3.1 | Enabling smarter and safer infrastructure, supporting the digital and energy transition, through life cycle innovation
Passenger and freight transport demand over Europe’s highway and rail networks is constantly increasing, while much of the continent’s transport infrastructure is aging, and requiring ever more maintenance activities. At the same time, transport infrastructure is now facing new challenges from climate change, energy transition, digitalisation, and protecting biodiversity. Under this perspective, it is important to foster a modern framework for European infrastructure design, construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning taking into account three dimensions: physical, energy and digital.
The EU TEN-T policy aims at creating new climate-proof transport infrastructure or upgrading the existing infrastructure, closing the gaps, removing bottlenecks and eliminating technical barriers to transport flows across the EU. The revision of TEN-T in December 2021 promotes the use of innovative technologies to further advance the digitalisation of transport infrastructure, with the aim of further increasing the efficiency, safety, security and resilience of the network.
Although investments to complete the TEN-T network are strong, the path to achieve a seamless multimodal freight and passenger transport in the EU is long. New insights from research are needed for the optimal deployment of alternative fuels and connectivity to physical infrastructure. New materials have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of infrastructure taking into account the entire life cycle and the circular economy. Design needs to demonstrate achievability of new requirements like extended durability with the use of technologies such as advance simulation and construction must further integrate the supply chain and introduce robotics and automation at the jobsite. New business and governance models, including procurement, can speed up the deployment of new technologies and enhance logistics flows and the passenger experience of cross-border travel. Widespread adoption of 5G connectivity and Internet-of-Things will enable new services, optimise the use of existing infrastructure, and boost automation in all modes of transport. Digital tools will also allow remote monitoring in order to improve the safety and performance of transport infrastructure.
The main objective of this Special Session is to provide an outlook on 2030 for deploying the latest research outcomes contributing towards a zero-emission, resource efficient, safe and smart transport infrastructure.
Chair: CEDR (Wijnand Veeneman, Next Generation Infrastructures) and ECTP (Miguel José Segarra Martínez, Dragados / ECTP)
Ingrid Dahl Hovland, Director General, Norwegian Road Administration
Torsten Klimke, Head of Unit, Innovation and Research, European Commission, DG Mobility and Transport, European Commission
José Viegas, Professor emeritus, University of Lisbon, Researcher at CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico;
Henk Samson, Strukton Rail
Rita Moura, Director of Innovation, Teixeira Duarte
Antonio Duran, Global Innovation Head, Abertis
Lila Tachtsi, Asset Management Director (National Highways, UK)