On Tuesday 12 October 2021, as a part of the ITS World Congress 2021 under the banner ‘Experience Future Mobility Now’, the ITS Summit brought together 70 Ministers, Mayors, Industry Leaders and senior representatives of national and local governments from over 20 countries and states to review how intelligent and green mobility can contribute to sustainable growth and a better environment for all citizens. The participants enjoyed this first opportunity since the Singapore ITS World Congress in 2019 to meet their global counterparts face-to-face to align on common transport challenges and possible solutions. They also looked at emerging issues where a global partnership on research could benefit all parties.

The Summit provided a valuable opportunity for senior Government and Industry Leaders from countries worldwide to discuss experiences and strategies related to the application of transport technology and review how to best enhance people’s daily lives through seamless, smart and sustainable mobility solutions. Opening the ITS Summit, Senator for Transport and Mobility Transition, Anjes Tjarks, said, ‘We live in a globalised world. In no other city is this more evident than in Hamburg. With the port as a gateway to the world and as a European hub for rail transport, it is clear that we can only overcome future mobility challenges together. This is why we need close collaboration between municipalities and states as well as on an international level. We cannot accomplish the mobility transition or overcome the climate crisis on our own. Instead, we want to improve the quality of life and mobility for people everywhere by promoting the development and implementation of smart and climate-friendly technologies. Hamburg is a digital model city and provides real-world conditions for these technologies. We develop and test the future here so we can share our findings and solutions with others. Ultimately, policies are good if they’re specific and effective. In Hamburg, we want to turn many theoretical ideas into practical policy.’

The overall aim of the ITS Summit was to encourage cross-sector discussion on transport concerns and priorities. This year’s ITS Summit focused on reaching conclusions on five prevalent challenges that include modal shift, public acceptance, avoiding regional stand-alone solutions, market dynamics and regulations, and coping with increasing city logistics. Delegates shared experiences of ITS solutions and services ready to support these themes and identified areas where solutions are incomplete, more fundamental research is needed to enable progress, or more trials and demonstration projects would be beneficial. The ITS Summit concluded that the deployment of ITS could reduce congestion, emissions, and energy consumption while enhancing safety and mobility for people and freight. However, the knowledge of how to do this is not evenly spread across countries and regions.

ITS has given resilience and alternative solutions to mobility services.

Until today, solutions have helped the industry survive the pandemic, and it has also been a catalyst for digitalisation. However, there is still more to be discussed about the best way to integrate freight and passenger movements in cities even though the ITS World Congress in Hamburg saw the strongest freight elements in any Congresses so far. 

Furthermore, sustainable mobility and modal shift goals have to be designed into policies and procurements from the start. Adding these could increase costs and performance risks. Improving public acceptance of policies is helped by city/public/supplier collaboration before procurement specifications are set. Since many cities seem unaware of what has been done and work elsewhere, duplication is slow and costly. Thus, more work is needed to publicise what is known; this is essential to counter skills shortages.

The Summit also concluded that there is a need to develop more open ‘platforms’ in which specialist applications can run in interoperable environments with more use of ‘data spaces’. Innovatory services are too often seen as a threat by regulators, focusing on partnership. However, proposers of innovatory services need to remember that transport infrastructure is designed for very long life, and the public sector needs to protect this investment. There was strong support for ‘innovation sandboxes’ as a mechanism to develop a partnership approach at the earliest stages.

Although there was an explicit endorsement of the value of standards, regional standards still need to be extended to the national level and national standards that need to be raised to a global level. Cities need to be more involved in the standards-setting processes. The three Regional Organisations were urged to work with public and private sector stakeholders to publish “State of the Art” documents describing ITS implementations.

The Summit participants summarised the discussion by stating that they are keen to continue working together to address city mobility challenges by deploying efficient and sustainable ITS solutions and thanked the City of Hamburg and ERTICO- ITS Europe for organising the event. The participants of the ITS Summit were keen to ensure that these conclusions continue to be a motivating factor for the organisers of the Los Angeles ITS World Congress 2022.

Read all information about the ITS World Congress here.

Further information and images can be found in our press area

Watch the highlight videos on the ITS Congresses YouTube channel and interviews and podcasts “talkFUTURE! The Hamburg mobility talk” on the ITS Hamburg 2021 YouTube channel.