Welcome to TRANSFORuM’s 1st Newsletter

If you are interested in news about the implementation of the EU’s ambitious Transport White Paper read on. This newsletter features related updates, in particular about the way in which TRANSFORuM (a EU FP7 funded project) engages with stakeholders in order to build a roadmap for concrete action towards a more resource-efficient and competitive transport regime by 2050. The current newsletter focuses on our recent key meeting in Gdansk (June 24-25 2013), which attracted over 80 experts from the European transport and mobility sector.

Selected quotes


Participating in the TRANSFORuM project will be an excellent opportunity for you to be involved in shaping the future of transport … Now you can be part of it.

Matthias Ruete, Director General of the European Commission for Mobility and Transport



So far, the lack of progress in EU transport policy has been partly due to the fact that there has
been insufficient involvement of civil society.

European Economic and Social Committee
This event has been well organised. Keep the standard.
Anonymous participant of the Gdansk event on feedback form

What we do, why and how we do it

A mindmap is the first step
We have to face a big challenge

In 2011 the European Commission issued the White Paper “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system.” It spells out ten goals to be achieved at the latest by 2050. The TRANSFORuM project contributes to this transformation of the European Transport System, in particular to four key White Paper goals:

  • Clean Urban Transport and CO2-free city logistics
  • Shift of road freight to rail and waterborne transport
  • Complete and maintain the European high-speed rail network
  • European multimodal information, management and payment system


TRANSFORuM provides a platform for stakeholders to develop a common view and strategies of how these goals can be implemented. We believe that policy making should be based on an in-depth understanding of all stakeholders’ positions and that co-ordinated action is more effective than any solo attempt.

TRANSFORuM therefore engages key stakeholders in 11 events, online discussions and personal conversations, collects their views about the most relevant policies, trends, funding opportunities, barriers, actors and ensures a fair and transparent dialogue. TRANSFORuM will produce roadmaps to show feasible pathways, recommendations for concrete action by policy makers, industry, NGOs etc. and a strategic outlook beyond 2030.

The consortium consists of 11 independent research organisations, without any commercial interests. This allows TRANSFORuM to act as neutral facilitator and thus ensures bias-free results.

We are always eager to hear a broad variety of views. Please contact us if you have some.

TRANSFORuM’s 1st Joint Forum Meeting in Gdansk (June 24-25 2013)

Transforum Workshop in Gdansk
TRANSFORuM Workshop in Gdansk

On June 24th / 25th 2013, over 70 transport experts from all of Europe gathered in Gdansk for TRANSFORuM's 1st Joint Forum Meeting. Half of the attendees were external stakeholders from leading transport companies, top-level representatives of authorities and policy makers such as Pawel Stelmaszczyk, Head of the Unit Intelligent Transport Systems within DG Move at the European Commission.

They all contributed their real-world experience in one of the following topics: Freight, Urban Mobility, High-Speed Rail and ITS. These relate to the four key goals of the 2011 Transport White Paper, to whose implementation TRANSFORuM aims to contribute.

Prof. Monika Bak (University of Gdansk) kick-started the event with a keynote, followed by Stefan Back from the European Economic and Social Council.

The attendees split up into four parallel thematic workshops to identify and verify key policies, actors, funding mechanisms and trends on June 24. The workshops continued on June 25 with a discussion about barriers, challenges and ways to overcome them.

Prof. David Banister (University of Oxford) concluded the event with his keynote “TRANSFORuM: Challenges and Opportunities”. All keynote presentations and minutes from the workshops are available here on the TRANSFORuM website.

Jolanta Skalska about the future of transport – and her commute in 2050

Jolanta Skalska
Jolanta Skalska

TRANSFORuM: Does the Transport White Paper contain the right visions and strategies to reduce CO2 emissions by 60%?

JS: Yes, the White Paper signals the start in a new mobility era. However, we are still light-years away from achieving the target of a 60 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. The CO2 emissions from the transport sector are growing and transport still remains Europe's biggest climate worry. Therefore the White Paper target is an urgent challenge that must be now moved up the political agenda in the Member States to adapt national transport and infrastructure policies. They should be substantiated with concrete measures, like shifting transport to energy efficient and environmentally friendly transport modes. Without this a turnaround cannot be achieved.


TRANSFORuM: Is current policy informed enough about the needs of a balanced section of stakeholders?

JS: The future transport vision needs to be feasible but also accepted by society. Therefore, the policy should listen more to passengers and transport users. Better understanding and integration of users’ perspective is a key to future transport. Also gearing the transport policy with other policies like environmental, energy, social and health policy is needed.


