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Transport Systems

How can policy and industry work together to decarbonise road transport?

May 9, 2014 in Transport Systems

The EU has set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions from the transport sector by 60% and to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in cars by 2050. Achieving this goal will depend on a wide range of policies including electrification of vehicles, use of alternative fuels, urban transport and smart mobility planning and intelligent transport systems.

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Jan Ros

Project leader for integral studies on the energy system

PBL Netherlands

Posted on: 08/05/2014

No sustainable transport without a sustainable energy system

Europe has set a challenging climate policy target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 95% by 2050, compared with 1990 levels. This will require fundamental changes, especially to the energy system. In order for this target to be achieved, all sectors would have to contribute, with the potential for emission reductions being greater in some sectors than in others. For the transport sector, the European road map would result in a 60% emission reduction, the same as the long-term (2050) target for the Netherlands, as was published in the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth in 2013. 

There are several options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 60% in the Netherlands (and the situation in many other countries is comparable). In addition to efficiency improvement, new types of clean fuels, such as electricity, hydrogen and biofuels, are important future energy carriers. Their introduction, however, has to be part of an integral system innovation. It is not only, because these new energy carriers have to be produced instead of the fossil fuels. It also will offer opportunities, such as an improved balancing of the demand and supply of renewable electricity. 

What would be the impact of the various options that would realise an emission reduction in the transport sector of 60% on the rest of the system?  In PBL-model analysis for 2050 we find substantial additional emission reductions in other sectors due to more electric and hydrogen vehicles, in most cases of 1% to 2.5% of current total emissions in the Netherlands. 

In addition, even higher additional reductions (more than 10% of current Dutch emissions) would be possible if carbon capture and storage (CCS) would be introduced in the production processes of sustainable biofuels, because negative emissions for the overall energy system would be feasible that way. On a system level, the expected limited global availability of sustainably produced biomass, which offers potential solutions for other sectors in other parts of the world as well, requires an integral vision on its preferred future applications. Furthermore, the spectacular potential impact of CCS on emission levels in biofuel production requires large CO2 storage capacity, probably outside of the Netherlands, because Dutch storage capacity would be a limiting factor, requiring a European approach.

The results from the analysis show that zero-emission cars powered by electricity and/or hydrogen may be a very important, not to say vital part of a low-carbon economy, not only because of the direct effect on transport emissions, also because of the positive impact on the energy system as a whole. Even more attractive are the negative emissions related to biofuel production with capture and storage of reuse of the CO2, but probably limited by the availability of sustainable biomass and safe storage capacity for CO2. Furthermore, there are still a number of technological challenges in improving and enabling the system of electric and hydrogen cars and innovative gasification and fermentation processes for biofuel production. 

These considerations make very clear the development of a national low carbon system for mobility and transport requires an international strategy on the level of the whole energy system. It should be a joint step by step search based on a clear view on long term targets, opportunities, limits and uncertainties. It’s the challenge for industry and policy makers and their ability to cooperate.


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Louise Ellman


UK Parliament

Posted on: 09/05/2014

The UK Government is committed to reducing carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Domestic transport comprises approximately a quarter of the UK’s total carbon emissions. Cars and other motor vehicles produce over half of the carbon emissions from domestic transport. The level of emissions from domestic transport has remained broadly the same since 1990, unlike other carbon-heavy industries such as power generation, which has cut its emissions by 26% over the same period. Carbon emissions from road transport must reduce over coming years if the UK Government is to meet its carbon emissions target.

These are challenging targets, but policymakers and the transport industry have succeeded in meeting challenges before, such as the introduction of catalytic converters across the UK’s vehicle fleet to reduce toxic exhaust emissions. Work has been ongoing for some years now on one way to reduce carbon emissions: promoting the use of alternatives to the motor car. In our Rail 2020 report in late 2012, we emphasised the importance of public transport operators who try to promote sustainable end-to-end journeys. Current initiatives include employers offering season ticket loans to employees prepared to commute using public transport. The national rail network has also launched a number of offers for leisure travellers, such as two-for-one discounts at attractions. This is only beginning. 

The introduction of the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme has provided discounts of over 40% on the price of cycles for the employees of participating companies. We heard recently about how both cyclists and motorists are concerned about safety on the road network. Witnesses suggested that this may be limiting the number of people prepared to use this low carbon alternative to many road journeys. They felt that the Government was taking a lacklustre approach to implementing and promoting cycle infrastructure.

