ITS European Congress: Mayors and Industry Leaders Ensure ITS Fulfills its Promises

The ITS European Summit was the opportunity for Mayors and Officials of
European cities to come together with Industry and Research Leaders for a
wide-ranging discussion on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the field of intelligent mobility and smart cities.

Delegates from more than 35 cities & regions and 30 industries took part in the Summit as well as representatives from the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and ERTICO-ITS Europe. Cities are the hot spots where the innovative solutions address the most difficult problems such as population movement, ageing, limited physical space and pressure for sustainable living. The Summit discussions were derived from the ITS Brainport Eindhoven 2019 main theme: “Fulfilling ITS Promises” and focused on five broad topics:


• Making cities more liveable by reducing congestion and improving air quality
• Regulating the deployment of new technologies and new mobility services in cities
• Making mobility data available while maintaining commercial and personal privacy
• Public-Private cooperation in managing urban space and infrastructure
• Enabling deployment of automated transport in cities for both people and goods

Delegates shared experiences as to what ITS services are available now and how best to deploy them, but they also looked at areas where solutions are incomplete or not readily understood. They noted that mobility technologies are continuing to develop quickly – for example the rapid growth in micromobility. This is welcomed news when problems previously
considered too difficult can start to be addressed using innovative approaches; however, it puts pressure on regulatory activities and knowledge management roles.

Regarding city congestion and air quality delegates talked about the sorts of policies that have been introduced and how they have been enforced. They noted that a very wide range of ITS technologies is now available and the key issues regarding its use are mainly political – balancing private vehicle use with public transport and managing the use of infrastructure by goods traffic as well as by passenger. Delegates considered whether, and if so how
quickly, highly automated or driverless vehicles might be used to enable goods movements at different times of the day in line with passengers’ preferences. Delegates urged researchers to keep freight in mind and not solely concentrate trials on passenger services.

Almost all cities are experiencing difficulties in maintaining awareness of technology developments and understanding their implication for legislation, especially where innovation enables a totally new area rather than improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a traditional service. The current economic climate and the continuing development of technology are encouraging start-up companies and there was a general feeling that both national and local governments should be prepared to be more flexible regarding regulation and more willing to allow trial deployments of new services on the clear understanding that unsuccessful experiments would be closed down. This need for adaptation of mindset, to be
able to cope with disruption, new stakeholders in the mobility arena and very rapid technology change was also the theme of an inspiring keynote address by Jeff Staes, an Organisational Architect.


Linked to the “Information explosion” there is significant demand for “How to do it” guidance, not just documents about specific topics but also intensive courses for members of staff. As part of this concern, delegates expressed a wish for clearer guidance on privacy legislation and the availability and usability of transport data. They noted that information on the flows of private vehicles can be used to improve public transport services without the need for identification but progress with this is very uneven.


The need for good Public–Private cooperation was discussed in many contexts. Government needs to understand that industry wants to move quickly to maintain a market edge; but industry needs to recognise that Government has a wider responsibility. However, the key point here was that new vehicle technologies and new mobility services all represent a
disruption of existing transport systems, city space use, and society generally. They pose a number of technological, architectural, legal, institutional, validation, and certification challenges which cannot be looked at separately. They need a holistic approach that enables us to see how they inter-relate. Delegates stressed that the various sector players need to work together on these challenges and a number of successful partnership examples were presented.

Delegates were pleased to be able to share experiences and learn from each other; ERTICO’s work developing the ERTICO Academy and other knowledge transfer projects should be a significant support for this type of action. Reflecting on the day’s business the Chair of the ERTICO Supervisory Board, Dr Angelos Amditis, commented “Cities represent hot spots for challenges that demand smart solutions. Public–private partnership will be an essential element of the journey travelling forward to being a smart city. I am pleased to see so many delegates here today working together and that the ERTICO Partnership has been able to support today’s Summit.”


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