TRA 2018: Mobility research in Austria definitely heading in the right direction

Transport Research Conference concludes that more cooperation and experience brings trust in new technologies

According to international researchers at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) 2018, which ended Mid of April in Vienna, Austria’s transport research is well on track and internationally competitive. The high number of national initiatives are viewed very positively, as they bring a great deal of experience and help innovative transport systems to be implemented in the best possible way. Experts see mobility research and development heading generally in the right direction across the EU. Above all, they see a need for action to organise things in a more holistic way. In the coming years, politicians will have two main tasks: to set targets to steer the new technical possibilities in the right direction and prepare people for the many new opportunities and show them as of now what the possibilities will be. An essential step in gaining people’s acceptance of new transport services and solutions will be to relieve them of existing fears and create trust.

© Zinner/AustriaTech

To conclude, the TRA 2018 was the best ever attended with more than 3,600 participants. In addition to the event motto of “digitalisation”, 12 topics were covered across all modes of transport in more than 650 presentations, as well as in the context of the exhibition and other interactive formats. The bottom line was that there is currently no shortage of ideas, solutions and technologies, but rather that they need to be carefully selected for their optimal use to achieve the best possible benefit for society. For many technologies and developments, economic success is currently the most important factor and the solution to concrete problems comes in second place.

Challenge of mobility in big cities

Traffic experts see the biggest challenge for the future above all to be traffic planning for rapidly growing cities. They advocate a step-by-step approach to ultimately obtain the best possible solutions: starting with clearly defined pilot regions for specifically targeted user groups. Since people will continue to integrate digitalisation into their lives in very different ways, they must also be treated differently. The mobility system of the future must be reconciled with the various energy systems, urban planning, working models or new forms of tourism. Traffic experts not only recognise a high need to create trust for these new models, but also to appeal in advance to the users for understanding, because not all things will work perfectly immediately. As was seen at the TRA 2018 with, for example, the Interactive Zone with its different showcases, the ninth EU Framework Programme (FP9) also focuses on “trying out research”. In this way, future users will get a first impression of the technologies of the future even before the introduction of innovations.

From TRA 2018 to TRA 2020

TRA 2018 was judged by all the different experts and visitors to be a major inspiration for all transport researchers in Europe, and Austrian actors and initiatives have once again moved further into the centre of European mobility of the future. Currently, mobility opportunities are changing faster than ever. With TRA 2018, a start line was drawn up, which in two years’ time will surely be well equipped to face the challenges and transformations of future mobility with the TRA 2020 in Finland.

Last updated : 04/06/2018