Last Thursday, 7 December 2023, ERTICO – ITS Europe welcomed its Partnership and close collaboration associates to London, UK, for the final edition of its ‘Focus On’ Partnership event of the year, organised in close collaboration with the Transport Technology Forum (TTF).      

“We are delighted to see so many of our ERTICO members and close cooperation partners present to engage in the discussions, contributing with essential ingredients to craft the recipe for shaping the future of mobility,” introduced Joost Vantomme, CEO of ERTICO. “In this edition, we ‘connect the dots’ in the field of micromobility with many flavours to ‘cook the meal’, ranging from traditional to new modes on one or two wheelers”.  

In his presentation, Mr Vantomme emphasised three focal points: Policies, Infrastructures and Technology. He highlighted the role and need for clearer policies at various levels, as well as the role of technology, data and more broadly, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), including testing ideas and innovations in practice which mirrors the discussion on allocation of space management in urban areas. Leveraging data sharing is also important to further explore digital twins, like for automated vehicles. Incentivised investment was another key component during his presentation, emphasising providing opportunities and benefits for European and UK companies to be the motor of production. Road safety is one main pillar throughout these dialogues. His final point linked all elements through a shared data mobility space, mentioning some of the key challenges, including the organisation of dialogues and governance, space management and integration in the multimodal digital services. As Vice-President of the MaaS Alliance, Mr Vantomme highlighted the role of micromobility in a one-stop-shop-single journey, called Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). He also addressed the opportunities for synchronising diverse transport modes effectively, and the significant opportunity for transformative impacts in the mobility landscape. All transport modes and all transport vehicles have their place in the mobility mix. A well-balanced synchronisation of who, what, when, where and how to use them can do magic. These topics will also be of relevance to further explore during the upcoming ITS World Congress in Dubai, taking place from 16 – 20 September 2024.   

Master of Ceremonies of the day, Agne Vaitekenaite, ERTICO Senior Partnership & Marketing Officer, welcomed Professor Eric Sampson, CBE, as a key speaker. Professor Sampson, underlined how micromobility can provide solutions for urban mobility balancing the use of existing infrastructure, promoting the use of more sustainable technologies and succeeding in attaining a modal shift. Following the welcoming speeches, the first panel on ‘Micromobility Debate: Setting the Scene’, was moderated by John Paddington, ERTICO Senior Manager Urban and Clean Mobility. The panellists, Iqbal Ahmed, Senior Policy Manager at RideDott, Michael Barratt MBE, Construction Advisory & Innovations Manager at Transport for London, and Mike Guerin, Head of Business Development at SWARCO, highlighted the challenges of merging business and policy in deploying micromobility. Starting from different points of view, the speakers agreed on some common factors, including sustainability of businesses, accessibility, and demographic differences. Interoperability is one of the main targets for all actors involved.     

The following discussion delved into ‘Infrastructure and the technology requirements’, led by Mrs Ruth Anderson, iHub Future of Mobility & Placemaking, I&R at Oxfordshire County Council. Svenja Hainz, Delegate for the German Aerospace Center in Brussels at DLR, Andrew Winder, Senior Manager Urban & Clean Mobility at ERTICO – ITS Europe and Christopher PAPAIOANNOU, Data Analyst & Transport Modeller at PTV Group, discussed how data collection is fundamental to planning and deploying the best solutions, and to meeting the necessities of the large variety of urban mobility users. Also discussed, was ERTICO’s work under EU-funded projects that supports finding the right way to tackle the obstacles that micromobility has to face (eCharge4Drivers and SOLUTIONSplus project results were discussed). 

Participants joined breakout sessions where the ERTICO initiative, City Moonshot, and innovation project, SOLUTIONSplus, were presented in more detail, while SWARCO had the opportunity to demonstrate the virtual reality of its latest product, ‘Go Green’. These sessions aimed to demonstrate how the panel discussions held beforehand come from real situations in different urban environments. Lidia Buenavida Peña, Innovation & Deployment Manager at ERTICO, presented preliminary results from the City Moonshot initiative on Sustainability and MaaS related to micromobility, drawing on the comprehensive study of 190 interviews with cities and regions. She confirmed that data, both from users and mobility managers, as well as road authorities, are fundamental to serving cities’ needs, allowing them to face their challenges. SOLUTIONSplus demonstrated that, by engaging with different actors and different realities, it is possible to create the right framework for sustainable urban mobility. The third breakout session showcased SWARCO’s ‘GoGreen’ Virtual Reality demonstration, presented by Rory Abraham, Bid and Innovation Manager. During the experience, participants were placed in a city control room to learn and understand how SWARCO’s solutions address traffic, air pollution, congestion, and micro-mobility for a more sustainable city environment.    

Dr Johanna Tzanidaki, ERTICO Chief Innovation Officer, steered the last panel, ‘Needs and requirements in policy decisions. Joined by ERTICO CEO, Mr Vantomme, Paula Claytonsmith, Chief Executive at Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG), Max Sugarman, CEO at ITS UK, and Lauha Fried, Policy Director at Cycling Industries Europe (CIE), the session explored key roles for legislators to address market gaps, ensure compliance, and impulse makers, like institutions and investors. The dialogue centred around the fact that the absence of a regulatory framework for safe micromobility use, charging, and parking could be detrimental to a harmonised European approach to enhancing micromobility. Recent political developments, such as the recent European Cycling Declaration and the Paris Referendum, supporting a ban on shared electric scooters, were also part of the conversation, along with the UK’s regulatory approach and trials for such vehicles.  The ITS UK Manifesto currently under preparation as well as the EU Declaration on Cycling of the 4th October, were analysed. “It is important to have evidence-based discussions and as a result evidence-based policy recommendations when it comes to the topic of micromobility. It is not the panacea, but it is definitely the ingredient to a sustainable and viable future,” says Dr. Tzanidaki. 

Professor Eric Sampson, CBE, closing the event, stated that some issues are already being recognised and addressed, as demonstrated by the fact that events, such as this one, are taking place. He also emphasised that much more has to be done from a regulatory perspective, while attention should be paid to enhancing the accessibility to micromobility and satisfaction of user needs. More testing and technology developments should take place so that the added value of micromobility becomes an indisputable fact. His closing sentence: “Do more and do it faster!” eloquently wrapped up the event.  

The synchronisation of diverse transport modes will also be of relevance to further explore during the upcoming ITS World Congress in Dubai, taking place from 16 – 20 September 2024.  

Next year will mark a new start of ERTICO’s ‘Focus On’ Partnership event series.