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BREAKING: EU Horizon Europe Programme Unveils EUR 7M Investment for Integrated Air-Rail Network Development

BREAKING: EU Horizon Europe Programme Unveils EUR 7M Investment for Integrated Air-Rail Network Development
photo: Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking/EU Horizon Europe Programme Unveils EUR 7M Investment for Integrated Air-Rail Network Development
05 / 10 / 2023

Europe’s Rail and SESAR 3 Joint Undertakings have published a joint call for the development of an “Integrated air and rail network backbone for a sustainable and energy-efficient multimodal transport system”. The call targets solutions that will improve door‐to‐door mobility for Europe’s citizens and is expected to generate synergies between the air and rail innovation communities. With a total investment of EUR 7 million, the call is being co-funded within the framework of the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program.

Aviation and rail are integral parts of Europe’s transport ecosystem, so ensuring greater connectivity and seamlessness between the two modes of transport makes sense. Doing so will allow for more predictable, affordable, and sustainable mobility for passengers everywhere.

Against this backdrop, the call (HORIZON‐ER‐JU‐2023‐FA1‐SESAR) will address topics including the definition of single, common, and collaboratively‐agreed intermodal operations plan (airport/railway), real‐time information exchange services, and a transport network crisis management process. The call is targeting proposals for projects that will support airport-rail connectivity in various settings, such as city-pairs from different EU Member States, and where applicable, scenarios involving other transport modes like trams, metros, and buses, among others.  

The benefits expected from the outcomes of the selected projects will be manifold. Not only will the funded research and innovation activities help to improve future traffic management solutions predictability and punctuality for journeys involving air and rail, but they will also relieve congestion in and around airports and rail stations and improve passenger flows. All of which will also bring environmental benefits in terms of emissions, noise, and air quality.

The scope of the call matches the ambitions outlined in the EU’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which aims to make connected and automated multimodal mobility a reality by 2030.

It also reflects the commitment of both joint undertakings to establishing synergies and complementarity between their respective research and innovation programs. This collaborative approach is key to pooling dispersed resources and aligning efforts on some of Europe’s top priorities.

Closer integration of Europe’s air and rail networks will be a key element in building a mobility system for future generations that is truly sustainable, smart, and resilient.  Innovation is key to achieving this objective,” said Adina-Ioana Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport. “I am delighted to see that Europe’s Rail and SESAR Joint Undertakings are working together, through this joint call, to ensure complementarity and synergies between their research programs, and to invest in the technologies and collaborative tools that will help make seamless multi-modal travel a reality.

An online information day took place on 4 October 2023 to present the call in more detail and provide guidance on how to apply. The recordings and other useful information can be accessed here.

Source: Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking