A new Special Award was introduced for the first time at the 2022 edition, for honouring a senior personality of the transport sector, representing well established researchers, who through the years have made an outstanding and well-recognised contribution to research and innovation in their respective field. Someone who has, throughout their career, demonstrated ground-breaking and futureoriented views and research.

A Selection Board of distinguished and renowned personalities representing all transport modes and the European Commission was created for selecting the winner of the TRA VISIONS 2024 Special Honorary Award (one winner, irrespective of transport mode). An Open Call for nominations was launched to the entire transport research community through the TRA VISIONS 2024 website. Nominations could be made by single persons, including the members of the Board, or groups of persons. Self-nominations were excluded. Each nomination had to include a proper justification (up to two pages long) based on the overall impact, visionary thinking, breakthrough achievements and track record of the nominated person (including but not limited to EU funding policy impact, publication track record, patents and research leadership, etc.). The criteria for the selection of the winner were holistic.

The members of the Selection Board were provided in due time with all nominations for the Special Honorary Award, in order to carefully review and evaluate them. Subsequently, a consensus meeting of the Selection Board took place virtually in March 2024, to select the winner.


The TRA VISIONS 2024 special honorary award was awarded during the TRA 2024 closing ceremony on 18th of April in Dublin. The book was prepared by the TRA 2024 consortium and was designed and directed by Ms. Micol Biscotto, project manager at Deep Blue ltd, Mr. Alessandro Tedeschi Gallo, Mr. Carlo Abate, consultant and Ms. Chiara Muccitelli, graphic designer at the same company and Mr. George Smyrnakis, Secretary General of WEGEMT with the support of Ina Schlinger (BALance Technology Consultig GmbH).

Special honorary award winner


Dracos Vassalos

University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)

Design for Safety, Risk-Based Design, Life-Cycle Risk Management

Prof. Dracos Vassalos has dedicated over four decades to advancing maritime safety, leaving an indelible mark on both academia and industry. With 25 years as a full Professor, his influence in the field is profound. Notably, he pioneered the concept of "Design for Safety" in the maritime sector, championing a shift towards goal-based legislation that has transformed safety standards globally. Recognised for his lifelong contributions, Prof. Vassalos has received four awards and earned a place in the Ship and Offshore Structures Journal’s Hall of Fame as a Pioneer in Maritime Safety. His research prowess is evident in his extensive publication record, which includes over 700 technical publications and books. Moreover, his leadership in supervising more than 75 PhD students underscores his commitment to shaping the next generation of maritime safety experts.

A visionary in risk-based design methodology, Prof. Vassalos has spearheaded transformative changes in maritime safety research. His establishment of the first Centre of Excellence on Maritime Safety Research within a university environment further demonstrates his dedication to advancing the field.

Beyond academia, Prof. Vassalos’s impact extends to other sectors, notably influencing safety and environmental practices in the rail industry. His work serves as a beacon for interdisciplinary collaboration, highlighting the interconnectedness of safety across different modes of transportation. Through his leadership, research, and advocacy, Prof. Vassalos has elevated the discourse on maritime safety, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to shape industry standards and practices worldwide.