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European Commission approves €179.5 million state aid to robo-taxi project

Last month, the European Commission approved EUR 179.5 million for Croatia’s state aid, for the development of an innovative urban mobility service based on fully autonomous electric vehicles led by Croatian electric car producer, Rimac Automobili.

The measure is part of a wider urban mobility project in Zagreb, Croatia, where users will be able to combine multiple transport modes via a single integrated mobility service platform. The robo-taxi project will be trialled in Zagreb and, if successful, rolled out to other European cities.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) will provide part of the funding after Croatia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan received a positive assessment by the European Commission and approval by the European Council. The state aid granted to the project will cover approximately 45% of the eligible costs. A claw-back mechanism will be triggered if the project proves successful and generates additional significant revenue, where the beneficiary will return a proportion of the aid to ensure fairness and balance.

KIA Motors, as part of the Hyundai Motor Group, is an investor and shareholder of Project 3 Mobility, which is Rimac Automobili’s sister company and is in charge of the project.

Marko Pejkovic, CEO of Project 3 Mobility, said that they were proud to have successfully fulfilled all the criteria and demonstrated the value of the project to Croatian and EU institutions. Over the last two years, they have demonstrated how the project aligns to the Commission’s green and digital transition goals and provides added value to various societal aspects.

The initial investment in the project is estimated at EUR 450 million, prior to the commercial phase of the project (expected to be reached from the end of 2024). This investment will come from foreign investors, such as KIA Motors, and potentially from other European investors and investors in the Middle East.

Welcome to CCAM New Members

CCAM Association organised its General Assembly on 4 July 2023 in a hybrid format in Brussels and online, and proudly welcomed 18 new members:

Furthermore, the CCAM Association is pleased to announce the inclusion of 2 new delegates who will contribute their expertise to the CCAM Partnership work:

  • Dr Per Olof Arnäs from Einride. Per Olof will fulfill the role of CCAM Partnership Board Delegate for the member category of Freight and logistics services and users.
  • Aymeric Audige from the French Ministry of Transport. Aymeric will represent the member category of National Ministry in the CCAM Partnership Board.

SAFE-UP launches Road Safety e-Learning Platform

Since 2020, the SAFE-UP project has been developing and testing active and passive safety systems and tools for future autonomous vehicles – to reduce injuries and fatalities in traffic accidents and contribute to the EU’s Vision Zero. 

In a bid to empower all road users, the SAFE-UP project has launched its e-Learning Platform. The platform has been designed to raise awareness among all individuals interested in the SAFE-UP project and its outcomes, regardless of their technical expertise.

Leveraging the expertise of the project’s team, the eLearning courses offer a wealth of knowledge translated into easily digestible content, ensuring that users can navigate the intricacies of future traffic scenarios seamlessly. The platform is a product of tireless efforts in knowledge translation carried out within the project.

The e-Learning Platform comprehensively covers the extensive work undertaken within SAFE-UP and currently includes four distinct courses:

The courses are available in five languages: English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Greek.

By addressing various aspects of road safety, these courses empower participants with the knowledge required to navigate and mitigate potential risks in future traffic scenarios effectively.

To enrol and contribute to safer roads, visit here.

Country: Europe-wide

Autonomous and connected vehicles
Safety and urban mobility


Attitudes to electric cars on the rise in Finland

A recent survey conducted by the Finnish Information Centre of the Automobile Sector has predicted an increase in fully electric vehicles within the Finnish vehicle fleet, with figures expected to rise to 42% by 2025 and to 70% by 2030.

Expectations are based on a positive opinion trend towards electric vehicles coming from increased personal experience with electric cars. Whilst only approximately 44% of survey respondents said that they are prepared to transition to a fully electric car, a large majority (82%) stated they were inclined to buy a petrol hybrid car and 55% would choose a plug-in hybrid.

Factors including high petrol prices and the large average distance between major cities in Finland (100 – 500 km) are changing attitudes towards electric vehicles. 

