The Ministry of Public Works has submitted the Innovation Plan for Transport and Infrastructures in order to strengthen investment in knowledge and innovation and encourage the development of new sustainable economies.
The Plan submitted by the Ministry of Public Works includes a series of proposals aimed at integrating and coordinating all the innovation activity of the companies and institutions of the Group Fomento, as well as considering concrete actions for transport and infrastructures technological implementation, in compliance with the European Commission Horizonte 2020 strategy. The Plan is structured around the following basic pillars:
- Digitalisation of the transport and infrastructure sector: as an opportunity to configure an interconnected and efficient mobility system towards automation.
- Internet of the future: for this purpose, the Plan considers the development of an ecosystem of Smart Platforms that will cover the needs of the Spanish transport system while ensuring interoperability between the different elements. Specifically, it contemplates initiatives aimed at the development of applications that provide functionality to smart platforms through big data or automatic learning techniques.
- Intermodal transport at all levels of the system: to optimize the transport system and improve its efficiency and effectiveness. The purpose is to have a global and integrated vision of mobility and transport and be able to coordinate all the companies and institutions involved, in order to improve the quality of life of citizens and speed up and improve business transactions.
- Energy transformation and low emissions: highlights the potential of cooperative, connected and automated vehicles to reduce energy consumption and emissions from transport. It is also aligned with the State Plan for Scientific, Technical and Innovation Research 2017-2020, which is currently being prepared by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness in collaboration with the Scientific, Technological and Innovation Policy Council and which poses as one of the challenges that sustainable, intelligent and clean transport.
For the development of the above objectives, the Plan is limited to the period 2017-2020, although its execution may be extended to subsequent years, and focuses on four major strategic axes: User Experience, Smart Platforms, Smart Routes and Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. These axes are structured, in turn, in 21 strategic lines, which are specified in 67 initiatives with an expected investment in 2017-2020 of 50 million Euros. Among the most relevant initiatives of each of the four axes, the following stand out:
1. The “User Experience” axis focuses on the creation of new accessibility and payment systems that involve the elimination of barriers and physical elements such as the ticket, through systems based on mobile telephony and biometrics. Big Data will be another of the key elements to improve the user experience, since it allows us to know their preferences in order to adapt the service offer.
2. In the “Smart Platforms” section, special emphasis is placed on the development of an ecosystem of intelligent platforms in the railway, airport and port areas, that is integrated with the platforms of the cities, in such a way that it offers users relevant information on their journeys. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning the Single Sky, which aims to promote interoperability, optimization of air space, with the creation of new business models through drones.
3. As for the “Intelligent Routes”, the impulse of the “connected vehicle” is considered, allowing the implementation of predictive models of automatic learning (dynamic traffic control, the early recognition of congestion conditions on the road and the dynamic management of the driving). In this sense, the Ministry of Development will develop a National Multimodal Transport Model for Travelers and Merchandise that, integrated with the rest of the smart platforms, will allow all agents to have a tool with updated and unified information.
4. Finally, in the “Energy Efficiency and Sustainability” axis, the use of renewable energy generation systems, storage systems and surplus energy distribution systems for self-consumption or reinvestment in the network will be promoted. Soon, the Ministry of Development will develop a National Infrastructure Plan for Electric Vehicles and other Vehicles with Alternative Energies, which will study the implementation of a network of public charging points on motorways, public spaces and large transport hubs that ensure complete autonomy of these vehicles.
Among other points, the Plan devotes a specific section to the Railway Innovation Hub, an initiative that seeks to promote technology and knowledge of the railway sector at an international level through the generation of collaborative R & D projects; the commercialisation of technology and know-how; and the promotion of entrepreneurship and the provision of specialised services.
In conclusion, with this Plan, the Ministry of Public Works aims to favour and facilitate an innovative network that integrates and connects all sectors of society. Interested parties may submit comments and proposals to the Plan until December 8, 2017, when the consultation and public participation process in which it is currently present ends, with its launching for 2018 expected.