TRANSFORuM: Where do you think White Paper goals reinforce and contradict each other?

JS: The White Paper assigns an important role to the rail transport mode. Public transport and rail freight transport are far more climate friendly than cars and trucks. Compared with cars, passenger rail in Germany is 2.5 times more environmentally friendly, and rail freight transport beats road freight by a factor of 4.5. Therefore modal shift to rail, improving inter-connections between the various modes of transport and making each mode of transport directly pay for what its mobility services actually cost are coherent instruments in the EU's new transport policy.


TRANSFORuM: Is the balance between technical and non-technical approaches mentioned in the White Paper productive?

JS: It is important, that the White Paper focuses not only on the technical optimisation of single transport modes, but also on modal shift to climate-friendly transport modes, like rail. This is an important instrument to achieve the ambitious goals of the White Paper.


TRANSFORuM: How do you (or your children) intend to commute to work and travel to your holiday destination in 2050?

JS: By a modern, attractive, integrated and environmentally friendly public transport that contributes to improving quality of life. In our vision in the project LivingRAIL electrified rail will be a backbone of such sustainable transport in 2050. It will include both rail freight transport and passenger transport, and cover long-distance transportation as well as metropolitan regions. Being able to travel to work, school, leisure centres or the shops by train is an important factor when it comes to mobility, independence and the overall quality of life.


Jolanta Skalska, born in Warsaw, is mechanical engineer and economist by education. She has more than 15 years experience in transportation projects. In 2008 she joined Pro-Rail Alliance (Allianz pro Schiene) in Berlin as head of European projects. She is also on TRANSFORuM’s advisory board.

Thematic Group results

TG1: The future of urban mobility

The Transforum Urban Mobility Mindmap helped to get a clear picture of the situation.
TRANSFORuM Urban Mobility Mindmap

The goal for Urban Mobility has two targets: To halve the use of “conventionally-fuelled” cars in urban transport by 2030 and phase them out by 2050; and to achieve “essentially CO2-free city logistics” in major urban centres by 2030.

These goals are meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, local pollution and our dependence on oil. They are to be achieved without compromising the benefits of high mobility. A broad range of measures, combined in intelligent ways, is needed to reach the goal.

To ensure smart, green, and competitive European cities, substantial changes to transport systems are needed. Such changes must be governed and financed with a view to constrained public budgets, as well as to the integrity of cities, their citizens, and the urban environment. The Urban Mobility group addresses questions such as:

  • Which solutions are available to fulfil the urban mobility goals?

  • How to co-ordinate among private and public actors as well as multiple levels of governance?

  • How to ensure support from citizens and businesses?

  • How to implement solutions without creating negative social, economic or environmental effects?

The first stakeholder forum in Gdansk (June 24/25 2013) made it clear that efforts are needed in many areas to transform urban mobility in a sustainable direction and reach the urban transport goal. Stakeholders emphasised that the goal of halving the use of conventionally-fuelled cars in urban areas should be seen as a tool rather than a goal in itself. Strategies could include technological improvements, changes of mobility patterns (linked to liveability) and taxation of CO2 emissions. To obtain broad support from urban mobility stakeholders policies should not only focus on CO2 but also include goals for impacts like air pollution, congestion, noise, safety and economic efficiency. Accordingly, solutions should not only focus on electric vehicles, but also include improved logistics, mobility management, better public transport, land use planning, waking and cycling and other alternative technologies and fuels. European level support is seen as particularly relevant in areas like creating standards for technologies and frameworks, for example through definitions and guidance on sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP). Common indicators and benchmarks are also seen as helpful. However, the diversity of European cities requires highly context-specific solutions.  Dialogue and engagement with civil society are essential strategies to address the challenges in an efficient and transparent way.

TG2: Long-distance freight in 2050

Mind Map of the Freight Workshop in Gdansk
Mind Map of the Freight Workshop in Gdansk

Long distance freight transport grows rapidly. Thus a modal shift from road to rail and waterborne transport seems necessary to meet climate targets and reduce congestion.  The following goal was set up in the 2011 White Paper on Transport:

“30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. To meet this goal will also require appropriate infrastructure to be developed.”

Administrative and physical barriers need to be overcome in order to create a truly internal market for rail and waterborne transport. It is also imperative that appropriate physical infrastructure can be realised. To raise adequate funding may, however, not be an easy task against the background of public debts and an ageing population in Europe.  An important question is therefore whether a reallocation of funds is necessary within the infrastructure budget, from roads to railways and waterborne transport. In order to arrive at feasible recommendations, it is necessary to take on board the views and expert knowledge of key stakeholders.

