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Vice President of the European Commission
EU triples funding for rail innovation
Media statement/Press Room, Berlaymont, Brussels
16 December 2013
Good afternoon everyone,
Today we are tripling the funding for research and innovation in rail.
That means that over the next 7 years, almost €1 billion of public and private funds will be spent on research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways
Today 10% of Europe's freight is sent across our rail network each year.
That's the equivalent of about 66 million trucks that are not driving along our already congested motorways.
And 6% of Europe's passenger journeys are by rail annually. That's 8 billion people who are not adding to city traffic jams or heavily congested roads.
The problem we face is these rail journeys are not enough.
To increase rail traffic, the industry must deliver better services and provide an attractive alternative to passengers and businesses.
To help achieve this, the Commission has adopted "Shift2Rail" a new public-private partnership to drive innovation in rail. The goal is to reduce rail operating costs by up to 50% ; to increase capacity by up to 100% and increase reliability by up to 50%.
In practice, it will focus on 5 key areas.
- First, we want to develop a new generation of high capacity trains which are cost-efficient and reliable. If we want to offer better and more efficient rail services, we need better trains.
- Second, we need traffic management to become a lot more efficient than it is. New traffic management systems can already double the number trains that can run on a line. They are key to more frequent and more reliable services.
- Third, we need to work on the quality of the tracks. That includes noise reduction and reduced costs.
- However good railways are they also have to link with other forms of transport. That’s another frequent source of bottlenecks. So we will be looking to develop better logistics and improve connections between rail, ports and road.
- Finally, twenty-first century trains need a twenty-first century ticketing and journey planning. We want to develop joined-up ticketing systems for rail and link them with other forms of transport.
Like many of you, I am always very pleased when I get to travel on reasonably priced, reliable, quality train services.
I would like, in the future, to plan many more journeys on them.