Better train connection between European metropolises in future

European countries want to build a better train network. During the German council presidency 2020 the Trans-Europ-Express 2.0. was decided. This project includes a better train connection between the metropolises and investments in the rail infrastructure. Yet the plans are becoming more concrete.
First, four nightjet-lines should combine thirteen million metropolises. From December 2021 the two lines Vienna-Munich-Paris and Zurich-Cologne-Amsterdam come on stream. Then, in 2022, the nightline Zurich-Milan-Rome line will start. In 2023 the Berlin-Paris and Berlin-Brussels lines will be added and in 2024 Zurich-Barcelona line will be brought in line. For the long term, there are a lot further nightlines in planning.
In addition, a European express train network is at the political agenda. For example, Amsterdam-Rome, Paris-warsaw and Berlin and Barcelona should be combined by high-speed trains. The goal is to use existing train tracks and repose them for new European train routes. Each of these connections will take less than thirteen hours.
Also, in the middle of the 2030s an express train will combine Berlin-Prague-Vienna. A new train line is being built for this purpose, which included a tunnel in the ore mountains. The route Berlin-Vienna will last only five hours. The new route also includes a nightline connection.
There are also further plans for a better inner European train connection. Finland and Estonia have signed an agreement, which commit them to a better cooperation in the traffic area. This included a train tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn. The cities are only 80 km apart and through the better infrastructure they should become a twin-city. That means, a generally better connection and especially a support freight transport between these cities. In addition, Helsinki will become final station of Rail Baltica.
A better train network might help, to protect the environment. People could take the train instead of the airplane.


Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion

This year the fifth conference of ministers for the European programme for traffic, health and environment took place in Vienna. The declaration of Vienna had the motto “building a better future – setting the course for new, clean, safe, healthy and integrative mobility”. The focus for the twenty-eight participating countries was to promote cycling paths in Europe.
The aim of the plan is to double the cycling traffic till 2030. Therefore, the states must build their own cycling strategies. This will happen through a better cycling infrastructure, but also other political parts, like the health and spatial planning, shall be involved by these mobility changes. The plan comprises measures for a better user-friendly cycling infrastructure and the promote of new technology and innovation.
More cycling traffic will have positive impacts to our society. At first, more cycling will have an impact to the environment. Eight million tons of CO2 could be saved to 2030. Further, the use of bike instead of cars will lead to better air and less noise in cities and make urban regions more liveable. In addition, cycling is a useful activity, so the planners hope to prevent deaths because of sedentary lifestyle.
Secondly, the Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion will have a positive economy impact. By doubling the cycling traffic, 400.000 new jobs could be created in the cycling industry. If they will achieve the aim, 3.5 billion Euro can be implemented in the cycling sector. Another factor is the impact to the health care and insurance systems. More activity will have a positive impact to health. Moreover, the number of accidents will fall. These factors will lead to less sick days and a discharge of the health care system. By reaching the aim till 2030, the national economy will have a use of 260 billion Euros.
You can find the whole plan at:


Via remote control to autonomous driving

Now it is public: For two years, the Berlin-based start-up Vay has been secretly driving cars remotely through Berlin. The aim is to launch a new type of taxi service and have the first fleet without a driver in the car on European roads in 2022.
Co-founder and CEO Thomas von der Ohe calls it “teleride”. Customers can order a vehicle via an app, which then drives up to them remotely. The customer then takes the wheel and drives to their destination. Once they arrive at their destination, they can hand the car back to a teledriver, without having to search for a parking space.
Teledrivers sit in a replica cockpit with driver's seat, steering wheel and accelerator pedal in the headquarters of Vay and only see the road they are driving on through cameras. Three screens show the immediate surroundings of the vehicle at a 360-degree angle. The teledriver hears what is being said in the car and what sounds can be perceived around it. According to Ohe, this is enough to brake, accelerate and know whether they can turn left.
In the future, it will be possible to drive autonomously on well-marked and clear stretches of road. In difficult situations, the teledriver should take over. At present, however, Vay is not allowed to jet along the motorway by remote control.
In the future, Vay wants to grab market share not only in the taxi and rental car business, but also in trucking - and offer customers an alternative to buying their own car. To what extent the business model will contribute to the further development of autonomous driving remains to be seen. In any case, it promotes the market entry of driverless technology in the near future.

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