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E.U. beefing up technology research for its ‘smart cities’

Aiming to gain more knowledge in the area of "smart technologies" for cities, the European Union will spend 365 million euros ($449 million) in 2013 that will fund energy, transport and communications research that will tackle common problems like congestion and energy waste.

"Transport is the lifeblood of every city for people and business. But Europe's cities suffer most from road accidents, congestion, poor air quality and noise," said vice president Siim Kallas.

"We need to drive forwards the research and innovation that can bring us to our goals of CO2-free cities, phasing out conventionally fuelled cars from city centers, to smart charging of electric vehicles and smokeless silent buses."

"Innovation drives Europe's competitiveness and is the best means of addressing energy efficiency," said Energy Commissioner G"unther Oettinger.

He adds that the program will allow high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, smart metering, real-time energy management, or zero-energy buildings neighborhoods solutions will "spread among more and more European cities."

The E.U. revises its budget and sets aside a certain amount for research and development every seven years. According to GigaOM, from 2014 to 2020, 10.8 billion euros will be spent for research and development - 8.1 billion of which are to be allocated to the said program. As this funding stimulates investment from the private sector, another 6 billion euros is expected to come from private sources.

Launched in 2011 by way of the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative, the program had an initial funding of 81 million euros for this year, and it covered only the transport and energy sector.

Almost three-quarters of Europeans live in cities consuming 70 percent of E.U.'s production, and congestion costs Europe about 1 percent of its G.D.P. every year. – EcoSeed Staff

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