Transport and mobility play a fundamental role in today’s world. And the industry is therefore a key driver of economic growth and sustainability. Building a ‘smart, green and integrated transport network’ constitutes one of the seven Societal Challenges. The European Commission aims at the promotion of efficient, safe, secure and environmentally friendly mobility and creation of the conditions for a competitive industry generating growth and jobs. This, however, can only be guaranteed if Europe stays at the cutting-edge of transport R&D.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) works in concert with the European Union Member States, European industry, citizens and stakeholders. It participates in the financing of the horizontal research activities (CORDISCOSTEurekaERA-NET) and shares the management responsibility with the DG Research & Innovation. Currently, it also coordinates a cross-disciplinary team preparing the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Smart Cities and Communities aiming to help cities and communities, business and civil society to implement smart city solutions across the sectors energy, transport and ICT at much greater scale and speed and to improve services while reducing energy and resource consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) and other polluting emissions.  

Horizon 2020, the EU research funding programme for the years 2014-2020, will address transport as an integrated system, however not ignoring its specifics of the different modes (rail, road, waterborne and air transport), particularly where there is a need to achieve technological breakthroughs. Attention is given to both, technology and in relevant socio-economic research. Actions will focus on four areas:

  • Resource-efficient transport;
  • Better mobility, less congestion, more safety and security;
  • Global leadership for the European transport industry; and,
  • Socio-economic research and forward-looking activities for future policy making.

Horizon 2020's funding of transport research and innovation will complement Member States' investment by focusing on activities with a clear European added-value. More specifically, emphasis will be placed on priority areas that match European policy objectives. The proposed budget for transport research is €6.3 billion, which is the equivalent of 8.23% of the total Horizon 2020 budget.

The work carried out in the framework of the Strategic Transport Technology Plan (STTP) will contribute to focusing the transport European research and innovation activities through Horizon 2020.

Cooperation in Transport Research between the EU and the USA

Following a long tradition in working together to promote strong economic growth (pursued through multilateral and bilateral mechanisms), at the EU-U.S. Joint Consultative Group Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation on February, 2013, the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation signed an agreement to boost cooperation in transport research. This agreement is designed to foster research into new cross-cutting technologies that will improve transportation systems and maintain competitiveness of both sides, using joint symposia and twinning of projects as tools for cooperation.

With regards to the transportation research, on 20th January 2016 the areas of cooperation were updated to the following ones:

  • development of highway infrastructures,
  • road safety,
  • automation
  • urban logistics
  • ITS (Intelligent Transportation System)

The Horizon2020 Work Programme 2016-2017 contains 8 topics aimed to implement the cooperation between EU and US in these areas, following the 5 topics on the previous Work Programme.

Also on the air transportation field exists a cooperation between EU and US. In fact, on 30th March 2008 were signed the EU-US Open Skies Agreement: for the first time European airlines can fly within USA airspace without restrictions.