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Fulfilling the promise of intelligent transportation services

This was the theme of the 13th ITC European Congress, which brought together mayors, city officials and industry leaders to discuss the challenges ahead for smart mobility.

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ITS European Congress brought together more than 3,500 international experts
ITS European Congress brought together more than 3,500 international experts

Close collaboration between the public and private sectors at the planning and deployment stage are key to the implementation of intelligent transportation services (ITS) for both passengers and freight. This was among the key messages from mayors, European city officials and industry leaders at this week’s ITS European Summit.

 

Another major theme was the speed at which mobility technologies are continuing to develop and the pressure this is putting on regulatory activities. There was a general consensus, though, 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, with a clear understanding that unsuccessful experiments will be closed down.

 

This need to adapt mindsets to be able to cope with disruption, new stakeholders in the mobility arena and rapid change were also the theme of the keynote address by innovation expert and author, Jef Staes.

 

Fulfilling potential

 

The summit was held as part of the 13th ITS European Congress, hosted by the cities of Eindhoven and Helmond in the Netherlands. Organised by Ertico-ITS Europe, a public-private partnership comprising 120 organisations, the event brought together more than 3,500 international experts from over 50 countries, under the overarching theme of Fulfilling ITS Promises.

 

The summit focused on five main themes:

  • 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.

The rise of micro-mobility, congestion and air quality were among the hot topics discussed and delegates were keen to share knowledge and experience. They also considered whether –

and if so, how quickly – highly automated or driverless vehicles might be used to enable goods movement 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.

 

Need for education

 

Given the information explosion in the area of intelligent transport, there was a call for more ‘how to’ guidance not just in terms of documentation but also education 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.

 

"If we want to release the urgently needed full potential of ITS and smart mobility to make mobility safer, cleaner and more efficient, we definitely need more skilled professionals in the public sector"

 

To help support and facilitate knowledge building in this area, Ertico-ITS Europe announced the launch of the Ertico Academy, which from January 2020 will offer a number of training options in areas such as mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), 5G and the Internet of Things, ITS deployment and access to EU funding and programmes.

 

Ertico CEO, Jacob Bangsgaard, said the organisation is keen to bridge “the knowledge and experience gap” that exists when it comes to the deployment of smart mobility solutions.

 

Training can be customised depending on the knowledge level and targeted for audiences, which could range from traffic managers and civil servants to those working in legal and procurement departments.

 

"If we want to release the urgently needed full potential of ITS and smart mobility to make mobility safer, cleaner and more efficient, we definitely need more skilled professionals in the public sector but also in the private and scientific sectors,” said Ronald Adams, smart mobility project manager at Rijkswaterstaat, the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. “I will fully and actively support this important Ertico initiative.”

 

Prioritising emergency services

 

The overall event kicked off with the launch of the pilot ‘priority facilitation for emergency services’ in the municipality of Helmond. It will facilitate priority for emergency vehicles (ambulance, fire brigade, police and logistics service providers) at intersections to allow them to reach their destination more quickly and safely.

 

The pilot is part of a national roll-out of priority facilitation as part of the Talking Traffic programme. Using ’GreenFlow for BlueLights’ technology developed by the event’s main sponsor, Dynniq, emergency vehicles with blue flashing lights communicate with the traffic lights on the route.

 

ITS European Congress also saw several major smart mobility launches and developments. The highlights included:

 

Transparity TDX (transport data exchange) from McCain Inc: a cloud-based software platform that enables the rapid and secure integration of a multitude of emerging and existing applications in areas such as connected vehicle data subscriptions, integrated corridor management systems (ICMS), regional traffic management, parking systems, multi-modal applications and bike safety;

 

Hydrogen drone from DroneHub GAE: by using hydrogen, the developers claim to multiply the flying time of drones by six times and it also allows them to charge faster. The hydrogen unit will be tested on different types of drones and will eventually be submitted for approval to the Netherlands Air and Space Centre;

 

Integrated headlight/LiDAR sensor from Blickfeld and Koito: Blickfeld is working with the automotive headlight pioneer to enable manufacturers to fully integrate LiDAR technology into a vehicle. The compact design of Blickfeld’s miniature LiDAR technology enables real-time mapping and object detection without impacting the design of the vehicle;

 

Traffic portfolio from AGD Systems: the company announced it will launch a new family of pedestrian and vehicle detectors for urban crossings and junction control. The AGD 326 will allow optimisation of the crossing phase, giving back more green time to traffic, while the 641 will offer a 4x2m zone for monitoring the pedestrian wait area;

 

Fluidtime and SkedGo integrate technology for MaaS: by combining SkedGo’s various front-end solutions and Fluidtime’s business management tool for account, user and tariff management of the apps, the companies claim to offer cities one of the largest MaaS product ranges of its kind;

 

Swiftly from Headways: the new Swiftlys module uses a simple, visual method for transit staff to pinpoint unreliable headways (the measurement of the distance between vehicles) on high-frequency routes. The module works by comparing actual historical headways to scheduled headways and organising them into three categories: expected, bunched, or gapped;

 

Bestmile last-mile automated delivery solution: the company has been chosen by the European Institute of Technology Digital (EIT Digital) to develop a solution using autonomous robots. The European initiative will form a new start-up that develops digital services jointly with other companies. In addition to Bestmile, partners involved in the project include GIM Robotics, BookIT, Picom, and Futurice. The newly created start-up will integrate the partner technologies to support new retail practices and expects to be able to demonstrate a solution in France and Finland by the end of the year.

 

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