In our 26 years of activity, ERTICO has come a long way in deploying and promoting intelligent mobility together with our Partners and the European Institutions. These results would not have been possible without those behind the scenes, our ERTICO experts who are working in several focus areas: Urban Mobility, Clean mobility, Connected and Automated Driving, and Transport and Logistics.
We have therefore decided to give them the floor to guide us through ERTICO’s work and current activities in this first interview of the series “Meet the expert”. This week we present Andrew Winder, our ERTICO expert in the field of electro and clean mobility.
Andrew, tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to start a career in the transport sector and in particular in clean mobility?
“I’ve been exposed to travel and transport from an early age. I was brought up by a father who was a geography teacher and a grandfather who was a manager for British Railways and I eventually went to do a degree in transport management at Aston University in Birmingham. Before working in the clean mobility sector and before joining ERTICO in 2013, I worked in several UK consultancy companies, doing surveys, organizing interviews with rail and bus passengers and conducting transport and access studies. I worked on transport studies for people with special needs, bus priority in several parts of England and then worked for 14 years on European and international projects at Egis in Lyon, France, focusing mostly on ITS. I worked alongside ERTICO on projects and other initiatives for much of that time.”
What projects are you leading at ERTICO?
“I work in the clean mobility sector of ERTICO’s Innovation and Deployment department, which includes projects and activities on electro-mobility, CO2 and pollution reduction and air quality. With regard to air quality and CO2 reduction, I worked on a recent project called ecoDriver, which was very successful in providing the vehicle real-time information for drivers to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while at the moment I am leading ERTICO’s involvement in three projects: FABRIC, NeMo and ELVITEN.
In ERTICO we are not directly dealing with electric vehicles themselves but more with the ”Intelligent” part of electro mobility, such as the interoperability of the charging services to make electric vehicles more attractive and more connected- after all ERTICO focuses its work on Intelligent and Smart Mobility. The NeMo project is an indicative example as it is building a European network for electro mobility service providers (vehicle manufacturers, charge point operators, navigation and roaming platforms, etc., to bring seamless services to end users across networks and borders). Another project, ELVITEN, is working to raise the profile of light electric vehicles (motorcycles, scooters, etc.), a mode that has received relatively little attention so far. They have the potential to complement public transport and reduce the volume of more polluting and space-consuming vehicles on urban roads, so reducing emissions and also noise. ELVITEN is raising the profile of light electric vehicles via trial usage schemes in six cities, including charging infrastructure and shared fleets. We are also working on solutions to solve some of the limitations of electric vehicles, such as charging time and range anxiety, and one possibility is to charge on the move – that is the focus of the FABRIC project, which included a trial of inductive dynamic charging, with ERTICO supporting work on ICT needs and potential deployment aspects.”
You mentioned “lack of awareness”. What are the problems we are facing today that prevent electric vehicles from being more commonplace?
“Well, at the moment the problems are the price of vehicles, access to charging services and the length of time to charge these vehicles. For local use, the number of electric vehicles is growing, mostly for business use, but for an individual or a family who occasionally needs to use the car to go a long way for business or on holiday, the low density of charging stations outside cities is a big problem. Drivers have to plan their journeys quite carefully if they’re going away from their local area with an electric vehicle. However, I am positive: there are more and more charging points and awareness and usage is growing.”
The UN and the EU have set a range of future goals called “Sustainable Development Goals”. Regarding transport, these goals aim at providing affordable solutions for the transport of people and goods, reducing emissions and building adequate infrastructure. Do you think we are far away from achieving these goals?
“There has been good progress in some areas. And I think vehicles are becoming much cleaner, if you compare today’s vehicles with buses and cars in the 1970’s. Vehicles are also much safer, and safety is part of sustainable development as well. I think more work needs to be done with regard to smarter energy use. Even with a shift towards electro mobility, the benefit of this shift depends on how the electricity is generated. We still have electricity generated by coal or fossil fuels and the use of renewables in the transport sector worldwide is still less than 5%. On the other hand, the use of renewable energy is increasing in Europe compared to the rest of the world, but there is still a long way to go before transport becomes 100% clean.
In terms of affordability of transport services (including cleaner vehicles), there are big discrepancies in the market. Sometimes it is more expensive to use a more sustainable way of travel. For example, 40 years ago, most people would not have even dreamed of flying for a weekend in another European country on a cheap flight costing around 20-30 euros. Yet, it might cost you several times that price to take a train 100 km if you don’t plan and book your trip well in advance, so a lot of the affordability aspect is down to who operates different transport modes and services and what the pricing policy is. There needs to be a move towards making the more sustainable transport modes more affordable.”
This year’s ITS World Congress will be held in Copenhagen, with the theme “Quality of life”. Copenhagen is known for its sustainable mobility. What aspect of this quality of life would you like to see implemented in European cities?
“First of all, quality of life is a very appropriate theme for the Copenhagen Congress because this city is known for its high quality of life and Danes rank close to the top of the happiest countries in Europe and in the world, so they must be doing something right! Copenhagen is known for its multimodal transport system; it has efficient public transport and puts a major emphasis on cycling as well. Something else that is good in Copenhagen and many other Nordic countries is the good urban planning structure. This means that it is not just about transport, but also about where people live and work. When you build new housing, for example, you should make sure that houses are built on an efficient public transport corridor, so that people don’t need to use their car as much, because they can rely on good transport alternatives. Urban planning incorporating sustainable transport should be available, accessible and efficient right from the beginning. This is what Copenhagen does really well and numerous other cities too. I’m looking forward to going, maybe cycling to the Congress! Here at ERTICO we are talking about smart mobility and are committed to using intelligent transport services to improve all the different modes, including cycling and walking.”
What role is ERTICO playing in making transport more sustainable?
“At ERTICO we are focusing on three main aspects. First of all, we provide information to help people make smarter decisions. This is more sustainable, because they can see what options are available, whether they are passengers, they are sending freight or operating logistics services. They can see the costs but also the environmental footprint for each one. Secondly, we work to link services. At ERTICO we don’t build systems ourselves but we are concentrating on standards, roaming of electric vehicles, charging systems, roaming of payment systems and other mobility services. Lastly, we provide evidence of the environmental benefits of the different ITS applications. There are many different in-vehicle, traffic management services with different potential to make transport safer and cleaner. I have been often asked what ITS solutions are the most effective, but there is no simple answer to that, as it depends on the challenges emanating from the local circumstances, traffic congestion, the structure of road network, driver behaviour and reaction to the system and many more. However, there is increasing evidence that certain in-vehicle and traffic management services can lower emissions by acting on the vehicle’s behaviour and performance. There are apps available for vehicles that can help you regulate the speed of the vehicle and that can surely help reducing CO2 emissions between 5 and 10%.”
ERTICO has a long history in running and taking part in Clean Mobility related project. It currently participates in several projects and activities to improve efficiency in mobility. For more information, please visit these links:
Interview by Sara Jane Weeks, Junior Communications Officer at ERTICO