The UK needs new homes to be built. When people move into an area, they build up a routine of how they travel to work, to shops and to activities in their new area. Transport and planning authorities should work together with developers to incorporate sustainable transport in designs of new developments. This means ensuring high quality walking, cycling and public transport access across the site and minimising the need to make short journeys by car or van. The UK can learn from examples such as the modern schemes in Freiburg. Residents in new schemes there are often not limited in the number of parking spaces their property may have. However, because the parking spaces are generally in a separate location from the property, residents are not tempted to take the car for a short journey that is easily walkable. Measures such as this mean that cars are not used to make short journeys. This can reduce congestion on urban roads.

Cars, lorries and increasingly vans are needed for point to point journeys not feasible by other forms of transport, and for goods deliveries not practical by any other mode. The Government believes that ultra low emission vehicle technologies, which use plug-in batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels and more efficient internal combustion engines, will be essential in decarbonising road transport. We investigated its plan to encourage consumer demand for plug-in battery vehicles in our inquiry Plugged-in vehicles, plugged in policy? during 2012. A key part of the Government’s plan at the time was to launch a series of trial projects to install plug-in chargepoints at selected locations across the UK. This initial investment was designed to provide reassurance to potential plug-in vehicle owners that they would be able to charge their vehicles in public spaces if necessary. We could not, however, identify any relationship between the location of chargepoints and that of plug-in vehicle purchases, which suggested that the pilot was unsuccessful in making plug-in vehicles more attractive. We also heard concerns that the level of plug-in vehicle ownership did not meet the DfT’s forecast and had concerns about whether the target was realistic. 

In its Action for roads Command Paper last year, the Government again highlighted the importance of ultra low emission vehicles in reaching its carbon emission target, but it is hard to foresee when consumers will view plug-in and other low-emission vehicle technology as standard. One way might be through introducing plug-in technology into the car clubs present in a growing number of cities and regions. The clubs reduce carbon emissions, because car or van club members do not immediately resort to using a vehicle to make a short journeys or those possible by public transport. The vehicles available would generally be more modern and have cleaner engines than a car that the driver might have otherwise used. In future, if these clubs can operate plug-in vehicles at competitive prices, then this technology can be offered on a try-out basis to the car club members. The Government could work with local authorities, club operators and manufacturers to identify where plug-in clubs are most likely to have a market and can work to ensure that chargepoints are available.

I chaired an afternoon discussion about the potential of intelligent transport systems at the University of Southampton on 3rd April. We discussed how modern vehicles are increasingly benefitting from intelligent transport technology, such as semi-autonomous driving systems that make engines run more smoothly and fuel-efficiently. We discussed other possibilities, such as how computer networks could provide instant updates on where collections and deliveries are needed, meaning that vans and lorries would make fewer unnecessary journeys and save fuel. Both the Department for Transport and the Department for Business and Innovation in the UK should promote the development and roll-out of this technology, as a means of reducing emissions and of promoting a potentially important IT industry in this country.

We heard, both in evidence during our inquiry into the strategic road network and in presentations at the event in Southampton, how policy and industry could bring this all together. This is through promoting new smartphone technology and smartcard ticketing. Transport users should be increasingly considered as customers with individual transport requirements, such as needing wheelchair access to public transport or no private access to a van. The data available on a customer’s needs from the transport network could create a bespoke journey plan. We also heard how new smartcard technology could complement cash as a means of settling costs for a journey, whether by private or public transport and that loyalty schemes similar to a Tesco Clubcard could offer additional benefits to the smartcard user. Any revenue from this could in turn help reduce transport operating costs.

Decarbonising road transport is a major challenge for governments around the world. It is also a major business opportunity for innovators who can come up with ways to reduce our carbon emissions while broadly retaining our standards of living. I have outlined some areas in which policy and industry might work together in decarbonising road transport, firstly by reducing the need for motor transport and then by reducing the carbon emissions from the remaining vehicles. I look forward to seeing how people take the initiative over coming years and take advantage of the business opportunities that are presented by our need to reduce carbon emissions.