On day 1 of the Gdansk workshop the stakeholders’ identification of trends affecting freight transport resulted in 16 main clusters. Among them were rather well-known trends like an ageing population in Europe and a growing scarcity of oil but also signs of potential future trends like a re-regionalization of production following from increasing labour costs in countries like China and India. In the following discussion of policies, the stakeholders were not in agreement whether current and expected policies are sufficient to reach the goal. They all, however, agreed that the key issue is to achieve a proper implementation of policies.

On day 2 the stakeholders identified barriers that were categorized into 10 clusters, of which four were believed to be the most important. Lack of an integrated approach was considered paramount and inconsistencies between policy documents belonging to separate policy areas were highlighted. A better co-ordination of EU initiatives and national/local policies was also requested. Capacity, funding and getting the prices right were other important issues in the discussion. In particular the need for packages containing both restrictive (e.g. truck fees) and positive (e.g. investments) measures was supported.

TG3: Tripling the high-speed rail network?

The big White Paper on Transport goal for the year 2050: To complete a European high-speed rail network and to connect all core network airports to the rail network, preferably high-speed.
Realitiy in 2050? One European high-speed rail network ...

The 2011 White Paper on Transport highlighted some major goals concerning High Speed Rail (HSR) for the year 2050: To complete a European high-speed rail network and to connect all core network airports to the rail network, preferably high-speed. In effect, the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail. The key intermediate targets are to triple the length of the existing HSR network while maintaining a dense railway network in all EU member States (by 2030) and to deploy an effective European Rail Traffic Management System.

To achieve these goals difficult choices have to be made. For example, we need to clarify what a European HSR model should be despite the many national differences in terms of geography, funding, regulations, urban structures etc. We also need an answer how to balance the pursuit of speed with the quality and range of services. Should infrastructure costs be subsidized? What is the role (and limit) of inter- and intra-modal cooperation and competition? How to accelerate decision making processes? A democratic society has to discuss such questions in a transparent way among all stakeholders to ensure that policy is based on an in-depth understanding of all factors and consequences.

The stakeholders attending our Gdansk workshop were in support of better co-ordination and co-operation among all actors of the sector, while respecting different national situations – and as an opportunity to learn from them. They also agreed on the necessity to better reinforce existing regulations and safety requirements and to reduce divergent interpretations across countries. EU policies are crucial here: guidelines for regulation of competition, improved internalization of costs, subsidies of cross-borders HSR or congestion bottlenecks, maintaining conventional rail services are all issues that cannot be tackled at national levels. Likewise, the methods of analysis of HSR projects and their costs should be harmonised across Europe and so should be the information and transparency policies of European HSR actors. It was also seen as beneficial to develop a more comprehensive EU-wide policy view and a more global definition of what HSR’s role should be. In terms of Europe’s HSR vision, stakeholders affirmed the idea of focussing on attractiveness of the services instead of infrastructure alone. A goal of tripling usage (in passenger-km) would thus be better than mechanically tripling the length of track (in km). Finally, our stakeholders emphasised interoperability and accessibility as keys for the development of European HSR and facilitation of the market opening.

TG4: Multimodal information and payment systems

Mindmap der Thematik Group Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)
Mindmap der Thematik Group Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

Goal number 8 of the White Paper envisages a common European Framework for a multimodal traveller information, management and payment system by 2020. Considering the overarching White Paper caveat that “curbing mobility is not an option”, such a framework will have to allow travellers to make the best modal choice based on their individual demand. This requires, among others, accurate and reliable answers to questions such as: Where and when can I access which mode of transport? How can I obtain a ticket – at what price? 

A European framework for multimodal traveller information, management and payment has two key aspects: One concerns long distance trips across Europe, which implies a vision of a perfectly connected territory to the last mile for seamless door to door services. Another, equally important multimodal traveller information system describes the co-ordination of a multiplicity of services within cities, in metropolitan and even cross-regional areas. Both system types are quite distinct and thus require different approaches, different actors etc. But for both, data protection issues (in particular location-based data security) and the availability and acceptance of shared technical standards are most significant. Otherwise, desired investments of private actors remains risky and unlikely.

