ETRA predicts a revolution in mobility

The European Transport Research Alliance (ETRA) complements existing structures for transport research and innovation provision in Europe by bringing a multi-modal and research-led forum which will contribute to important debates on the future of European transport. In this respect, it is expected to complement the European Technology Platforms, the Advisory Groups and other bodies advising the European Commission on issues of transport research and innovation production. We spoke to three key partners – Caroline Alméras, Secretary General of ECTRI, Armando Carillo, Secretary General of EURNEX e.V. and Thierry Goger, Secretary General of FEHRL – about the Transport Research Arena 2018 (TRA2018) in Vienna.

What does “A Digital Era for Transport” mean to you?

A revolution in mobility due to the development and deployment of connected, automated, shared and electric vehicles, as well as virtual reality systems. Also that there will soon be no necessity for manual operations related to using physical supports for enabling transport activities, for example printing tickets or dispatching orders. Printed maps will be abandoned in favour of digital information of infrastructure elements and their status (for proactive maintenance purposes). Digitalisation will enable computerisation, and therefore the optimisation of those operations that nowadays still require manual interventions.

What was your first TRA experience?

Thierry’s first experience was in Ljubljana, Slovenia at TRA2008 and every TRA has since been interesting and a success to him. Caroline’s first experience was also in Ljubljana in 2008. While TRA2008 was an unpreceded occasion to her for extending her network and partnership to colleagues from New Member States who recently joined the EU, TRA 2012 in Athens, Greece, was certainly the most notable experience and step, being the first TRA that opened up to all modes of transport and then Paris in 2014 developed the multimodal aspects of the conference. Armando, meanwhile, visited TRA2016 in Warsaw and got there an important insight to aspects that are normally out of his transport field, which is mostly related to rail.

From your point of view, what makes TRA 2018 unique?

The greatest added-value is the networking opportunities between various stakeholders around transport research, including the multi-modal aspects. TRA 2018 will manage to bring together the multiple modes of transport, including for the first time the aviation sector, and provide a general view of all forms of transport without losing the concrete aspects of dealing with specific areas of transport.

Who should attend and why?

Research providers, since the R in TRA means “Research”, but also research buyers since the providers aim to support implementation. More generally, all transport specialists who are looking for new and fresh ideas coming not only from their own mode but from other modes which work in similar fields.

What do you expect from TRA 2018?

The new Interactive Zone with demonstration activities looks very appealing, as does the programme’s increasing awareness to aspects related to energy utilisation, sustainability and climate change.

How should TRA evolve in future? How did TRA evolve since its beginning in 2006?

TRA has already much evolved since 2006, moving from a road to a multimodal conference, extending in size and content, and attracting more and more participants from different public and private sectors. In the future, TRA should be the paramount top-level conference on multimodal transport research in Europe getting researchers, business people and policy makers to meet and discuss the future of mobility. On the technical and scientific side, the event should be recognised for the quality and excellence of the research which is showcased and presented. To guarantee a good continuity and support the conference’s sustainability and growth, TRA should also structure its daily operations by setting up a permanent secretariat. ETRA is willing to play a key role in these different endeavours.

For more information, contact Caroline Alméras at, Armando Carillo at and Thierry Goger at

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Caroline Alméras, Secretary General of ECTRI, © ECTRI

Armando Carillo, Secretary General of EURNEX e.V, © EURNEX

Thierry Goger, Secretary General of FEHRL, © FEHRL


Last updated : 06/07/2017