Today, the ITS European Congress began with a majestic Opening Ceremony  at the Dublin Convention Centre. Alan Kelly (Ireland’s Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport), Naoise Ó Muirí (Dublin’s Lord Mayor), Matthias Ruete (Director General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission), Jean Mesqui (ERTICO – ITS Europe Supervisory Board’s Chairman), Gerry Murphy (Ireland’s National Transport Authority CEO) and Fred Barry (Ireland’s National Roads Authority CEO) inaugurated the 9th edition of this European Congress. 

Speaking about the current priorities of the European Commission at the Opening Ceremony, Matthias Ruete said: “Interactive journey planners are fantastic tools if you need to get from A to B quickly. And there are a lot of such planners available in Europe. But there is not one yet that helps users plan a journey that involves several means of transport and more than one country. Here we can learn a great deal from the Irish “Hit the Road” project, the online multi-modal journey planner that serves the entire transport network in the greater Dublin area”.

The European Congress takes place every year with the exception only when a World Congress is hosted in a European city. For the next 3 days this event in Dublin will focus on 4 main topics: sustainable city regions, smarter travel; knowledge sharing; and competitiveness through innovation.

“The topic of competitiveness through innovation is perhaps the area where Ireland has the most to offer, we have shown what we can do, for example being the first in Europe to implement barrier free tolling for all vehicle types on the M50. Ireland provides the European headquarter for a host of global players in the social networking, internet and media arenas, we have the people on the ground here in Dublin and elsewhere in the country to create the energy to innovate and I expect to see a lot of new ideas emanate from Ireland”, Minister Alan Kelly said. 

Over 1,800 visitors are expected to gather in Dublin this week. The necessity to provide smarter and more sustainable mobility solutions which fit the real needs of Europe’s population will be at the heart of the 2013 congress being addressed at more than 100 Plenary, Executive, Special and Technical and Scientific Sessions The majority of the sessions will focus on issues very close to interests of cities and regions. Over 300 speakers will discuss how intelligent transport systems deployment can provide bright and practical solutions  for  Europe’s 700 million inhabitants. 

“This congress sets a landmark for ITS Congresses by achieving what it promises: real solutions for real needs. Intelligent transport systems fulfil users’ needs, provide jobs and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness” Jean Mesqui, Chairman of the ERTICO Supervisory Board stated.

Innovation will also be a key theme of the congress. For this purpose the investment in new technologies and research as well as the endorsement of new policies will be widely discussed. Standardisation and interoperability will  also be an central focus of the Congress.  In the discussion, multimodal travel and real-time traffic information will be an important part of the debate. All these topics will be addressed in many Special Interest Sessions.

“ITS is about making transport more efficient and more sustainable. Many of the best ITS ideas make simple but far reaching improvements to how our daily lives. A great example is Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI), which was first introduced in Ireland by Dublin City Council. It now helps literally millions of people all over the country to plan their journeys more effectively and so improves how public transport works”, said Dublin’s Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí.

The Dublin congress will provide an exceptional opportunity to visit some of Ireland’s most innovative examples of ITS deployment. Technical visits to the Dublin Port Tunnel, the IBM Technology Campus and the Dublin Traffic Control Centre as well as demonstrations of the T-Systems satellic tolling platform and ESB advanced electric vehicles will run over the full length of the congress.

The ITS European Congress takes place on 4-7 June at the Convention Centre in Dublin. Visitors and delegates can plan their schedule in advance tailored to their individual agenda and priorities thanks to the Congress mobile App, which is freely downloadable for both Android and iPhone. 

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