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Michael Conway

Chief Executive Officer

FM Conway

Posted on: 20/05/2014

Sustainable Mobility – safeguarding cyclists on London’s changing streets 

Encouraging sustainable modes of transport is a major challenge for urban planners, local authorities and communities.  The benefits are far reaching.  Healthier lifestyles, safer streets and low carbon emissions can all be unlocked by encouraging people to change the way they travel.

But behavioural change can be complex, and in encouraging people to adopt more sustainable choices there is an acute need for reassurance: over safety, over viability and over cost.

In London – our core market – we’ve faced a huge challenge to support the surge in cyclists within our city.  Safety has been paramount.  We have a particularly acute issue which we have been working to resolve because Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) are involved in a disproportionate amount of accidents with cyclists.  Both must be able to use our roads – and we have been involved in leading work to address this crucial dilemma and support sustainable mobility for London’s cyclists.

Cycle safety – safeguarding cyclists in the heart of London

There’s no doubt our infrastructure in the UK is changing.  We’ve seen a huge shift towards cycling – with more than 540,000 journeys taken each day by bike in London alone – and in many cases we’re working rapidly to adapt our infrastructure to meet changing needs, without compromising the routes for other users. 

That’s a huge challenge for a city built around road networks that are often hundreds of years old.  There will always be a need to balance the old with the new, and to help our network accommodate a wider range of uses, and the six cyclist deaths on London’s roads in just a fortnight in November 2013 were a stark and saddening reminder of the challenges we face.

One of the key issues is visibility.  HGVs have blindspots – areas around the vehicle where the driver can’t see – and the consequences of failing to detect someone in those spaces can be fatal.

Boris Johnson’s introduction of an industry-wide standard for HGV safety equipment in London is vital.  Having guidance and support available to those working in London will make it easier for operators to implement improvements to vehicles that will eliminate blindspots and provide realtime information to drivers about other road users around their vehicle.

In practice, measures including side guards, motion sensor alarms, nearside cameras and advanced mirrors can make a huge difference.  They can also be equipped relatively quickly – a major advantage in tackling what is a clear and present danger to cyclists.

We know from our own work that this equipment can reduce accidents.  In 2013 we completed a comprehensive retrofit programme of all 144 of our vehicles over 7.5 tonnes.  It’s been a major investment for us, and something we’ve been working on since 2011. 

We complete over 360,000 road movements across London each year, so we take the issue incredibly seriously.  We’ve made it a business critical issue and have involved our drivers in making sure we have the right equipment to help them detect and protect cyclists.

Equipment is only part of the solution.  We also continue to emphasise both driver skills and thorough reviews of driver behaviour.  Both of these factors are inseparable from investment in equipment and we must continue to refine the way drivers are trained and managed. 

Ultimately, design will play a huge part in how we accommodate a growing population using new forms of transport, and our political leadership has shown genuine ambition and creativity.  But there is a massive role for contractors to play in ensuring infrastructure works are delivered safely.  In our fast-paced, crowded city, we’ve made huge strides in helping drivers to control large vehicles amid the sheer volume of activity in London.  There will always be more work to do, but we are passionate about sharing our work with others, and making progress on this critical industry and societal issue.

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Aura Caramizaru

Policy Advisor


Posted on: 27/05/2014

With power generation becoming increasingly low-carbon, electric vehicles are becoming an obvious choice for decarbonised transport. But electric cars will only move from niche markets to mass markets if industry and policymakers work together to make them more attractive for consumers. Together, they need to ensure progress on three key points: supportive policies that encourage e-mobility growth; standards and interoperability; and knowledge and experience sharing across Europe.

First, the market for electric vehicles is set for growth but electric vehicles are unlikely to succeed without initial support from European and national policymakers. Such support should focus on making electric cars cost-competitive with today’s conventional cars, as well as on providing the necessary charging infrastructure. National policies on public procurement, reduced purchase and circulation taxes or a CO2 tax for cars can help to offer customers a real choice of affordable electric vehicles. European policymakers should also encourage cities and regional authorities to remove administrative barriers to the installation of charging poles. At EURELECTRIC we have identified two possible market models. EU member states should rapidly take a decision on the preferred model, thus giving a clear signal to potential investors. 

