Focus on Eurforum
The EURFORUM project in which EMTA was involved came to an end with the final Conference on 19 November 2007 in Brussels. The project which gathered UITP, various research institutes across Europe ECTRI, TUD, CERTU and 3 associations EMTA, POLIS, ASSTRA (further referred to as the consortium) started in April 2006 with the statement that urban transport was not enough part of the research concerns at European level although it played an instrumental role in the development of the urban areas.
It all started with the consortium developing a Vision within 2020 in line with the Lisbon Agenda, of what should be enjoyable cites economically efficient and respectful of environmental concern.
It followed with the opinion that update research and particularly existing technology Platforms like ERRAC  or ERTRAC  didn’t address urban mobility specificities nor intermodality and finally stated that the research
project should consider the end user as the starting point of any further thinking. In that sense, no existing research platform actually fulfill those goals.
Why call for EU action ?
The consortium saw the added value of EU in encouraging competition between technologies, in providing knowledge and guidelines, in supporting collection of data, and in bringing up innovative urban research topics.
The final conference round table backed up this assessment. In particular, the panelists stressed :
The importance of teamwork, EU is seen as capable of triggering partnership, promoting further the various local achievements in good practices already acknowledged by their own networks, stimulating benchmarking experiences and finally formalizing guidelines to help disseminate the acquired knowledge.
The necessity of setting up standards and harmonizing data collection, costs assessments and methodology including maintenance, life cycle costs and so on... Also the panelist called for intervention from EU to promote joint procurement as it is seen as a way to push forward the integration of new technology, not least the ones about cleaner exhaustion emissions, into public
The instrumental role of EU in pushing forward the necessary change in mindset to achieve a behavioral shift in attitudes across Europe away from car dependency and supportive of sustainable mobility.
The consortium developed the structure of EURFORUM’s strategic research agenda (SRA) focusing as previously underlined on the user’s needs.
Knowing better the citizens activity patterns and therefore needs for mobility in the urban area, will help in designing better or newer adequate transport services or even mobility services. The urban structure and for example the relationship between land use and transport demand, in fact impacts significantly on user’s needs and at the same time user’s behavior impacts on urban structure.They interact.
Therefore research on the demand side is needed to increase knowledge about human behavior and about impacts of policy measures or system innovations on citizens’ attitude.
On the supply side, urban mobility services lack of enough recognition from the travelers whose information is often poor and therefore leads to inefficient use of transport options. Besides services should be better integrated in a wider vision of intermodality including all modes of mobility beyond the regular public service transports. Sound models of such wide and integrated mobility are still to be designed.
Lastly, urban mobility systems must emphasize transport safety, as well as “efficient greener sytems” and make the most out of the resources of ITS (intelligent transport system) to optimize networks combining efficiency and management.
The final conference ended with recommendations, among which the main ones :
Research should be considered both as an element and a policy. It requires partnership with shared responsibilities on the selected topics, for example the project European Bus System of the Future gathers 51 stakeholders.
Research should be used to implement change and new governance and it is the right time.
Research on Urban Transport should build on existing technology platforms with cross cutting
Research could use combined funding from different EC sectors : the Frame Programme 2007-2013, the Trans European Network funds, the Cohesion funds and also the national funds from Member States should help.
Finally Andràs Ziegler Director of the Commission DG RTD Transport Directorate said, “The results of EURFORUM will pave the way for better coordinated research activities across Europe and will be an important factor in the implementation of FP7 , improving our understanding of what measures can be implemented in cities rove urban mobility”.
EMTA is well placed to contribute mainly in providing good/best practices knowledge, in sharing data as well as providing benchmarking on statistics and performances, and in disseminating information out of the various surveys it has and continues to conduct.
For the sake of the Urban Mobility research organization, the SRA has been structured into 4 main
sectors. However, those sectors interact with one another and research and innovation in one sector when implemented might impact on the others. To ensure such effects are balanced within the transport system and even beyond the mobility system, a good coordination is required and this reinforces again the Transport Authorities‘ role. EMTA will therefore have to play a role in the future platform on Urban Mobility Research.
Updated : janvier 22, 2008