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The Future of Transportation Conference took place on 5-6 July in Cologne, Germany with a view to examining future trends that will impact Europe’s transport system.  The Conference was organised under eight overarching themes:

  • Getting Transportation off the ground
  • Legal and Technical Issues of Autonomous vehicles
  • The Challenge of Rail
  • Vision Zero
  • Quantum shifts through big and small changes
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Changing landscape for manufacturers
  • Infrastructure and Project funding

ERF Head of Office, Konstandinos Diamandouros, was invited to speak at the Vision Zero stream on infrastructure adaptation and autonomous vehicles.  In light of the standstill that Europe finds itself in terms of fatality reduction, it is important to fully tap into the safety benefits of promising vehicles technologies that may become in the near future standard feature in new vehicles.  Out of the 19 promising technologies identified by the European Commission in its 2016 Communication  ‘Saving Lives: Boosting Car Safety in the EU’ for potential inclusion in the Revision of the General Safety Regulation, three are linked to road infrastructure, i.e. Automatic Emergency Breaking (AEB), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA).

It is clear that the optimal functioning of such technologies will depend on the existence of a well maintained infrastructure and in this respect, it is important for EU and national authorities to end the maintenance backlog that has piled up over the last years, mainly as a result of cut backs in budgets.  At the same time, it is important to better understand how such vehicles technologies actually interact with pavements, traffic signs and lane markings given that, to date ,there is limited evidence to correlate the technologies used in cars with the performance of the infrastructure solutions.

ERF is actively engaging with the vehicle sector and CEN to encourage testing of existing ADAS systems with different infrastructure elements that can help pave the way for more robust solutions that can function with high certainty in order to bring about the much needed safety gains.