted the need to have an interoperability more competitive. He said “For signalling, we need less investment but more impact, improvement. We have the specifications that are implemented. We have a European deployment and we can accelerate. DG Move is now really active and motivated. There are still different views of the deployment (cross boarders). There is a lot of resistance in the national bodies for the regulations. We can progress in terms of implementation of ERTMS. The cost is also one of the important items, the engineering cost. We need more competent capabilities in terms of qualification and attitudes. We should have a broader vision”.
Another session dedicated on rail freight (how to boost it) gave the opportunity to discuss about operational and infrastructure priorities. This session provided the participants with an overview of the EU Commission support at the benefice of the rail infrastructure. The panellists spoke about the cross-boarders that have to be harmonised. The coordination between infrastructure managers has to be improved.
Mr Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director, European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) said: “the targets that we have to achieve are:
- The area of interoperability
- Operations: we still have different operational rules and this causes delays
- Multimodality: this will be essential for the survival of rail freight. We have significant weaknesses. We need to boost our activities in this area”.