The Gdansk workshop made it clear that open data access is not highlighted enough in the current debate. This is a precondition for attractive business models. A related Europe-wide strategy should therefore be high up on the political agenda. Conversely, the discussion also highlighted, that open data access may restrict the ability of public authorities to control traffic and may thus be somewhat counterproductive. The stakeholder discussion shared the view that the White Paper goal should not be interpreted as European framework to achieve a single unified European system, but rather to remove obstacles regarding cross-acceptance and connectedness of regional and local systems. It was further noted by stakeholders that reliable and trustworthy information, in particular in case of delays and disruptions, is very important. One cross-cutting barrier to all this is the lack of concrete targets derived from an overarching transport policy, e.g. to shift a certain percentage of travellers from individual to public transport. This current vagueness is seen as limiting the political power of the goal. As problematic market trend stakeholders mentioned the many proprietary solutions by transport operators to gain competitive advantage, thus limiting the willingness to share data.

What we do with the results from Gdansk

The Gdansk workshops provided a clear picture of how the Transport White Paper goals regarding the four thematic areas are experienced by different stakeholders and European policy levels. What became clear for all thematic groups was that the policy goals were defined some times in the past referring to expectations at that time. Meanwhile, however, some aspects have changed, making it necessary to readjust some of these expectations and corresponding goals and strategies. TRANSFORuM’s own socio-economic trend analyses helped to understand such phenomena better and so did the workshop discussions about current and potential future developments with regards to social, environmental, economic, technological and political trends and counter-trends.
The outcome of the workshop also led to a better understanding of the multiplicity of potential approaches and solutions in the complex European multi-actor, multi-level governance system, in particular with respect to the different competences at national and regional policy levels. Such discussions also highlighted the important links between political decision making structures (e.g. the subsidiarity principle) and the ability of certain political entities to contribute to the overcoming of certain barriers. These discussions will therefore form a core element in TRANSFORuM’s state-of-the-art review of prevailing policies, actors, trends as well as funding mechanisms, barriers and challenges. In this sense, they will also have a direct impact on our roadmapping activities because such knowledge will allow us to identify not only the most suitable approaches but also the most actors and policy levels best in charge to implement them.

TRANSFORuM’s next steps: autumn workshops

Progress is being made on Work Package 5 – “Transformation is possible!” which is being led by the University of Oxford. The first activity is to gather information from across Europe about concrete actions covering each of TRANSFORuM’s four thematic areas that, if implemented at scale, would deliver against the White Paper goals. Oxford’s team will then work with other consortium members to unpack the transformational components of these cases. This insight will be used to inform the thematic discussion forums and will also feed into subsequent work packages. In order to capture key actors’ perspectives on these cases we will conduct four Thematic Workshops between October and December 2013.  

The workshop locations will be carefully selected to ensure they are relevant for each theme (urban mobility, freight, high-speed rail and ITS). Through this direct encounter with transformational change “in action” we aim to demonstrate concrete down-to-earth issues in a real context but at the same time to explore what can be achieved on a larger scale in Europe, how, when, by whom. In this sense, the four thematic workshops are also the starting point for TRANSFORuM’s roadmapping process. Stakeholders will be involved by identifying and nominating their expectations and needs for the design of the roadmaps to be delivered by TRANSFORuM. In doing so, we aim to ensure that roadmaps will be best suited to become effective in the stakeholders’ future collaborative process.  

A second set of four thematically specific workshops will take place in the spring 2014.

Thinking ahead – The TRANSFORuM roadmap

Mobility in Vienna style
Mobility in Vienna style. Picture: wikipedia.de, Nagyf2

TRANSFORuM will promote the implementation of the four above White Paper goals by means of a roadmap on how to achieve these goals. This roadmap will benefit from the know-how and expertise within the TRANSFORuM consortium, but more importantly it will build on the ideas, expressed needs and recommendations of all stakeholders involved in the project in the sense of a “reality check.” The roadmap will be developed through an iterative process, starting with roadmap 1.0, which will be discussed during TRANSFORuM’s next Joint Forum Meeting in Vienna in early 2014. A survey and another series of four workshops relating to all four thematic groups will then serve to build roadmap 2.0 in a collaborative process between stakeholders and the project team.

The final TRANSFORuM roadmap will be the result of this progressive honing process. In addition, we will develop thematically specific as well as cross-cutting recommendations for joint actions in order to facilitate synergies through a collaborative approach across sectors (horizontal) and levels (vertical co-ordination). The roadmap and the specific recommendations will be supplemented by a strategic outlook on the European transport system. This step will also help to identify future adaptation needs of the European transport policy.

Social Media Alert

TRANSFORuM also communicates (both ways!) through the following social media channels: Twitter, linkedin and facebook.

They contain project updates, information about events, industry news, project resources, as well as behind the scenes insight into TRANSFORuM and provide a platform to spark and continue discussions outside our face-to-face meetings.

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