However, the average price for a fully electric vehicle is still EUR 50,000, which is deterring many households from purchasing one, as demonstrated in the 2022 car sales figures (18% share of fully electric vehicles). In addition, whilst the number of charging points is increasing, the lack of speed in deploying new ones is also affecting the lower share of sales figures.

Article published first at EURACTIV on 14 June 2023.

The first bus rapid transit service was launched in Madrid

Madrid’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) service has been launched this month, connecting two main neighbourhoods over a length of 15.5 km and cutting travel time by 20 minutes. It will now be possible to reach the Hospital Ramón y Cajal in the north of the city in only 30 minutes when departing from the Valdebebas neighbourhood, which has rapidly grown in recent years.

The newly launched BRT service is expected to substantially benefit residents living in these neighbourhoods, which are currently underserved by public transport. This is the first BRT service launched in the Spanish capital, connecting two key neighbourhoods, two major hospitals and fostering the link for which locals have been asking for a long time. The service was launched at the beginning of June with the fully electric buses driving on bus priority lanes on 2/3 of the route.

The Spanish capital also chaired the 2023 Eurocities Mobility Forum, which took place in Porto from 31 May to 2 June, and will lead the Forum for the two coming years, showcasing its efforts in enhancing public and active travel. In March 2023, Madrid recorded an additional 800,000 more trips per day (by car, bike, walking, scooting and public transport) compared to the previous year, with a decrease in the use of car and an increase in trips by public transport, cycling and walking. According to Lola Ortiz Sanchez, Madrid’s General Director of Planning and Mobility Infrastructure, this success is due to ‘improved public transport services and better space for active travel, which are making people voluntarily shift to more sustainable and socially inclusive transport modes.’

Among the topics of this year’s forum, European cities and mobility experts discussed transport poverty and how this is being addressed by European cities, the role of digitalization in innovating urban public transport, as well as the expected impact on cities of the upcoming revision of the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation. The proposed revision of the TEN-T Regulation aims, in fact, to reinforce the role of cities as ‘urban nodes’ and adapt their transport policies to meet additional requirements, further developing a connected network of transport corridors across Europe.

Public transport ‘check in’ using bank cards across the Netherlands

Starting this June, public transport users in the Netherlands can check in throughout the country using their bank card. The system is now operation nationwide – a milestone in the transition to a new payment system that should facilitate check in and out using contactless debit cards, credit cards or mobile phones in all public transport.

The new system OV-pay is to replace the chip card (OVchipkaart) which was introduced to replace paper tickets nationwide in 2012. It is operational in buses, trains, trams and metros. Some 60,000 gates at stations and card readers in various vehicles have already been adapted for the new system.

Users can check in and out with bank cards from all major Dutch backs as well as credit cards from Visa and Mastercard. The payment is processed automatically and will appear on your statement the next day. The price is the same as a standard ticket or trip with the public transport chip card without subscriptions or discounts.

For now, public transports users can only use the new system when travelling second class and without a discount or subscription. It is expected the service will be gradually expanded to include discounts and subscriptions, such as for students, business travellers and season ticket holders over the course of next year. In addition, a new public transport card and payment app will be introduced.

Implementation of the system has been delayed several times, mainly due to ICT problems. Recently, RTL news revealed a loophole in the system, making it possible to travel “for free”. By creating a virtual card via an app, it is possible to travel without paying. Translink, the company responsible for the app, responded that they are aware of the loophole but have no plans to stop or limit abuse, stating that most people use public transport “in good faith.” Translink warned that widespread abuse with payment cards could cause all of that bank’s cards to be excluded from OVpay, making it likely banks would act against this type of fraud.

The scenario of abuse of digital ‘disposable cards’, where the card is deliberately deactivated before the trip has been charged, was already known – also from other countries and places where you can travel with a (virtual) debit card, such as in Great Britain and Singapore. Based on these experiences, fraud detection and fraud control measures which are in place are considered sufficiently effective.

