From 5-7th April 2017, some 100 transport infrastructure research experts from Europe and beyond met for the 2017 FEHRL Infrastructure Research Meeting (FIRM17). At this key event, FEHRL's new Strategic European Road and cross-modal Research and Implementation Plan (SERRP), updated Forever Open Road Resilient roadmap and new Scanning Tour report of Japan and South Korea were launched.The final conferences of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) REFINET and USE-iT projects were also held, as well as a workshop on the SKILLFUL project and a session on the ERA-NET Plus Infravation programme and all the other ongoing H2020 projects mentioned in the headline of this article. More details on each of these can be found in the description of each of the 11 sessions below.
Session 1: The future of road business - a public-private enterprise embracing infrastructure and vehicles
With the theme of "The future of road business - a public-private enterprise embracing infrastructure and vehicles", the conference started with a strategic session of the same name and presentations from the following six keynote speakers about their respective stratégies and future priorities:
SERRP - New FEHRL Strategic European Road and cross-modal Research and Implementation Plan by Maria Lurdes Antunes, FEHRL Vice-President
EC address: current work programme and next Framework programme by Robert Missen, Head of Unit for Innovation & Research, DG MOVE of the European Commission
CEDR - keeping NRA's ahead of the curve by Steve Phillips, CEDR Secretary-General
PIARC address by Claude Van Rooten, PIARC President
ERTRAC address by Stephan Neugebauer, ERTRAC President
ECTP address - Infrastructure, Mobility and the future of the Road Business by Miguel Segarra, ECTP Vice-President, Chair of the Infrastructure & Mobility Committee.
This first session was moderated by Thierry Goger, FEHRL Secretary General, who also gave an introduction to the whole conference.
Session 2: Strategy view - the need to go beyond the borders of the transport modes
This second session continued the strategic approach of the first session and involved presentations from Fernando Liesa, Secretary-General of ALICE, the European Technology Platform for logistics, followed by updates on the following two other strategic H2020 projects:
- SETRIS (To deliver a cohesive and coordinated approach to research and innovation strategies for all transport modes in Europe) by Mark Robinson of Newcastle University and President of ECTRI.
- FOX (Forever Open Infrastructure across (X) all transport modes - what are the results so far? by Ursula Blume of BAST.
Session 3: Final event of REFINET and USE-iT projects
The afternoon of the first day (Wednesday 5th April) started with the H2020 REFINET project's final conference. Jesús Rodríguez, PTEC Managing Director and REFINET coordinator of dissemination and communication, opened the session and made some comments on R&I initiatives in transport infrastructures before REFINET and the expected actions after REFINET through ECTP Infrastructure and Mobility committee. Alain Zarli from CSTB and REFINET coordinator presented the multi-modal transport infrastructures approach developed within this CSA. Savina Carluccio from ARUP summarised the best practices in transport infrastructures and the available technologies with different TRL values. Research and innovation priorities for multimodal transport infrastructures have been identified in REFINET with the coordination of Jesús Isoird and Jon Aurtenetxe from Tecnalia and were also presented by Alain Zarli in this session. Clemente Fuggini from D’Appolonia presented the recommendations for mobilising R&I programmes in transport infrastructures and a geo-cluster platform, with some conclusions on the lesson learnt from a case study (Railways in Romania). The Platform is available here.
Finally, after some minutes of debate, Miguel Segarra from Dragados and chairman of ECTP Infrastructure and Mobility committee made the closing remarks highlighting the need to continue the work of REFINET within ECTP in collaboration with other European Technology Platforms. A new version of the REFINET flyer was distributed at this conference that included a summary of the REFINET main results.
Following a short coffee break, the H2020 USE-iT project final conference began with an opening by Thierry Goger of FEHRL and followed swiftly by the following recommendations by each of the Work Package leaders:
- R&D&I in Safety and Security Isabela Erdelean , AIT
- R&D&I in Energy and Carbon Sarah Reeves, TRL
- R&D&I in User Information Ewa Zofka, IBDIM
Finally, Martin Lamb of Maple Consulting explained how FEHRL would build on these achievement to create a fully integrated transport infrastructure.
Session 4: Automated connected vehicles, car-sharing and electrification: How to tackle the imminent disruption to mobility their combined deployment will bring?
