CEDR describes the uniqueness of the TRA
The Transport Research Arena (TRA) is supported by the European Commission (EC) and several Technology Platforms – Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR) is one of them. We spoke with the CEDR Secretary-General, Steve Phillips, about the Transport Research Arena 2018 in Vienna.
From your point of view, what makes TRA 2018 unique/special?
From its road transport origins, TRA itself has grown into a fully multimodal event representing transport innovation for Europe. With the addition of ACARE to the structure, we now have all the main transport modes on board and the digitalisation of transport theme will further broaden the scope to ‘virtual modes’. No other event encompasses the breadth and depth that TRA can offer. Bringing together academia, industry, NGOs, public authorities and policy makers, it is the much needed melting pot to incubate innovative solutions for transport challenges.
What does “A Digital Era for Transport” mean to you?
Digitalisation will influence all aspects of transport. This includes the aspects of traffic operations such as connected vehicles, integrated network management (including intermodality) as well as the planning and management of infrastructure with tools such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the IoT. Perhaps more importantly it will influence the relation between transport providers and users. Social media and the transparency of data are increasingly involved in both long-term planning and day-to-day management. The role of digitisation in the financing of our transport systems is another area of great interest. The internet has revolutionised commerce, but we are still at the beginning of the journey in terms of transport. Of course, there are many other aspects and that is what will make TRA2018 Vienna so important.
What was your best/first/most important TRA experience?
Personally, one of my most vivid memories is still the opening ceremony of the first TRA in 2006. It was the realisation of many years of efforts and an emotional event for many of the long-term advocates for establishing such an event. After several attempts, the decision of the road directors in 2002 to embrace such a conference and the willingness of ERTRAC and the European Commission to work together was a very important step.
Who should attend and why?
The word Arena in TRA was deliberately chosen to emphasise the exchange between different actors in the sector in many levels. It is not just an opportunity stakeholders to talk to their peers – for example, researcher to researcher; it is the opportunity for a wider dialogue. Problem owners are able to see the solutions on offer and explain their challenges to the innovators. Solutions providers have a chance to promote the outcomes of their work and better frame their activities. The outcomes of this dialogue then helps policy makers shape their ideas.
CEDR is the Road Directors’ platform for cooperation and promotion of improvements to the road system and its infrastructure, as an integral part of a sustainable transport system in Europe. Its members represent their respective national road authorities or equivalents and provide support and advice on decisions concerning the road transport system that are taken at national or international level.
Last updated : 28/04/2017