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Dr. Matthias Ruete and Future Transport

Dr Matthias Ruete, Director general DG “Mobility and Transport” of the European Commission, visited Spain last Wednesday 22 January invited by Fundacion Euroamerica, which organized a lunch sponsored by Innaxis and attended by the Spanish Secretary of State for Infrastructures, Transport and Housing, Mr Rafael Catalá, and other Spanish and foreign officials, as well as by high representatives of the Spanish and European industry and members of the academia. They all had the opportunity to listen Dr Ruete highlighting the future of transport in Europe and the different challenges that the region is facing to remain competitive.

The European Commission adopted the FlightPath2050 plan to target the ambitious goal of having 90% of air travellers in Europe completing their journey within 4 hours door-to-door. Horizon 2020 research initiatives will focus on new paradigms for reducing the impact of disturbances, understanding passenger metrics and customer profiles, modelling airports and airspace and also promoting multimodal (train-aircraft) projects, among others. Reducing the percentage of income that European households spend on transport, currently around 15%, is also a challenge Europe should face in the following decades. While the fragmentation of transport services, through public and private means, is pervasive, new service and business paradigms suggest that service contracts covering a wide variety of transport means would increase the efficiency and sustainability of the provision of transport services.

Becoming environmentally friendly is also an important challenge for Europe in the next decades. From its very early stages most transport means have been powered by fossil fuels. The reason for this is the ease of use and that those fuels represent a highly concentrated, low weighted, relatively compact source of energy. The drawbacks of such a choice are that they are heavily polluting, and rely on limited energy sources. Different renewable forms of energy are being investigated and, combined with more efficient usage of fossil fuels, they will be the basis of breakthroughs on environmental impact, driven again by an ambitious European goal of between 60%-80% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050. Of course, the Innaxis Foundation is and will be very active promoting interdisciplinary research in these fields on the coming years.