This second day (Thursday 6th April) began with an absorbing round table on automated connected vehicles and electrification. Moderated by Gerald Waldron, FEHRL Vice-President, this discussion involved Cristina Marolda of the European Commission (DG Move), Steve Phillips of CEDR, Jean-Luc di Paola-Galloni of ERTRAC- Valeo, France , Michael F. Trentacoste of FHWA, USA, Patrik Akerman of Siemens, Germany and Serge Van Dam of Rijkswaterstaat, the Netherlands.
Session 5: Resilience
In this session, moderated by FEHRL Executive Committee (FEC) Member Gina Ytteborg, Martin Lamb, FEHRL Programme Manager started by presenting the Forever Open Road 2017 update of the Resilient Road roadmap and he was followed by Caroline Evans of ARRB, who outlined the international dimensions of the afore-mentioned FOX, USE-iT, SETRIS, REFINET projects and key findings on the 2016 Asian Scanning Tour on Infrastructure Resilience. Lila Gaitanidou of CERTH then gave an overview of the H2020 RESOLUTE project to produce European Resilience Management Guidelines applicable for any kind of Critical Infrastructure and specified for the Urban Transport System. Finally, Karl Downey of EUPAVE and Carsten Karcher of EAPA presented the Common position paper on CO2 where the Road pavement industries highlight huge CO2 savings offered by maintaining and upgrading roads.
Session 6: Safety
This sixth session, moderated by FEHRL Research Coordinator Chair Manfred Haider, began with a presentation by Carlo Polidori of AIPSS on the H2020 ECOROADS project to establish a common enhanced approach to road infrastructure and tunnel safety management. Francesca la Torre of the University of Florence then outlined the highlights from the PRACT, EUSight and ESRET projects from the CEDR 2013 Call on Safety and Herman Moning of Rijkswaterstaat, the CEDR chair for WG Road Safety, finished with the CEDR Road Safety challenges and position paper
Session 7: Skills and knowledge transfer
The second day then ended with a workshop on the SKILLFUL project, which started with a general presentation by Adewole Adesiyun, FEHRL Deputy Secretary General and a presentation on Future trends in the European transportation system by Evangelos Bekiaris, CERTH/HIT. Evangelos and his colleague Matina Loukea of CERTH/HIT then moderated an interactive session to gain feedback to the project.
Session 8: Infravation
The third and final day of the conference began a session on the Infravation ERA-NET Plus programme, with an introduction by Peter WIlbers, Infravation Programme Coordinator and an overview of two of the nine funded innovation projects - Biorepavation by Emmanuel Chailleux of IFSTTAR and ECLIPs by Erdune Erkizia of Tecnalia.
Session 9: Asset management
Moderated by FEHRL Project Officer, Migle Paliukaite, this session comprised two H2020 projects - RAGTIME by Project Coordinator, Maria Zalbide of Tecnalia and AM4INFRA by Ruud Smit of Rijkswaterstaat, as well as an overview of the CEDR Transnational Road Research Programme 2014 Call on Asset Management and Maintenance by Tom Casey from Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
Session 10: Inspection & maintenance
This session, moderated by Agnes Jullien, FEHRL FEC Member, began with an overview of the H2020 SENSKIN project on New maintenance techniques that will enhance bridge performance by Konstantinos Loupos of ICCS, followed by the CEDR PREMIUM project to Develop guidance to improve the ability to manage road Equipment (road markings, signs, vehicle restraint systems and noise barriers) by Leif Sjögren of VTI and ended with the H2020 AEROBI project for the prototype of an innovative, intelligent, aerial robotic system for the in-depth structural inspection of reinforced concrete bridges by Philippe Crobocinski of Airbus Defence & Space.
Session 11: Mobility as a service and active modes
This final session, moderated by Claudia Ciuca, FEHRL Project Officer, covered the H2020 FLOW project about Making active modes count in transport planning by Bernard Gyergyay of Rupprecht-consult.eu, and finished with the MAASiFiE project from the CEDR Transnational Road Research Programme 2014 on Mobility & ITS by Aki Aapaoja of VTT.
Thierry Goger, FEHRL, Secretary-General, gave the wrap-up on all three days of the conference. Copies of all the presentations can be found here and the photos on the links below: