As the end of yet another remarkable year is approaching, it is time to take the opportunity and reflect on the challenges and successes that have come our way. 2021 will be remembered as a year of recovery and resilience. For one more year, the pandemic has dominated our lives and has made all aspects more complicated. As much as a demanding and challenging period it has been, it has had a transformative effect on every aspect of our lives and for mobility as well. As we move through and beyond the pandemic, everyone is witnessing the power of mobility. The continuing crisis has revealed that smart mobility holds the answer to many of the problems created by the pandemic, and again more intensely this year, we have witnessed the compounding effects of climate change that have led to many changes in ecosystems. It has never more clear that we should work together across all sectors and borders to meet global challenges.

As we move through and beyond the pandemic, the transport and logistics sector are currently overwhelmed by disruptive trends that promise a complete transformation of European and global mobility systems. Digitalisation of the transport sector has been accelerated, climate goals and action plans have gained a prominent place in the political agenda nearly everywhere, investment opportunities in the transportation sector are tremendous, new players have entered the market, disruptive technologies have changed the rules of the game. Automated and Connected Driving brings a fundamental paradigm shift – from human driver to autopilot concepts – while Mobility on Demand and MaaS open up a whole new world for industry and user-centric models in transportation bridging the public and the private sector and inviting innovation to flourish. And ERTICO has been a core enabler of these developments.

Even though the pandemic has made all aspects of our work more complicated, it hasn’t kept us from making stable and great steps towards our vision for the future, implementing and enriching in 2021, a vast array of activities towards the development, promotion, and deployment of ITS. In this challenging time, we kept our unique position within the transport ecosystem and succeeded in adding new valued members to the Partnership. Guided by a re-evaluation of our operations and services in the face of a new reality, ERTICO Partnership has managed to grow its network of stakeholders and activities, enriching its structures for knowledge exchange and training.

All of this can only be delivered thanks to the support and expertise of our Partners. This approach makes us the ideal enabler for the smart mobility solutions of the future, and it is exactly why I must thank ERTICO’s valued Partners. In a year filled with challenges, it is a testament to their professionalism, resilience and commitment that ERTICO has adapted and achieved so much. Looking ahead, we expect that 2022 will also see the development of ERTICO’s network of stakeholders in an effort to strengthen synergies across sectors and shape the debate in the smart mobility area.

With activities taking place in the frame of over 20 research, pilot, and innovation deployment project over this year, we have consequently succeeded in strengthening synergies across partners and sectors through various events, conferences, public demos, successful testing in pilot sites, events, twinning actions. Stakeholder workshops training sessions organised by the ERTICO ACADEMY have promoted knowledge exchange and experience sharing on key topics facilitating the uptake of e-mobility solutions.

During this year, we have also made great progress within the ambitious City Moonshot initiative that invites cities worldwide to participate in consultation interviews covering their smart mobility needs, challenges, and trends. The survey focuses on three core topics: data sharing, Mobility as a Service (MaaS), and policy priorities on sustainability and the role of transport. We have the first results from a total of 150 cities in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and Africa that highlight the progress made around the world to improve and implement MaaS in people’s daily lives.

Perhaps this year’s ITS World Congress has been the most eagerly anticipated. With the ERTICO’s team working in close collaboration with the Host City of Hamburg, health authorities, and through the implementation of a well-managed COVID protection plan, the ITS World Congress 2021 successfully went ahead in the background of a pandemic. This long-anticipated event brought together over 13,200 participants from 66 countries from Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific under the theme of Experience Future Mobility Now. We are all thankful to all who attended and proud of organising a successful event that brought us all face-to-face and together again.

ERTICO-ITS Europe and Toulouse Métropole will proudly host the ITS European Congress in Toulouse from 30 May to 1 June 2022. With the theme of Smart and Sustainable Mobility for all, the ITS European Congress Toulouse is already shaping up to be THE leading event for smarter mobility and transport solutions in 2022. I can’t wait to see you there!

On 1 January 2022, after five years in the role, Jacob Bangsgaard will end his tenure as CEO of ERTICO-ITS Europe. Jacob has served as CEO with outstanding competence. It has always been a pleasure working with him to enhance ERTICO’s vision. He has been a committed leader for ERTICO ITS Europe and empowered the voice of the organisation. I would like to convey a big thank you to him for all the work, dedication, and leadership that he has given. I look forward to welcoming Joost Vantomme as the new CEO as of January 2022.

Through this message, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our valued employees for their efforts throughout the year. On behalf of ERTICO, please allow me to extend my personal and genuine appreciation to each one of you for your valuable contribution to our shared vision. We hope and look forward to a more settled year to come, and we have a great deal of work ahead of us. Projecting ahead to 2022, the focus on societal challenges such as climate change, road fatalities and transport efficiency will be greater than ever.

The challenges are considerable, but by working with our Partners and the wider transport community and combining appropriate technologies with the right policies and business models, we can capitalise on the immense opportunities available. These are exciting times, and the world of transport is changing as we speak.

Having looked back on the year with a sense of accomplishment, we plan to return in the new year with cautious optimism and revived hope to find ourselves in a position to celebrate the end of the pandemic. Staying true to our values for smart, green, safe, efficient and digitalised mobility and placing Partnership at the very heart of our strategy, let’s continue to create new pathways for  better future and smarter societies. I wish you and your families a happy holiday season.

Written by Dr Angelos Amditis, ERTICO Chairman.