A complete guide from the first to the last day of the most remarkable ITS event of 2012

After months of meticulous work for the selection of the papers and the organisation of the sessions the preliminary programme of the 19th ITS World Congress has finally been unveiled.  With over 1 100 papers submitted from the three regions Europe Asia-Pacific and Americas and over 800 selected by a group of experts this year Congress is expected to be one of the most exciting events of 2012. Plenary Executive Technical and Scientific Special and Interactive sessions have been organised for a total of 231 meetings in four days. 10 000 ITS experts politicians and industry people from all over the world are expected to flock to Vienna from 22 to 26 October and make the 19th ITS World Congress memorable.

Here you will find a comprehensive guide of the programme which will give you an in-depth overview of all the activities and events happening at the Congress to get to Vienna well-prepared and to make the most of this event.

Plenary Sessions

This year confirmed VIP speakers include European Commission Vice-Presidents Siim Kallas responsible for Transport and Neelie Kroes responsible for Digital Agenda; Austrian Minister of Transport Doris Bures and Michael Häupl Mayor of Vienna. Peter Sweatman Chairman and Scott Belcher President and CEO will stand for ITS America while Hiroyuki Watanabe Chairman of ITS Japan and Tae-ho Doh Director General of the Road Policy Bureau – Korean Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs will be among the representatives of the Asia-Pacific region. More European speakers will be represented by ERTICO – ITS Europe and Valentina Matviyenko former Mayor of St Petersburg and now Chairman of the Federation Council Russian Federation.

From the industry side the meetings will host Georg Kapsch CEO of Kapsch; Vivek Badrinath CEO of Orange Business Services; and Ton Steenman Vice President Intel Architecture Group and General Manager Intelligent Systems Group.

As every year in addition to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies three Plenary Sessions have been organised as a “forum  debate” moderated by Melinda Crane. High level speakers representing public authorities and the private sector will be together all at the same time discussing present-day topics and reflecting on future actions.

The first Plenary Session will focus on the achievements so far accomplished by ITS and future goals; political and industry leaders will describe how intelligent transport solutions are shaping today’s transport system in terms of connectivity reliability safety security and comfort for users. The session will also look at ambitions for seamless and integrated transport.

The second Plenary will look in detail at converging and new mobile technologies and how policy makers industry and users can take advantage of the so-called Internet of things.

The third and final Plenary Session will address transformations within the society such as climate change growing congestion increasing urbanisation and aging population and evaluate how connectivity will influence global mobility.

The Conclusions’ Session will take place on 26 October just before the 3rd Plenary and the main outcomes of the Congress and future views will be discussed.

And finally the Closing Ceremony will conclude the Congress; in addition to the distinctive “Passing the Globe Ceremony” from Vienna to Tokyo – host of the ITS World Congress in 2013 – the winners of the Best Papers Award and of the ERTICO Video Award will be celebrated.

Executive Sessions

From Tuesday 23 October to Thursday 25 October the International Programme Committee has set up 12 Executive Sessions and invited international industry speakers and public officials to share their experiences and points of view with the audience.

Next generation communication technologies internet-based applications and devices traffic management infrastructures vehicles safety system GNSS services together with international cooperation sustainable and smart mobility will be among the topics discussed at these sessions.

Special Interest sessions and stakeholders workshop

87 special sessions have been scheduled divided among the three regions and recurrent sessions. These sessions will host interventions of public authorities such as the European Commission and national transport administrations; research institutes and universities; cities and regions; representatives of the ITS industry and of the ITS national associations; and many more.

Topics to be discussed vary from international cooperation to new ITS strategies for traffic management; from deployment to certification; from energy efficiency to pollution reduction; from pedestrian protection to bike sharing; from driver safety issues to field operational tests (FOT); from smartphone applications to multi-modal journey planners; and much more.

The ITS Vienna 2012 Host has organised two sessions; the first one will be dedicated to engineers and researchers and how the education system can assure an adequate professional groundwork. The second host session will instead focus on the necessity to build a new vision of mobility to engage more people in the field.

Stakeholders have also organised specific workshops. Specifically Orange will focus on the car manufacturers’ perspective and mobile connectivity in vehicles (23 October); ERTICO has planned an urban mobility day on Wednesday (24 October) and a workshop on ITS standardisation on Friday (26 October) while the European Commission assured some space to present the results of the working groups on EU-USA cooperation (24 October) and organised two sessions on Thursday (25 October) on the ongoing EU-International cooperation.

Technical/Scientific and Interactive Sessions

International experts will host over 120 sessions devoted to all this year topics and subtopics. In addition to the presentations selected scientific papers will be presented during these sessions.

Interactive sessions represent a more dynamic way to exchange information and networking. The six interactive sessions will be divided into two stages; during the first part 15 participants will give a short presentation (3 slides) for each session of 90 minutes. Experts will then gather in the so-called Market Square to discuss their projects proposals presentations face to face with the interested participants.

