As the end of the year draws near, it is my pleasure to share some reflections and highlights from an extremely busy year for ERTICO. 2022 has been a demanding yet remarkable period filled with a multitude of challenges and victories. While transportation in Europe is being transformed by an ambitious political agenda and strong policy will, at the same time, Europe needs to act immediately to address the evolving energy crisis and issues of geopolitical instability that affect every aspect of economic activity. In this setting, it becomes more essential than ever to maintain a shared vision for the mobility sector in Europe and speak with a single voice, addressing the increasing need for innovation.

Facing these emerging challenges, ERTICO has maintained its leading role in the mobility sector, bringing innovation and experience under one roof. Diverse activities across the EU-funded projects and innovation platforms have once again proved cooperation and synergy among the public and private sectors, which is key to the future of mobility. More accessible transport, multimodal mobility, digitalisation and automation, but also green, sustainable and user-centric mobility is what we have all agreed to work for together.

We embarked on this year by welcoming the new CEO, Mr Joost Vantomme, whose expertise and passion have been invaluable in navigating several challenging aspects of the sector. Throughout the year, connecting the dots has been key to ERTICO: working across all requirements to ensure strong linkages and partnerships between all stakeholders in intelligent transport systems.

From early in the year, we saw ERTICO Partnership increasing in numbers. Throughout the year, we welcomed ten new partners: SAENA, Mercedes-Benz, Brisa, RHOE, ITS Global, SAE International, City of Maastricht, Monotch, Microsoft, and Google Cloud – all of which are dedicated leaders in the mobility arena. Partners are at the heart of our work, and it is with them that the pace and extent of digital transformation in the transport industry are getting even more traction. We also updated our Roadmaps for 2035 to support our Partners as they develop safe, accessible, inclusive, smart, resilient and zero-emission mobility solutions. In addition to the ongoing dialogue with the European Commission, we continued strengthening our cooperation with authorities across the globe, including–discussions with China and the U.S. on the common ICV roadmaps for Connected and Automated Mobility. We also initiated new collaborations through mutual agreements: A strategic partnership to collaborate on mobility and research-related topics with the International Road Federation (IRF)  in Geneva early in the year and, most recently, a Memorandum of Intent with the European Space Agency and TISA. I should also mention the newly launched innovation platform, the European Automated Valet Parking (EAVP), and I could not miss the ERTICO City Moonshot initiative that has marked great progress in the second phase of interviewing 300 cities worldwide.

Establishing connections and broadening our network with other influential Forums was a key priority, and in particular, the Forum of Platforms is the product of a new initiative that connects horizontally 17 other European associations, focusing on common challenges. Following the increasing activities in the European data economy, building a mobility data ecosystem has been brought to the forefront of our discussions and emerged as a key priority for us going forward. In this direction, we decided to strengthen our role and position through the management of the Data for Road Safety (DFRS) ecosystem and a series of new European-funded projects.

To enable a shared vision, the ERTICO Partnership team organised Round Tables and Deep Dives on topics including Mobility Data Platforms and AI in Traffic Management under the auspices of the ERTICO Strategy Committee. We also relaunched the ‘FOCUS ON‘ series of Partnership events at the end of this year. With activities taking place in the frame of over 20 research, pilot, and innovation deployment projects over this year and through various events, conferences, public demos, successful testing in pilot sites, events, twinning actions, etc., we have consequently succeeded in strengthening synergies across partners and sectors.

Once again, the ITS Congresses have been a precious tool for advancing cross-sectoral cooperation. During the ITS European Congress 2022 in Toulouse (30 May – 1 June), close to 3,000 participants from 51 countries joined to experience the future of smart and sustainable mobility. The 28th ITS World Congress took place in Los Angeles in September to keep pace with the incredible evolution of the industry and explored the theme ‘Transformation by Transportation’ showcasing solutions that improve mobility, save lives, promote sustainability and increase efficiency through over 400 hours of discussions, demonstrations and networking attended by more than 6,000 industry professionals from 64 countries. Looking ahead towards 2023, the 15th ITS European Congress will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 22-24 May 2023 under the theme ‘ITS: The Game Changer’. This event will highlight how ITS and smart mobility is changing the world around us, and I am greatly looking forward to taking part in the host city’s latest achievements, linking to Lisbon’s evolving vision and strategy for mobility.

The year to come will still be challenging, but we intend to continue acting as a catalyst across Europe and beyond by leading innovation and deployment and creating a new mobility wave across cities, sharing knowledge and best practices and bringing them all the benefits of ITS solutions. And this is evident in our growth activities. Projecting ahead to 2023, the focus on societal challenges will be greater than ever. In the future, we expect the ways transport is managed will change accordingly as transport decision-makers increasingly set environmental targets, transport policies will link more directly to urban and rural demographic changes, Automated Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will be the norm, 5G/6G enablers and automation deployment will modernize freight and logistics. Implementation of smart logistics services will be supported by a trusted and interoperable EU-wide data platform. Developing clean electromobility will be the primary building block for urban logistics. Cooperation between the European Ministries of Transport, the European Commission’s Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) will be vital.

Looking at 2023, we will see further development of ERTICO’s network of stakeholders, and our cross-sector public-private approach -one of our biggest strengths- will allow us to work closely with our Partners and the wider transport community to capitalise on the immense opportunities.

Reflecting on the last year and our progress allows me to extend my personal and genuine appreciation to each one of you for your valuable contribution to our shared vision. On our way to creating new pathways for smarter societies, we have a great deal of exciting work ahead of us. Hoping for a more settled year to come, I wish you and your families a happy holiday season!