Second, the availability of recharging points for electric vehicles matters a lot, but standardised interfaces and the interoperability of those recharging points matter just as much. Drivers must be able to have a hassle-free charging experience whichever recharging point they use – right across Europe. To this end, more efforts are needed to ensure an efficient exchange of data and information. Interoperability platforms such as eMI3 or OCPP/OCA Open Charge alliance are already carrying out important standardisation work in promoting open standards and harmonisation of data exchange and interfaces. 

Last but not least, coordination of on-going e-mobility projects across Europe can generate valuable lessons for all stakeholders, allowing them to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others and fostering a truly European approach to electric vehicles. Public-private partnerships – both at EU level and at national level – are a good way to get the most out of research and demonstration projects. The Green eMotion project, a flagship EU-wide initiative on e-mobility with EURELECTRIC as a partner, is one such example, as is the EU-funded ZeEUS project on electric buses, which EURELECTRIC has recently joined. 


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Panagiota Dilara and Laura Lonza

Joint Research Center

European Commission

Posted on: 02/06/2014

A lot has been said during past discussions in this forum on the issue of decarbonisation of road transport, but we would like to focus on two concrete examples where the Joint Research Centre's (JRC) Institute for Energy and Transport has worked closely with industry towards achieving this goal. The JRC, as the European Commission's in house science service, provides support to European Union policies and technology innovation in this area, in order to ensure sustainable, safe, secure and efficient energy production, distribution and use to foster sustainable and efficient transport in Europe. In order to support the technical development and implementation of the EU policies, an open dialogue with key stakeholders, such as vehicle manufacturers and Member State authorities' technical experts has always been encouraged. 

We could highlight the work done to set up a methodology for estimating CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. These are estimated to be responsible for 25% of road vehicle CO2 emissions. However, there is currently no method for determining their exact level of emissions. The reason for this lack of measurement methodology is that this is a very complex category, which comprises all sorts of vehicles, such as garbage trucks, delivery trucks, buses and long haul vehicles.

In order to get a better understanding of the extent of these emissions, the JRC has developed a very close collaboration with industrial partners and academia. This has allowed the JRC to contribute to the development, testing and validation of this new methodology based on vehicle simulation. It accurately quantifies CO2 emitted from a variety of HDVs, while taking into account all their characteristics, such as aerodynamic drag, body configurations, auxiliaries, gearboxes, etc. Industrial partners contributed by sharing data and methods and providing vehicles for testing in order to make sure that all necessary features are included.

Such a tool will also be made available in the future as a market tool, allowing therefore HDV buyers to simulate various configurations which should allow them to select the best vehicle according to their particular use, not only in terms of purchase price, but also based on real values of fuel consumption. It will also further allow regulators to get a better understanding of whether emissions from this type of vehicles are increasing or not. Further it should provide a robust basis for determining measures that may be needed in the future.

The second example is the long-standing collaboration between the Joint Research Centre and the European automotive and oil industries, in the framework of the so-called JEC research collaboration. Started in the year 2000, it brings together the JRC, the European Council for Automotive Research and Development (EUCAR) and the Oil Companies’ European organisation for Environment, Health and Safety (CONCAWE). The three organisations have collaborated in several areas related to the sustainability of the European vehicle and oil industries, providing facts relating to energy use, efficiency and emissions from a broad range of road vehicle powertrain and fuel options.

The JEC Well-to-Wheels (WTW) reports and methodology have become a scientific reference in the European energy research landscape. Results issued from this collaboration have been regularly and repeatedly used as one of the main reference inputs in EU regulation: the Fuel Quality Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive, as well as the Clean Power for Transport package. The same methodological approach and – to a major extent – the same data are being used by major corporations in both the energy and automotive industry for their internal business planning. One such example is the use of JEC Well-to-Wheels data and methodology to value energy, energy efficiency, and CO2 in the ExxonMobil 2040 energy outlook. 

All input data and calculations made for the several hundreds of well-to-tank and tank-to-wheels pathways are publicly available along with quality reports explaining the methodological approach used. On-going dialogue with experts and stakeholders helps improving the quality of results. It equally provides common ground, vocabulary and – above all – understanding of facts and perspectives to strengthen the consensual approach between policy makers and industry in the crucial task of de-carbonising road transport.


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Sylvain Haon

Executive Director


Posted on: 02/06/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Sylvain Haon from Polis discusses; how policy and industry can work together to decarbonise road transport. Part of decarbonising transport on the path to 2050.



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Christian Egenhofer and Vasileios Rizos

Energy and Climate Change

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Posted on: 03/06/2014

Transport is a strategic sector for Europe and an engine of economic growth, representing some 5% of GDP and directly employing about 10 million people. At the same time, transport also accounts for about 25% of EU total greenhouse gas emissions and the trend is increasing, given that other sectors such as industry and electricity are decreasing fast.

Against this background, the European Commission’s target to achieve a 60% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction in the transport sector by 2050 – compared to 1990 - sounds daunting. But this does not need to be the case. A recent CEPS multi-stakeholder Task Force report has found that reaching the kind of targets necessary is possible, provided that action is taken now and at all levels. This must include all transport sectors without exemption. Huge technological potential still exists in new low-carbon technologies, both for vehicles and fuels technology, across all sectors.

The single most important policy to accelerate the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies is the steady tightening of emissions standards (or targets). In the past technological progress fueled by strict standards had been able to reduce pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and emissions of particulate matter (PM). A comparable trend is likely to develop for CO2 from cars and vans as stricter standards – provided that cost-effective technologies exist – will drive higher efficiency of the internal combustion engine while at the same speeding up the deployment of new low-carbon technologies and fuels.Standards will also create regulatory certainty for product developers and manufacturers. If applied smartly, they keep EU technology and vehicles competitive on world markets, where GHG emissions standards are also progressively tightened.

Various promising technology routes available such as improving the efficiency of ICE vehicles, electric and hybrid vehicles, using electricity from low-carbon sources, hydrogen from renewable or zero carbon emissions sources, gas vehicles using natural gas and biogas or biofuels with a positive overall effect on GHG emissions. While all these technologies offer great potential, it is not yet clear what the mix of these technologies might be in the future. Over this, one should not forget that further potential exist for example through what is called eco-driving, efficiency improvements or demand measures.

At present, the majority of GHG emissions of vehicles with internal combustion engines stem from the burning of fuels in vehicles, typically described as ‘tank-to-wheel’. However, studies indicate that emissions arising from fuel generation and during the manufacturing process are becoming increasingly important for new low-carbon technologies. To be truly effective, these ‘upstream’ emissions will increasingly need to be regulated. A logical choice could be via an emissions trading systems, the EU’s choice for regulating GHG emissions.

Action now is crucial to show political commitment to the long-term target. Postponing policy development to beyond 2020 or even 2030 will undermine the credibility and predictability that transport providers, vehicle and fuels producers, technology providers or investors need. Most importantly, it will significantly increase the costs of reaching climate targets later.

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Konstandinos Diamandouros

Head of Office

European Union Road Federation

Posted on: 09/06/2014

As an association representing important industry players in the road infrastructure sector, we feel that a closer cooperation with policymakers is essential if we are going to make good on our promise of decarbonising road transport.  I would like to offer the following case in hand.

Our industry has long been at the forefront of efforts to render its practices greener.  I would like to offer a practical example: one of our members has developed a software that enables road authorities to compare the environmental footprint of different road construction and maintenance tenders based on a number parameters, i.e. the tender's projected energy consumption, CO2 footprint, savings of natural resources etc.  This software has first been unveiled in France and now, we have plans to export it to other European countries.

The challenge our industry faces has to do with the current legal framework when it comes to public procurement.  Current EU rules on public procurement have put too much emphasis on the principle of the lowest bidder which has meant they in most cases, road authorities would award contracts based solely on the price, whilst ignoring important elements such as life-cycle costs and environmental performance.  This has proved as a major disincentive for the uptake of innovative solutions and the willingness of industry partners to invest into new technologies.

The new Rules on Public Procurement which were published in March 2014 seem to be thus moving in the right direction.  They introduce for the 1st time the concept of life-cycle costing in the award criteria and give contracting parties greater flexibility in finding a better balance between price vs quality.  Moreover, this should stimulate the use of Green Public Procurement criteria which are currently being elaborated by the European Commission in cooperation with industry partners.  We hope that this revised legal framework will allow industry and road authorities to implement greener solutions on our roads.      


