This year’s edition of Busworld Europe, one of the biggest events in the industry worldwide focusing on urban buses, school buses, coaches and demand-responsive transport, was held at the Brussels expo last week. Over 35,000+ visitors from 123 countries attended the event to exchange knowledge and showcase the latest innovations and trends. On this occasion, ERTICO had the great pleasure to co-host the Digital Mobility Solutions Conference held on Wednesday 11 October together with Busworld Foundation, ITxPT and Espaces Mobilités. With over 80 leading bus manufacturers showcasing electrification and smart energy systems in the exhibition, the Conference focused on matching digital mobility solutions with bus and coach operations, facilitating a smarter and more sustainable mobility landscape.

The Digital Mobility Solutions was opened by Jan De Man, Managing Director of Busworld Foundation and Redgy Deschacht, President, of Busworld Foundation. Dr Axel Volkery from the European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport set the setting with regards to the EU policy on transport and mobility, the regulatory frameworks and the policy priorities of the EU. Mr Joost Vantomme, ERTICO CEO, also presented the work of ERTICO and its vision of bridging the gaps between the different modes of transport during the opening. He touched upon the work of the ERTICO partnership on integrating the different modes of transport, autonomous driving and electrification and raised the point of the importance of data and data-driven mobility for a more sustainable future. In his opening remarks, Mr Vantomme also highlighted the important role of buses and coaches in the European setting of the Green Deal, Urban Mobility and ITS/data. He discussed the fragmented regulatory policy agenda with regard to automated vehicles, the need to update traffic rules, user trust and acceptance, the role of buses and coaches on space allocation in urban centres, as well as the industrial challenges that manufacturers are called to cope with.

Dr Johanna Tzanidaki, ERTICO Chief Innovation Officer, who moderated the panel discussion on ‘Digital Operational Excellence via Telematics‘, discussed how telematics are key to the digitalisation of transport and how their use in buses, mainly public transport, supports remote diagnostics, condition monitoring and operational monitoring, including asset management. The interesting dialogue that took place among the panellists and the audience also highlighted how traffic management can help the mobility system integration and the dynamic prioritisation of modes, and in this case public transport buses, following the priorities and wishes of the public authorities (Mobility Network Management), and how ITS and telematics are important in the optimisation of batteries and depot charging (sustainable mobility). The panellists agreed that cooperation and a win-win-win among all stakeholders (operational, strategic and tactical) is a must, and they identified the following challenges for the future when implementing their vision in mobility:

  • interoperability and standards
  • ecosystem and win-win-win business models
  • clear balancing of the prioritisation of modes (balancing interests on the road network)
  • enabling zero-carbon fleets in public transport

Among the panellists during this Session on Excellence via Telematics organised by ERTICO on the occasion of the Busworld Conference Wednesday 11 October, were Daimler Trucks (Philip Janouch), Hitachi Zero Carbon (Mike Nugent), Siemens e-Mobility (Smaran Subbaiah), ZF (frank Felten) and ERTICO members, Technolution (Jop Spoelstra) and Swarco (Alberto Bellini).

In the second part of the Conference, Mr Vantomme delivered a keynote on ‘Digital Mobility Solutions for Bus & Coach Operations’. He highlighted the European and national landscape for automated driving and smart/sustainable mobility. The discussion focused on the implementation of ADAS over automated driving towards autonomous bus services. This session also brought forward testimonials from the first deployment of autonomous buses on public roads, seen through the eyes of the PTA & PTO, the bus manufacturer and the technology providers.