With the opening of the 15th ITS European Congress on Monday 22 May, Lisbon witnessed three full days of innovative technology, business and policy solutions that make ITS the game changer for mobility and transport. Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon, and Jorge Moreno Delgado, Secretary of State for Urban Mobility, Government of Portugal, welcomed all participants to the host city at the official Opening Ceremony. ERTICO – ITS Europe’s Chairman, Dr Angelos Amditis, and CEO, Joost Vantomme, gave opening remarks on the Congress’ mission, while  Herald Ruijters, Director of Investment, Innovative and Sustainable Transport and Acting Deputy Director-General, DG MOVE, European Commission, also introduced this year’s celebration of the ITS Congress. Following an inspirational speech by astronomer and writer, Dr Esko Valtaoja, participants were treated to a performance by the University Tuna of the Instituto Superior Técnico that matched the energetic atmosphere at the Lisbon Congress Centre. Re-watch the Opening Ceremony here. 

2,500 registered participants from 59 countries enjoyed 113 Technical Sessions, including ERTICO-organised sessions and activities. The vibrant High-Level Programme, featuring four Plenaries, invited top-notch speakers and influential thought leaders to share their perspective on mobility data and digitalisation, the green and sustainable potential of CCAM, multimodality, and the future of cities with respect to mobility management. Insightful keynotes were presented by the Congress Partners, Michael Schuch, CEO of SWARCO, and Anne-Lise Thieblemont, Vice President, Qualcomm, as well as Herald Ruijters, Director and Acting Deputy Director-General, DG MOVE, European Commission, and Khaled Abdul Rahman Al Awadhi, Director at RTA Dubai where the 30th ITS World Congress will take place next year, 16 – 20 September. 

At the heart of all networking opportunities, the Congress sold out the exhibition space and hosted a total of 83 exhibitors and demonstrators, which proved dynamic and lively throughout the three days. Game changing ideas and smart mobility innovations were presented from all around Europe and beyond, including from our 13 commercial partners. Our co-organiser, the European Commission, turned out in force with over 20 representatives actively engage in the Congress. Delegates and visitors were offered the perfect chance to connect the dots and learn about the latest developments all under one roof. Click here to view the confirmed exhibitors.

A Smart Mobility Summit for Cities and Regions 

The Smart Mobility Summit of Cities and Regions was one of the highlights of the 15th ITS European Congress, offering representatives a unique opportunity to meet with peers, alongside a select group of technology and industry experts, to discuss challenges, possible solutions and future opportunities. Senior representatives from over 30 cities and regions from across the EMEA region met to discuss how intelligent and green mobility can contribute to sustainable growth and a better quality of life for all citizens. Cities and regions of the Summit benefitted from a very candid briefing by the European Commission on the significance of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and the related Sustainable Urban Mobility Indicators (SUMIs). Emerging issues were identified in which closer collaboration and wider knowledge sharing could benefit all parties. Read more about the ITS Summit results and the official Press Release here.

Official Press Conference: Changing the Game of ITS

On the first day, Monday 22 May, the official Press Conference was moderated by Lisa Boch-Andersen, Congress Director of ERTICO- ITS Europe, with an esteemed panel of thought leaders. Filipe Anacoreta Correia, Vice Mayor of Lisbon, presented a local perspective of the city’s latest initiatives and their vision for sustainable mobility as well as the broader role of Portugal’s contribution to ITS across Europe and beyond. Herald Ruijters, Director and Acting Deputy Director-General, DG MOVE, European Commission highlighted the importance of the European Commission’s Greening Freight Package and pointed out three different European initiatives as part of the digital mobility package, including the European Mobility Data Space (EMDS), the Multi-Modal Travel Information Services (MMTIS) as well as the Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS). He also expressed that private-public partnerships and practical solutions to go green, as evidenced by the Lisbon Congress exhibition, are important elements to drive this agenda forward. On a similar note, SWARCO CEO Michael Schuch, emphasised on the need of collaboration as a key strategy and presented his company’s newly launched GoGreen initiative. In his presentation, Michael Schuch also focused on what hampers wide-scale deployment, including lack of common standards, legal frameworks and funding. Following the Smart Mobility Summit, Dr Angelos Amditis, ERTICO Chairman, gave a brief summary of the outcomes and highlighted the crucial role of cities in moving ITS and smart mobility forward. Joost Vantomme, ERTICO CEO, concluded with final comments on the importance of strengthening cooperation across Europe and beyond. He pointed to ERTICO – ITS Europe as a key enabler in bringing the broader ITS community together and connecting the dots for such a holistic approach which has been the mantra of ERTICO and the ITS Congresses.

A Memorable Closing Ceremony

After three days of engaging dialogues to advance game-changing solutions for the future of ITS, the 15th ITS European Congress closed with a remarkable Ceremony featuring an emotional Fado performance by Portuguese musicians. During the final presentations of paper awards, Lisa Boch-Andersen, ERTICO Director of Communications, Congresses and Events, announced the three winners: The Best Session award went to the Technical Paper Session (SIS) 1: Remote operation of highly automated vehicles as an enabler for ITS services, organised by Dr. Michael Oehl, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany. Expert judges who reviewed all papers selected Real-time traffic monitoring and management based on tethered drones videos as the Best Research Paper, awarded to Nour-Eddin El Faouzi, Pierre Lemaire and Humberto González Ramírez at the University Gustave Eiffel, France. The third and final award, for the Best Technical Paper, which was also judged by the experts, went to the Case study on multimodal urban mobility in Rotterdam, conducted by Hannah Gorges, Jörg Hetterich and Irina Koller-Matschke from the BMW Group, Germany, and Giuliano Mingardo, and Susan Vermeulen at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

This year’s edition of the ITS European Congress showcased the strength of the broader ITS community in driving initiatives on smart mobility forward with representatives from both public and private sector. Our 16 official media partners and over 50 media representatives at the Congress helped spread the news of a truly successful event. Once again, it served as a unique platform for scientific excellence, business cases, advancing deployment and showing the achievement of the ITS European Congress to all stakeholders.

In his final closing remarks, Professor Eric Sampson CBE, Senior Programme Advisor and Chief Rapporteur, summarised three days, highlighting the great work of his team of rapporteurs who were the eyes and ears during the week. This year’s Congress was special for Prof. Sampson, and in his final words of the last Congress he says: “It’s time for me to share the long-standing pleasure and privilege of leading the rapporteur teams so I’m handing over to Wolfgang Hoefs.

Watch the highlight videos of the week to re-live the game-changing future of ITS again.

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