What role does IFSTTAR play in the ITF's activities?
Stephen Perkins: Working closely with the Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition, IFSTTAR is a strong member of the ITF Research Committee where it helps to develop our collaborative research programmes in the area of transport policy analysis. Its researchers are regularly consulted in meetings, round tables and expert working groups with a view to producing reports and forward-looking studies, for example. The Institute is involved in improving our models and conducting more in-depth work on topical issues that are of great interest to OECD member countries: road safety, transport taxation, urban congestion control, use of large capacity heavy goods vehicles, the regulation of new mobility services (car sharing, self-service bicycles, VTCs…), etc.
How does the Institute's expertise benefit your research?
IFSTTAR is a world leader in several areas, such as the protection of infrastructure - particularly bridges - or the measurement and modelling of road congestion. It also has considerable expertise in assessing the environmental and economic impacts of transport policies as well as the impacts of environmental and fiscal policies on the sector, from the ecotax on heavy goods vehicles to the carbon tax. For decades, French transport policies have been guided by the recommendations of researchers. This tradition fosters the development of long-term research that is carried out in a spirit of independence. It makes France one of the main international centres of expertise in the field of transport, along with the Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands. IFSTTAR is always ready to work with others, and is a valuable asset for the ITF. Its expertise in urban development will be further strengthened with the creation of Université Gustave Eiffel.
"Road use and road sharing policies must evolve"
What are your main concerns about the future of mobility?
Urban road management is a crucial issue. Space is becoming increasingly scarce in cities. Transport infrastructure is a legacy from the last century and today we need new policies for the use and sharing of roads between different users. Should we apply road pricing? What role should be assigned to electric scooters? New challenges are emerging and technology is also changing the situation, particularly with the introduction of electric vehicles, which is gradually becoming necessary due to climate change. This new propulsion system will change our habits and is already the subject of discussion on taxation as it will spell the end of fuel taxes. Another important issue for tomorrow's transport is trade, both international freight flows and passenger transport in and around metropolitan areas. These topics will be discussed at the ITF 2019 Summit in Leipzig (Germany) by more than 1,000 participants - including many ministers - who will gather together to discuss transport connectivity with a view to regional integration.