Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel’s role in the global smart transportation sector, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed a team of officials on Sunday to submit a multiyear plan on the subject for cabinet approval in the coming weeks.
Netanyahu issued the directive following a status update at Sunday’s cabinet meeting about the existing Fuel Choices Initiative by Eyal Rosner, outgoing director of the Prime Minister’s Office Alternative Fuels Administration.
During the discussion, ministers learned that international focus has now veered toward smart transportation, such as autonomous, cooperative electric vehicles capable of communicating with their surroundings, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
After the briefing, Netanyahu instructed National Economic Council chairman Avi Simhon, together with the Transportation Ministry and the Alternative Fuels Administration, to submit a relevant plan for Israel with measurable goals for the years to come. The directive follows last week’s government-sponsored Fuel Choices Summit, which brought some 2,000 people from 30 countries to Tel Aviv.
Since the inception of the Fuel Choices Initiative, which began in 2011, the number of companies active in the alternative fuels sector has risen from 60 to 500, and investments are double the government’s targets at NIS 9 billion, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. The Fuel Choices Initiative has a budget of NIS 1.5b. for a 10-year period.
“One of the things we have been giving special attention to over the past five years is to find alternatives to fuels for use in public transportation,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“The use of gasoline, petroleum, is mostly for public transportation. We are trying to promote the global liberation from this dependence, and Israel is becoming a global leader in finding alternatives for petroleum-based fuels. We are doing this in order to create a cleaner, healthier and better world."
“We see this as central and important, and point out with satisfaction that many start-ups have now arisen in Israel that are developing alternative energy and revolutionary methods for more efficient, safer and cleaner transportation,” he added.
Rosner, who will be stepping down from his position as Alternative Fuels Administration director in a few weeks, stressed how “the global transportation industry has undergone a revolution in recent years – a smart transportation revolution that means connected, cooperative and electric transportation.”
He attributed this change to global advances in computerization, data analysis, information transfer and personal communications.
“Smart transportation allows us to adjust between demand and supply, create more dynamic transportation, according to demand, which will contribute to a shift from wasteful mobile means” in the field and with fuel, time and money “to more-efficient, safer, cleaner and cheaper mobile means,” Rosner said.
“Smart transportation will contribute to lower traffic congestion, fewer accidents, a lower cost of living and lower air pollution from transportation,” he added.
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