The seventh edition of Transport Research Arena concluded last Thursday at the Reed Messe hall in Vienna, after a successful week of interactive sessions and an exhibition area with more than 90 exhibitors (16 – 19 April 2018). With digitalisation firmly set as the key topic for 2018 and onward, this edition of TRA chose the more precise theme “A Digital Era for Transport – Solutions for Society, Economy and Environment”.
Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, and Norbert Hofer, Austrian Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, opened the conference with an address emphasising the impact of research, development and innovation on the development of sustainability. Commissioner Bulc particularly highlighted the need to continue fighting and further reducing, through research, the various negative externalities of transportation and encouraged researchers to be bold in their approach. She concluded her speech with these words: “Dream, manifest and deliver”. Bundesminister Norbert Hofer then took the floor and delivered an inspiring speech on the benefits that digitalisation will bring to the sector, and expressed the hope that TRA 2018 would prove the birthplace of significant innovations for the Europe of tomorrow.
TRA 2018 was the first edition to welcome all transport modes, as aviation was present for the first time, together with road, rail and waterborne. This edition of TRA thus achieved a high degree of interaction within the R&I community of the transport sector, working towards a truly digital and intermodal European transport system.
The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking made its first appearance at TRA and successfully gathered a significant number of delegates around its stand as it promoted its railway research and innovation activities, along with the 12 Innovation Capabilities that had emerged from its Multi-Annual Action Plan review in 2017. Among many prestigious visitors, Commissioner Bulc visited the stand on 16 April to learn about the initial results from projects and to take the opportunity to be presented with the Capabilities.
The European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) was also present at TRA, in partnership with Shift2Rail, both to advertise its new research and innovation vision as set out in the Rail 2050 Vision document and to make contact with even more transport stakeholders, further broadening its understanding of the transport world.
This 2018 edition, following the previous editions in Athens (2012), Paris (2014) and Warsaw (2016), provided an opportunity for the International Union of Railways (UIC) and its members to participate and demonstrate their unwavering support and commitment to research and innovation activities as key elements in the development of the future European transport system, with railways as its backbone.
The UIC team attended the TRA sessions with a view to learn as much as possible from all the other sectors and to present a number of projects in which the UIC is involved at this important multimodal event. In particular, Jacques Colliard presented a review of all UIC security projects and Grigore Havarneanu presented the SAFER-LC project (http://safer-lc.eu/) during the ST45: 10.1 Road Infrastructure Analysis, Management & Improvements session on 18 April (http://safer-lc.eu/IMG/pdf/tra2018_11144_havarneanu.pdf).
Christine Hassoun represented the H2020 funded project NetiRail, as well as a number of other Shift2Rail JU funded projects (among others OptiYard, in2Track, Opeus) John Lutz took part in running the show for the S2R OptiYard project, together with the GoF4R and ST4RT Shift2Rail projects. Last but not least, Axel Gougelet represented UIC at the ERRAC stand and was a contact point for the Research and Innovation Coordination Group (RICG) throughout the event.