Opportunities for European Innovation Policy for Transport



Opportunities for European Innovation Policy for Transport

Authors

ZUYLEN H J VAN, Ministry of Transport (AVV) and Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands and WEBER K M, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Sevilla, Spain

Description

Transport is a large-scale multi-level system that suffers from significant efficiency problems and has serious environmental side effects. On national and European level policy goals have been set to overcome these problems.

Abstract

Transport is a large-scale multi-level system that suffers from significant efficiency problems and has serious environmental side effects. On national and European level policy goals have been set to overcome these problems.

Technology has a great potential to help realise these goals. For instance, the technology to purify exhaust gasses by means of catalytic conversion has made it possible to realise the goals with respect to emissions. It is possible to develop motor vehicles with a much lower energy consumption, able to realise the goals with respect to CO2 (van Wee et aL 1996). Technological innovations have also a significant impact on the efficiency of the transport system. The utilisation of existing infrastructure has been improved thanks to dynamic traffic management technology. Traffic and travel information are beginning to improve the choice processes of travellers and shippers, resulting in a more efficient utilisation of roads and alternative travel modes.

Technology is not only important to realise directly certain objectives, it also serves to enable the implementation of certain policy measures. For instance, if speed limitations are prescribed on certain roads, the enforcement can be supported by technological tools such as an Intelligent Speed Adapter (ISA) - an electronic device which limits the maximum speed of a car if it enters a certain area - or just by devices that check speeds, automatically recognise number plates and can identify violators in a cost-effective way. Another example is the opportunities offered by electronic contactless payment systems. This may facilitate the implementation of efficient pricing for different transport modes.

A third important impact of technological innovation comes from the fact that they have a direct or indirect impact on transport. For instance, internet makes it possible to optimise logistic processes and this may have important impacts on transport. E-commerce is still in an initial phase, but if it breaks through, it might give radically changes in logistic patterns and transport processes.

Direct and indirect effects of distance working and mobile communication are becoming visible. Some of them are positive, but also negative side effects are emerging.

Publisher

Association for European Transport