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Alain Flausch

Secretary General


Posted on: 10/06/2014

Globally, emissions have increased by 50% since the Kyoto protocol was first signed in 1990 and are continuing to do so, growing by 3.1% as recently as 2011. This means that massive efforts are now required to reduce emissions and fast if temperatures are to be stabilised at an increase of 2°c. In Europe today, urban mobility is a significant energy user, consuming some 140 million tons of oil equivalent per year and emitting 470 million tons of CO₂ equivalent, making up 8% of total emissions. Low or zero carbon mobility with low energy consumption is essential, therefore, to contribute towards a sustainable future and competitive cities where people, businesses and culture can thrive.

In 2011, the European Commission published its Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area targeting a 20% reduction in transport emissions by 2030 (compared to 2008 levels) rising to 60% by 2050 (compared to 1990). Working with the International Energy Agency, we found that the 2030 objective cannot be met by technological advances alone, or what we call ‘business as usual’; we need a combination of technology and policy measures to encourage a significant modal shift towards sustainable transport modes. 

The best and most efficient strategy towards low-carbon mobility is to encourage a significant modal shift away from private motorised modes towards public transport, walking, cycling and combined mobility (car-sharing, car pooling, taxis etc.). This also includes supply and demand measures to make an attractive service part of urban lifestyle. In order for public transport to become citizens’ mode of choice, however, we need for it to also become the mode of choice for decision-makers, who can adopt integrated urban policies that both optimise the benefits of public transport and help to steer demand towards it.  

Local authorities can also play a crucial role in the reduction of emissions by providing better operating conditions for collective modes. Measures such as priority at traffic lights and reserved lanes are simple yet effective; an increase of 5km/h of commercial speed on a busy line equals 20% less consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. 

Electrification is one way to decarbonise transport; the proportion of public transport powered by electricity in Europe today ranges between 40-50% so there is certainly room for improvement, providing of course, that the electricity is sustainably sourced. 

Public transport is helping cities to reduce energy consumption and has been doing so for more than a century already. Rail transport in urban areas runs almost exclusively on electricity and in the last decade alone passenger rail transport reduced its energy consumption by some 22%. Further gains can also be made with innovation in weight-saving and energy recuperation devices.

What’s more, the public transport sector is able and willing to further reduce its carbon footprint. For example, 95% of buses, which currently account for around half of the total public transport offering in Europe, are still powered by diesel fuels. Long-term decarbonisation of buses would therefore focus on second-generation biofuels, but also on electrification. 

That is the objective of the ZeUS project, which has been launched last January by a UITP coordinated consortium of 40 partners including bus manufacturers, universities, energy providers, transport authorities and operators. ZeUS, standing for Zero Emission Urban Bus System, is the largest demonstration programme for electric buses to date. What is interesting in this project is that it is not a research programme but a practical downstream project. It aims at extending the fully-electric solution to a wider part of the urban bus network. 

Developing electric vehicles of large capacity and creating an infrastructure able to provide the required charging energy will facilitate the market up-take of electric buses in Europe. ZeEUS covers innovative electric bus solutions with different electric powertrain systems to be demonstrated in 8 cities: Barcelona, Bonn, Glasgow, London, Münster, Plzen, one city in Italy and Stockholm. Between them, they will operate 35 high capacity buses that are either fully electric of plug-in hybrid. ZeEUS’ analyses will allow developing guidelines and tools to support stakeholders in efficiently introducing electrified bus systems in European cities. As the coming years will see many pilots, demonstrations and purchases of electric vehicles, an Observatory will be set-up to discuss the progress of bus systems electrification in Europe and contribute to the definition of strategies for electric bus fleets deployment. ZeUS will run until April 2017 and has a budget of €22.5m. The EU provides €13.5m as part of the implementation of its Seventh Framework Programme by the DG Mobility and Transport, with the rest covered by the partners of the consortium.

A significant modal shift towards public transport, walking and cycling, as well as further electrification of public transport, will mark a considerable step forwards to reducing emissions and energy consumption in Europe’s (and the world’s) cities. The European Commission estimates that the development of low-carbon energy and transport systems will require an annual public and private investment of €270bn over the coming 40 years; if this is what it takes to liberate our cities from congestion and pollution and to revitalise the European economy, thean that could be considered money well spent. 


