by Symela Touchtidou

Transport consumes one third of all final energy in the EU.

The bulk of this energy comes from oil. This means that transport is responsible for a large share of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and a major contributor to climate change.

While most other economic sectors, such as power production and industry, have reduced their emissions since 1990, those from transport have risen notes the European Environmetal

The automated bus (without driver) pilot program run in Trikala in 2015. Automated buses are about to make a comeback in the city in the near future

Agency.

Reducing transport polution is crucial for the “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the EU by 2050” policy.

So, how does Greece perform?

“Environmental protection in Transport means a new Mobility paradigm, namely Clean, Automated, Shared and Multimodal Transport” E. Bekiaris, Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT) Director at Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH) , told GBF.

Greece is currently very well integrated in all these megatrends; gaining the lost time and extending its strengths in the maritime transport to other modes. The new Governmental policies and recent laws on Electrification of fleets and Micromobility (e-bikes, e-scooters, etc.) regulation are expected to bring Greece back on track in relevant technologies’ application.

Other initiatives, like the automated vehicle fleets’ application in Trikala in the context of SHOW project (a 30M€ EC project, technically coordinated by CERTH/HIT) and the announced smart and clean island investment of VW in Astypalaia, push further Greece, to be in the avant-garde of relevant trends instead of being just a late follower.”

A MoU between the Greek government and Volkswagen Group aims at making Astypalea a model for smart, emission-free mobility

E. Bekiaris was reelected for a second two years’ term as President of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI), the European Association that brings together 27 top ranking Research Institutes and Universities across 19 European states.

“ECTRI is able to represent the Research Performers’ voice to the EC policies in the sector” Bekiaris said.
“Thus, only the last two years it produced 8 position papers on the new framework Programme Horizon Europe (HE). By meeting the relevant EC officials and making presentations at European Parliament and EC Committees it achieved to influence this programme for the benefit of the Research Performers and especially the smaller countries. As an example, the new European Initiatives CCAM (in Automated Vehicles) and 2ZERO (on electric vehicles) were initially planned to be Joint Research Undertakings (JRUs); meaning that the research performers would have to co-fund research by own means; something next to impossible for countries lacking funds and local relevant Industry, as Greece. Finally, ECTRI and other relevant Associations were able to convince the EC that a collaborative Public Private Partnership (cPPP) would be better; an instrument that allows equal participation to all research performers, without own funds investment. This is just one example of how much an Association may support our National Interests at European and Global (through ECTRI alliance with the US TRB) level.”