Ancillary events

A series of ancillary events is foreseen between 20 and 22 October. Among the events several workshops on European co-funded projects (Instant Mobility FOT-Net iCar Support and NEARCTIS) working groups meetings (FRAME Architecture and IBEC – International Benefits Evaluation and Costs) special courses dealing with ITS issues (ITS-EduNet) and a BarCamp for young scientists will take place.

On Monday 22 October for the second time in conjunction with the Congress in Europe the Commission (DG MOVE) has organised the third edition of their ITS conference “Towards first ITS specifications”. During the conference representatives of the European Institutions will discuss with the public and private sectors the results of the ITS Action Plan with particular regard to legal issues for ITS deployment and multi-modal journey planners. The Commission will also present the state of play of the implementation of the ITS Directive.

Furthermore the European Commission and GSA will showcase the Space Expo project a demo aiming to promote the European Space infrastructure (Galileo EGNOS and GMES) and providing Congress visitors concrete information on the benefits applications and services that the infrastructure will bring to citizens. With a surface of 300 square metres the Space Base has already been tested by the European Commission in different European Cities and will land in Vienna next October.

Technical visits

Congress participants can also book their seats for 5 technical visits to the Austrian National Traffic Management Centre Siemens AG Austria the OBB Train Monitoring site the OBB Traffic Management facility and to the Vienna Climatic Wind Tunnel. The number of participants is limited; if you wish to take part in one or more visits please book early through the congress website.


Demonstrations are a core part of the Congress and one of the most awaited experiences of the week. The 30 selected demonstrations for ITS Vienna 2012 are the outcome of the two calls in April and November 2011 and have been structured in five specific thematic areas: Cooperative mobility; Eco mobility; Navigation; ITS Network Management; and Public Transport. European projects such as emporA SCUTUM COSMO and RAVE will showcase their technologies and potentials in real life use. These projects are examples of the demonstrations; the final list with all the demos will be available for booking onsite.


The Exhibition area will display the applications of projects and topics discussed at the Congress and will demonstrate practical benefits of ITS in daily life. Following the areas of interest: Information collection and processing; Traveller information; Logistics; Emergency and incident management; In-vehicle ITS; Vehicle infrastructure cooperation; Vulnerable road user aspects; Traffic safety and management; Mode specific ITS; and Payment systems.

For the press and media

Press and media professionals can attend the Congress free of charge on the presentation of their press pass and have free access to the exhibition area and the Congress sessions. As every year the Congress organisers have assured a fully equipped press room with free Wi-Fi access devoted solely to journalists and media.  

On Monday morning press professionals will have the opportunity to participate in a press breakfast organised by the hosts of the Congress where they will meet national public authorities and representatives including Austrian Transport Minister Doris Bures. The breakfast will be followed by a VIP Demo tour starting in the demonstration lounge of the exhibition area; the European Ministers and Vice-President Siim Kallas will also be present.

Social activities and special events / networking opportunities

ITS Vienna 2012 will be enriched by social events and activities. This year the Opening Ceremony on Monday afternoon will be entertained by performances of one the most famous choirs in the word the Vienna Boys’ Choir. The concert will be followed by a performance of the superb Vienna State Ballet. A Welcome reception will take place after the cultural programme and afford the opportunity to meet other participants and to get into the Congress mood.

On Thursday 25 October the general public is invited to learn more about ITS at an Open Day which will be structured around presentations from students and best practise examples from ITS school projects. Additionally the best doctoral and master thesis will be awarded by Austrian Minister Doris Bures. A reception dedicated to women in ITS will follow; then Ms Bures and female professionals will share their professional experiences and careers with the audience. In the afternoon an important networking opportunity will be given to participants in a “speed-dating” where students will have the chance to talk with ITS experts.

ERTICO – ITS Europe and its Partners will welcome Congress attendees at their stand (D30) on the evening of 23 October with a cocktail. Join ERTICO and learn more about ERTICO Partnership and the opportunities provided by it.

On Wednesday night Congress participants are invited to the magnificent Hofburg Vienna for the Gala Dinner followed by the first ever ITS Ball. The organisers have also set up dance lessons for less confident dancers to be held in the Conservatory by the Elmayer Dance School.

For the first time in Europe business sessions have been organised on Tuesday late afternoon to give the opportunity to the industry players to share their views on specifics issue or their products and services. These  tailored made sessions  organised by one or more companies are open to all attendees of the Congress and will focus on the commercial and  promotion aspect of ITS products  and  services.

In addition to the official activities at the Congress the Austrian host has set up several trips to nearby locations such as Bratislava Salzburg and Prague. You can find out more on the Pre and Post Congress Tours session of the programme.

During the whole week of the Congress the ERTICO team will be updating sharing impressions commenting on everything happening at the Congress. Follow ERTICO on Twitter and tweet about the Congress and specific sessions or demonstrations using the hashtag ITSVienna

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Original Publication Date: Wed 30 May 2012