Brussels, 20 March 2007
The European Commission today launches two new research projects looking to address the issue of sustainable transport. The first, TRAENVIA, will assess and compare the environmental and socio-economic impact of difference transport modes along the extended Trans-European Corridor V, running from Lisbon to Kiev. The second is the "Collaborative Research Project for Air Pollution Reduction in Lombardia" which will focus on particulate matter and emission remediation options for that region of Italy. Both projects are coordinated by the Commission's in-house scientific service, DG Joint Research Centre and are part of the Commission's efforts to contribute to improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The two projects will be launched during a conference on "Transport and Environment: A Global Challenge – Technological and Policy Solutions" which takes place in Milan on 19-21 March.
"We need to tackle the issue of sustainable transport head-on" said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. "In the EU, transport is responsible for about one-third of all toxic substances and CO2 released into the atmosphere and this will increase significantly if we don't act now. The projects launched today are a good step in the right direction."
"Air quality has a direct impact on the health EU citizens. In the Po valley, air pollution reduces life expectancy by on average more than a year due to fine particles", emphasized Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "It is the responsibility of national, regional and local authority to protect their citizens and develop the most effective local measures."
"Transport and Environment: an Integrated Analysis" (TRAENVIA) is part of the Commission's innovative approach to tackling sustainable transport and takes as a case study the extended Corridor V, running from Lisbon to Kiev. The project will study new concepts for all types of surface transport, such as road, rail and waterborne and will look to find the appropriate balance and integration. Countries participating in the project are Slovenia, Spain, Italy, France, Hungary, Portugal and Ukraine.
Work is already underway to measure and compare emissions from different transport modes, taking elements such as traffic congestion, border crossing, toll stations and traffic flow into account. This project will also assess the potential environmental benefits from non-road transport and new technologies such as alternative fuels, hydrogen and power trains.
The second project will advance scientific understanding of air pollution. Areas of high average GDP, such as Lombardy, have high demand for transport, which in turn has a negative environmental and health effects. Levels of particulate matter and ozone are critically high in this region, so the project should provide scientific support to design and implement air quality strategies for the region that could also be used elsewhere in the EU.
The Milan conference at which the two projects are launched brings together environmental experts and policy-makers from across the EU to discuss issues related to sustainable transport and environment.
The European Commission will also be supporting research into sustainable
transport with the 7th Research Framework Programme, which has €4.1 bn for
transport research over the next 7 years. A call for proposals on a number of
relevant topics is currently open with a closing date of 3 May 2007.