It is expected the implementation of the full OVpay system will take at least two more years. The current public transport chip card will remain usable in the meantime. It is expected that it can be used at least until 2025, but in the long term the card will be completely abolished.

Mobility decision makers discuss the future of urban mobility

Cities and regions are on the frontline of climate action. Estimates from the UN suggest that cities are responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions, with urban mobility being among the largest contributors, responsible for almost one-quarter of the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

However, reducing CO2 emissions is not the only challenge facing urban mobility. Congestion is costly to local businesses and negatively impacts liveability, road safety remains a critical concern, and existing fuel sources present genuine security and health threats.

On 8 June, POLIS teamed up with the City of Stockholm (the first city to develop its climate-neutral city contract) to a Leadership Summit. Local leaders from cities and regions across Europe joined leaders from the industry, NGOs, operators, new mobility providers, think tanks and international policymakers for a frank, honest and collaborative exchange on sustainable urban mobility and the multiple challenges to be tackled.

In attendance were international organisations, including the OECD and the European Commission, major sector representatives like the European Cyclists Federation, Cycling Industries, and Walk21, industry leaders including Google, and start-ups like Streetscape and ClimateView who are shaking up the transport sector.

Cities and regions are where some of the most important and transformative changes in transport are occurring. Indeed, following the lack of progress at recent major international climate summits, local leaders are pioneering steps towards more sustainable mobility. From Groningen to Glasgow, Lisbon to Ljubljana, transport decision-makers are reconfiguring and redefining mobility. These are cities that are almost unrecognisable from just a few years ago and substantial actions like Low Emissions Zones, school streets, public transport expansion and active travel infrastructure are accelerating.

“Stockholm aims to be climate positive by 2030 and a key aspect of this ambition is innovative mobility initiatives, making it easier for everyone to fulfil their transportation needs in a sustainable way. Stockholm was therefore proud to host this important Summit,” said Lars Strömgren, Vice Mayor of Transport, City of Stockholm

The Summit hosted discussions on the critical actions which need to be taken and the opportunities for progress, examining upscaling electromobility, overcoming car dependence and ensuring a just transition.

The last few years have seen unparalleled advance in electrification. The array of electric private passenger vehicles, bus fleets, bikes, as well as charging solutions, was almost unimaginable even a decade ago. While electrification is instrumental in decarbonisation agendas, a clear and honest conversation about its role in the future of urban mobility is critical in understanding the potential, the gaps and the limits.

Electrification is only one piece of the puzzle. A cleaner and smarter city is one where the car is no longer king. Currently, in many European cities, way over half of ground transport space is dedicated to cars. As Stockholm’s own mobility strategy articulates, it is about moving towards a city with cars – not a city for cars.

There appears to be no shortage of arguments for dethroning the private car- cleaner air, safer roads, more public space; however, implementing the policy and infrastructural changes required are taking time, time we do not have.

This is not to overlook the changes which are being pioneered; nonetheless, these shifts are proving a thorny issue for many local leaders, who, without the support of residents, local businesses and national leaders, cannot move at the pace required.

The Summit also examined the importance of renewed focus on a just transition, ensuring sustainability agendas consider the spectrum of user needs. From education to employment to healthcare, transport facilitates and impedes access to vital services and opportunities. Yet, traditional mobility systems reflect, replicate and aggravate existing social and economic inequalities.

The Summit was a chance for public and private sector collaboration, creating and renewing ties across the sector, and high-level decision-makers discussed how they can pull together in the same direction to accelerate the shift to sustainable urban mobility.

Indeed, it is only through such cooperation that sustainable urban mobility agendas will move from ambition to action. Responsibility is not squarely on the shoulders of cities and regions; the whole mobility sector will have a role to play in advancing the transport transition.