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Jean-Luc Di Paola-Galloni

Vice-President, Sustainable Development and External Affairs


Posted on: 19/06/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Jean Luc Di Paola-Galloni on the topic of how policy and industry can work together to decarbonise road transportation. Part of decarbonising transport on the path to 2050.



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Guillaume Saint Pierre

Senior Researcher


Posted on: 23/06/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Guillaume Saint-Pierre from Ifsttar, The French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks, speaks about a system for more sustainable transportation called ecoDriver.



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Fabienne De Brébisson

Communications Director


Posted on: 24/06/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Fabienne de Brébisson of Valeo speaks about ways to reach the goal of Emission Reduction while maintaining comfort and functionality. 


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Michael Nielsen

General Delegate

International Road Transport Union

Posted on: 03/07/2014

Road transport plays a crucial role in our society connecting all producers with all consumers. Simply put it is the lifeblood of our economic existence. Every year in the European Union commercial road transport contributes EUR400 billion  to the economy, directly employing over 5 million people , with many more indirectly dependent on road transport for their jobs. Every physical item that we use or own has at some point in its life been on a truck. And demand for commercial road transport, both freight and passenger, is set only to increase. But it is clear that although we may want to see more buses and coaches and less private cars on the road, adding more and more trucks to meet the ever-increasing demand is not an environmentally sustainable option. 

Road transport has already made significant progress in meeting its own environmental obligations and is continuing to help wider society to meet its obligations. Since 1990 toxic emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (HDV) have been cut by 95%  and CO2 emissions have fallen by 20%  since 1995. Passenger road transport uses less fuel per passenger per 100km  than any other form of powered transport, using less than one litre compared to over seven litres for the private car. 

Allowing innovation to transport more with less

Despite the fact that commercial road transport accounts for just 3%  of total CO2 emissions it is clear that more can and must be done. To do that road transport must be allowed the opportunity to freely innovate, as is the case for other modes – trains have got longer, planes and boats bigger. Road transport must be supported to do more with less as part of the process of de-carbonising the European transport system as a whole. 

Improvements in vehicle aerodynamics can bring major fuel savings when coupled with other aerodynamic features such as fins at the rear of trucks. In this regard the IRU welcomes the current proposals to improve the aerodynamic shape of HDVs and to increase the permitted weight of buses, coaches and some trucks to compensate for heavier alternative propulsion systems. But even here European legislators missed an opportunity to do more by failing to allow longer fuel-saving fins, up to 1.5m, at the rear of the vehicle. 

Innovations such as the European Modular System, or so-called eco-combies, where two vehicles can carry the load of 3 traditional trucks, can also make a significant positive difference to fuel consumed per tonne transported, to toxic and CO2 emissions, as well as to reducing the number of trucks on the road. Using such operating methods can bring particular benefits when used in combined transport operations.

Cooperation between modes needs to be improved. No one mode should be able to stifle innovations in another mode. All modes need to innovate. All modes need to take positive action to reduce their carbon footprint. All modes need to cooperate freely and more efficiently with each other to improve the multi-modal offerings to customers, making it easier for customers to choose a multi-modal transport. 

Fuelling de-carbonisation

New operating methods are only part of the solution to de-carbonising road transport. Fuel is obviously crucial. The industry has undertaken to voluntarily reduce its fuel consumption by 30% by 2030 (see IRU’s 30by30 Resolution. The private road transport industry is not wedded to the use of oil-based fuels. The IRU welcomes the development, deployment and use of alternative fuels. 

However, we are convinced of the importance of harmonising standards for alternative fuels and therefore call on authorities to build and implement the required infrastructure, taking into consideration the time that some fuels would need before becoming operationally viable, and that different fuels will be economically viable in different circumstances and over different distances. In return, the road transport industry, in line with the IRU 3 “i” Strategy – innovation, incentives, infrastructure - for achieving sustainable development, is fully prepared to play its part in reducing the environmental impact of its activities by purchasing the appropriate vehicles for the work needed, but where possible and with proven solutions.

Driver behaviour also plays a huge role in determining how much fuel is used. More and better training of drivers on eco-driving techniques and bring fuels savings of up to 15%. The industry has actively supported this training process through the ECOeffect project and the IRU’s training arm IRU Academy, spreading these vital skills to thousands of drivers and trainers across the EU. Such driving techniques should be an essential part of any driver training.

