Transport infrastructure innovation to increase the transport system safety at modal and intermodal level (including nodes and interchanges)
Infrastructure plays a vital role in increasing transport safety levels, in particular in road transport. In the last years the resources available to maintain and upgrade transport infrastructure have been declining, a phenomenon that is expected to be aggravated by an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change. As a result, many elements of the surface transport infrastructure are in a deteriorating condition, facilities are ageing, and some are stressed more heavily than ever expected. Vehicle and vessels development and the introduction of connected systems represent new challenges to be met by infrastructure performances never considered in the past. Failure to meet infrastructure needs will have drastic consequences for the required functions of a modern network, and will negatively impact on the safety level of the whole European transport system.
In order to meet these challenges, proposals should address several of the following aspects:
- Infrastructure safety improvement by design and upgrading; new design methods and re-engineering to make infrastructure self-explaining and forgiving, including issues related to vulnerable users.
- Efficient maintenance methods to ensure continuity of high safety performance while allowing longer life-cycles of the infrastructure; development of embedded monitoring systems aimed at the implementation of predictive maintenance methods.
- Elaboration and implementation of the concept of transport infrastructure maintenance cycle, optimising all stages of maintenance, including design, monitoring, planning, as well as approaches to take account of other productive or leisure activities using the same infrastructure (e.g. inland waterways) and supporting decision-making between maintenance and structural interventions.
- Adaptation of the infrastructure to new vehicles characteristics, including V2I/I2V systems and information sharing.
- Improved safety in work zones and in links and interchanges at risk.
Particular attention to links and interfaces between modes and integrated safety management systems is encouraged. Multimodal safety management criteria for emergency management in case of critical events can be included.
SME active participation is strongly encouraged.
In line with the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[[COM(2012)497]], international cooperation is encouraged. In particular, proposals should foresee twinning with entities participating in projects funded by US DOT[[United States Department of Transportation (http://www.dot.gov/).]] to exchange knowledge and experience and exploit synergies.
Proposals should also foresee twinning with projects funded by CEDR's Transnational Research Programme[[http://www.cedr.fr/home/index.php?id=260]], to exchange knowledge and experience and to exploit synergies.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 to 5 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Actions will contribute to near eradication of infrastructure-caused accidents increased readability and forgiveness of the transport infrastructure; they will prove the effectiveness of long-term, predictive maintenance systems; outcome could include guidelines for infrastructure responsiveness to connectivity and novel vehicle characteristics and safe coexistence of transport and other activities using the same infrastructure. The increase of infrastructure safety performance will also contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the sector and will minimise effects on climate change via the improvement of traffic smoothness.