The Summit was a call to the entire sector to act faster, and more courageously. Dialogue is important, but time is not on our side, and actions speak louder than words.

This article originally appeared on POLIS Network

Image credit: Angelica Zander

Region: Europe-wide

Mobility management
Public and stakeholder involvement

Copenhagen Pride parade first to use only electric trucks

The Copenhagen Pride parade, which takes place on 19 August, has announced that it will only be using electric trucks (EVs) for its floats. This makes it the first Pride event in the world to use only EVs in the parade, many of which will be provided by the logistics company DFDS Group and Volvo Trucks.

The Copenhagen Pride event will therefore be bringing social and environmental celebrations together, raising the issue of LGBTQ equal rights and celebrating sexual and love diversityinfo-icon, while at the same time decarbonising its pride parade. The commitment to use EVs is a step towards fulfilling a three-year goal, agreed upon last autumn, to make the festival more environmentally friendly.

According the Lars Henriksen, the political chairperson of Copenhagen Pride, as quoted in the CPH Post, ‘the parade is using 100% EVs to be more sustainable and green as the climate crisis also affects LGBTQ communities.’

According to the DFDS Group, which is supplying 30 vehicles for the parade, an electric truck saves on average 52.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. The Volvo Trucks will all have zero emissions and be equipped with sound systems, toilets and DJs powered by the electric truck battery.

TARGET-X 1st open call – Automotive challenges – apply now for funding!

The vision of TARGET-X is to strengthen important economic sectors in Europe by integrating 5G and 6G, accelerating the digital transformation in the Manufacturing, Energy, Automotive and Construction verticals. Below the list of Automotive Challenges addressed in this 1st open call.

The TARGET-X project is looking for an individual entity (SME) or micro-consortium composed of 2 SMEs, registered prior to the launch of the TARGET-X 1st Open Call.

You can submit your application for your activity addressing performance testing or the development of devices or solutions, use cases, KPIs and KVIs applicable to one topic and receive up to €60,000. The call will be open until 26 July 2023.

List of Automotive Challenges:

  • Performance comparison between Edge- and public-Internet-deployed services
  • Environment-aware teleoperated driving
  • Automated Valet Parking (Type 2)
  • Remote supervision for Autonomous Driving
  • Infrastructure-mounted sensors for automated buses
  • API deployment to abstract connectivity and data collection process for automotive applications
  • Car, road, and edge processing time synchronization for V2X digital twins
  • Methods of satisfying UL/DL tend use-cases with a fixed TDD configuration
  • Connected Ambulance
  • Vehicle platooning
  • Digital twins’ generation methodology for road safety
  • Cooperative perception for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs): Preventive Collision Warning
  • Cooperative perception for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs): Cooperative Sensing (I)
  • Dynamic Operational Design Domain (ODD) according to network conditions

Concluding the Clean Bus Europe Platform

The Clean Bus Europe Platform (CBEP) was an initiative under the European Commission’s Clean Bus Deployment Initiative that aimed to support the deployment of clean bus technologies across Europe.

The Platform brought together European cities, transport authorities and operators, together with relevant stakeholders like social dialogue partners, industry, financing and funding institutions, associations, etc. to boost and support the exchange of knowledge and expertise on clean bus deployment. 

After four years, the CBEP held its Final Event at the UITP Summit in Barcelona. The CBEP has facilitated exchange of knowledge between cities that are well progressed with clean bus deployment (Host Cities), and those who are yet to take the plunge (Target Cities).

Going beyond the Target Cities, the Platform has been a true reference point for the sector on clean bus activities, also through a valuable media collaboration with Sustainable Bus magazine.

“The CBEP has played a key role in boosting the uptake of clean buses all across Europe,” says Aida Abdulah, Head of the Mobility Enablers Unit at UITP. “We have given cities who are looking to make their fleets more sustainable the contacts and tools to make that happen. I’d like to think of the Platform as a strong launch of a European partnership that will continue for many years to come.”