The 19th ITS World Congress under the theme “smarter on the way” drew to a close on Friday after five hectic yet productive days. Over five days over 300 exhibitors and 10000 participants from more than 90 countries worldwide attended this annual meeting point of transport executives from around the globe. Mrs Melinda Crane welcomed delegates to the auditorium summarising some of the key achievements of the week highlighting in particular the ministerial round table’s joint statement.

  • the momentum is unstoppable ITS is happening
  • There is a sense of excitement at this World Congress a threshold marking the transition to ITS deployment

The chief rapporteur Eric Sampson then took the stage to give the first report of the Congress. Read more here.

We began the congress with yet more commitment to deliver solutions to users. Vienna 2012 has succeeded where generations of mathematicians have failed: the Ministerial Round Table of 40+ Ministers senior officials and heads of International bodies was actually square.

Neelie Kroes Vice-President and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda then took the stage to deliver a key-note address.  Thanking all delegates for their contributions to making the Congress such a great success Commissioner Kroes noted that “we need smart solutions for transport: our economic and environmental future depends on it. Especially for road transport of all kinds: passenger and freight; short distance and long; urban and rural; four-wheelers two-wheelers eighteen-wheelers.”

Referring to the ever increasing challenges faced by transport authorities not to mention energy consumption and climate change Commissioner Kroes underlined that the need to boost the economy was also a vital consideration – and that “a big part of the transformation in the coming decades will come from new digital technology. The fact is new ICT technologies are changing everything. Every sector is getting online and using digital opportunities. Including transport…

Commissioner Kroes then identified three thoughts to keep in mind:

  1. eCall is a great step forward. Could be reality for all very soon saving 2000 lives a year.
  2. two thrids of Europeans live in urban areas – smarter means better greener more pleasant. “None of this is science-fiction. Indeed in many cases the ideas to power smart cities are already out there the technology is available: we just need to deploy those inventions on the ground.
  3. to bring about this transformation we need to continue to cooperate intensely. The cooperation between manufacturers road operators and road authorities in the “Amsterdam group” is a good example.

Finally Commissioner Kroes noted how transport will gain directly and indirectly from Horizon 2020 – “We will invest in smart green and integrated transport

Read the full speech here.

The third and final plenary session of the Congress then took place. Mrs Crane invited Hiroyuki Watanabe Chairman of ITS Japan and Ton Steenman Vice-President Intel Architecture Group onstage to tackle the subject “global connectivity revolution”.

Mrs Crane asked Mr Watanabe how ITS would transform individual lives. After graciously thanking the organisers for a successful Congress Mr Watanabe noted that “connectivity has been a core concept of ITS since the beginning 20 years ago.” He went on to explain that back then nobody would have wanted to pay over wireless for many reasons – trust reliability etc. Now people are in favour of the idea and this is a key change which enables ITS services.

Mr Watanabe also drew delegates’ attention to a key lesson from 2011 Great Japanese earthquake – “connected vehicles and people mean resilient transport.

Tom Steenman then spoke noting that US teenagers would now rather give up their car than internet – a huge societal change! He also underlined that we spend hours in our cars – and thus that connected vehicles will become ever more important. Mr Steenman noted that this would also bring challenges. Only relevant information should be shown to drivers eyes should be kept on the road so speech recognition or gesture control needs to be developed and security needs more attention.

Mr Steenman noted that “opportunities are the basis of business” asking who the main stakeholders in the global connectivity revolution are and who will most benefit?

Mr Watanabe then spoke identifying a wide range of stakeholders in the value chain. He also noted that it is hard to know how much a contribution individuals make in terms of ecodriving – connectivity can help here creating a virtual cycle – plus the cash benefits will also be shown directly!

Mr Watanabe explained that a truly networked society will help all – zero emissions and zero fatalities will become possible and interestingly the idea that citizens’ actions have societal impacts will increase to the benefit of society as a whole.

Mr Steenman was then asked how how the IT sector views the transport sector. He answered “as an opportunity and a challenge”. A tremendous amount of optimisation is possible with so much congestion in roads seaports etc – a better transport system is needed. Mr Steenman argued that many technologies and concepts – eg. cloud computing – will have huge impact and will bring great benefit to economies worldwide.

Eric Sampson chief rapporteur of the 19th ITS World Congress then took the stage to give out the best paper awards. Noting that over 800 papers had been received and that around 150 of these would be published in IET he underlined high quality of submissions. The winners of the best papers at ITS Vienna 2012 are:

  1. Sébastien Mure ERTICO – ITS EUROPE Technical “A guide for Pre-Commercial Procurement actors in ITS
  2. Mario Sattler via donau Technical “Opening governmental traffic management infrastructure for the mutual benefits of authorities and logistics – River Information Services in Europe
  3. Christopher Emmerson Newcastle University Scientific “In-Vehicle Navigation Systems and Older Drivers
  4. Akiyoshi Yamazaki Saitama Prefectural Police Technical “Development of the Pedestrian Priority Signal Systems (PPSS) and its effect
  5. Liang Xue The University of Tokyo Scientific “Global 3D Modelling and its Evaluation for Large-Scale Highway Tunnel using Laser Range Sensor
  6. Matthew Dorfman D’Artagnan Consulting Technical “Software as a Service and the growth of ITS
  7. Ismail Zohdy Virginia Tech Scientific “Optimizing Driverless Vehicles At Intersections

The winners of the 2012 ITS Video Competition were then honoured by Hermann Meyer ERTICO CEO. Over 50 videos had been submitted before an open vote produced a short list of eight videos in each category – “ITS community” and “general public” – which was then deliberated upon and judged by an committee of ITS experts. The finalists- three videos in each category – were then shown at the VIP dinner of the Congress and a final vote held.

The winners of the 2012 ITS Video Competition are:

The beauty of the competition is that we only have winners as we have raised the awareness of the benefits of ITS

Finally to wrap the 19th ITS World Congress up the traditional “passing of the globe” ceremony was held – see you in Tokyo 2013!

Link to original Article

Original Publication Date: Tue 06 Nov 2012