Brussels, 10 Jun 2004
'Investing better and more in research is a question of life and death for Europe,' said EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin on 9 June.
The comment came in an address to the International Union of Public Transport (UITP), which the Commissioner saw as 'a good opportunity to say to you that public transport is and should be concerned with European research policy as well.'
Clean energy, new materials and information technologies are just some of the ways in which public transport is touched by research, said Mr Busquin. He highlighted two EU funded projects in order to underscore how the European Union is doing its bit to promote progress in the public transport sector. The SAFETRAM project, due to conclude at the end of June, brings together industry and operators for the development and testing of new concepts to increase the safety of passengers in the case of a collision. 'Hopefully the results of SAFETRAM will be able to serve as a basis for a European norm on the resistance capacity to impact of underground vehicles and trams,' he said.
The LIBERTIN project also brings together industry and operators, this time to define common new technical specifications for high turnover rolling stock. The results should enable the progressive emergence of a European market for light rail systems, according to the Commissioner.
Mr Busquin also promised that future European research programmes will continue to offer lots of opportunities and appropriate instruments for supporting research affecting public transport. The challenge for the industry, he said, is to use these opportunities in the most intelligent way possible, and to organise itself.
The Commissioner concluded by calling on the public transport sector to establish an ERANET action - an initiative aimed at reinforcing the coordination of national research programmes.