Developing Intelligent Transport Systems and Smart Vehicles

New technological advancements offer us a glimpse into a possible road transport future, and this is likely to provide the long-term answers that we seek. The use of Intelligent Transport Systems that sees communication between road infrastructure and vehicles, reducing stop-starts and improving traffic flows, will have a major impact on how we transport and travel. 

Other vehicle developments also offer interesting prospects for the future. Already this month the Dutch government announced it is to pass the necessary legislation to allow autonomous, or driverless, vehicles to operate on their roads. Such vehicles offer better traffic flow and fuel use by removing human behaviour all together. The fuel saving benefits are even more pronounced when coupled with technology such as pontooning for example, but many technological and public perception barriers remain. Other future possibilities might include the electrification of some road infrastructure allowing electric or hybrid vehicles to operate across long distances. Experiments on this have already begun in Germany.

Although technology offers future hope many technical, political and societal barriers remain. We must work to remove these barriers, to allow innovation and new working methods, encourage and incentivise new technologies. We must also keep doing more with less and in a more efficient way, cooperating together, across modes, to de-carbonise road transport and indeed the whole transport system. 

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Guido di Pasquale

Electrical Engineer


Posted on: 07/07/2014

One of the weakest aspects of public transport is the lack of information towards users therefore the need to travel of every individual is satisfied using the most traditional personal device that is the car. The advent of the cloud technology and especially of smartphones and tablets, considered as travel companions, can contribute significantly to give shape to the so called smart travellers.

With no doubts, the electric vehicles pushed by institutions and the politics can be a driving force for the decarbonisation of the road transport. Politics and industry have the power to strongly promote the collective transport, being the classic Public Transport or the more innovative types such as the car pooling, car sharing, bike-sharing or the demand responsive transport, in which the penetration and the acceptance of electric vehicles can be considered easier than the personal ownership.

As an example, the politics can incentivize the use of car-sharing giving access, for instance, to the Restricted Access Areas or enabling such vehicles to use the preferential lanes for buses. The politics can enable such vehicles to become automatically a public transport mode by law as well, especially the car-pooling where the safety issues are felt as real problems.

The joint commitment between politics and industry must enhance the development of innovative services and applications oriented to the decarbonisation and CO2 reduction.

The ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems), and in particular the Cloud-Computing technologies will enable the development of platforms and market places of online B2B mobility services, available to everyone in Europe, anywhere and anytime, linking the main actors – travellers, road or transport operators, vehicle manufacturers, service providers, data and content providers.

To this end, politics could facilitate the dissemination and opening of available data, enabling the most innovative companies to focus on the quality of the provided applications with the aim of being competitive on innovation and not on the ownership of data. 

The smart travellers expect always more to have all the information related to travels available on their smartphones, preferably in real time and customized.

Moreover, together with information related to the travels, it is very important to give the possibility to book, pay and issue tickets for a real seamless travel experience. 

Sharing their data, the transport operators and the public administrations can give the possibility to enterprises of providing evolved products and services always closer to the new traveller’s needs. This is a way to make the traditional public transport more integrated to the most innovative services in order to provide the traveller with a really multimodal travel experience, renouncing to the use of the private vehicle.

Therefore politics and industry can really cooperate to the development of technological platforms that would be able to connect data from different operators and services and integrate them in a multi-modal and multi-service context, reducing the financial risks for the involved stakeholders for the implementation of this service at the European level. 


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Jonas Stromberg

Director of Sustainable Solutions


Posted on: 08/07/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Jonas Stromberg from Scania gives his views on how to reach the decarbonisation goals. In relation to the topic of decarbonising road transport: the path to 2050 event.

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Angel Alvarez Alberdi

Secretary General

European Waste-to-Advanced Biofuels Association

Posted on: 15/07/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Angel Alvarez Alberd from European Waste-to-Advanced Biofuels Association gives his views on the most effective biofuels going forwards. In relation to the topic of decarbonising road transport: the path to 2050 event.

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Anthony King

Key Accounts Manager

Scania South Africa

Posted on: 24/07/2014

VIDEO COMMENT: Anthony King from Scania South Africa gives his perspective on biofuels and renewable energies, going forward for Africa. In relation to the topic of decarbonising road transport: the path to 2050 event.

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