On 15 October, mobility players from the EU and China came together virtually in a Mobility Management Meeting to discuss the successes and challenges in their regions and the sector, as well as the future for the industry. Speakers demonstrated that the need for greener mobility and smarter cities is clearly an ambition for both regions. The webinar also revealed that the EU and China both share similar ambitions, solutions and strategies to reach the target of greater sustainability and smarter societies.

With 300 participants from around the world in attendance, the meeting was opened by Claire Depre, Head of Unit of European Commission’s DG MOVE with European and Chinese speakers making alternating contributions on behalf of industry and research sector. Ms Depre underlined the importance of creating mutual understanding about the two regions’ needs and priorities. She stressed the importance of sustainability in the EU’s strategy and pointed out how the EU, by using policy and strategy, aims to align the work of mobility stakeholders towards creating an integrated ecosystem of transport. Nina GUAN, Director of the International Cooperation Department of China Highway Transportation Society explained how the MMM series of seminars was a joint initiative by the China Highway and Transportation Society and TRB, and thanked the co-organisers of this webinar  on Smart Cities and Green Mobility: CHTS, ERTICO and Southeast University of China.

Road transport has a significant impact on human safety and the environment in both Europe and China.  Every year in Europe there are 25,000 deaths as well as 1 million injuries due to road traffic accidents. Road transport is also one of the main sources of pollution in the region. The European Green Deal is Europe’s plan to re-set the trends on safety and environmental pollution caused by road transport and the catalyst to make its Member States become more digitalised and at the same time meet their green priorities.

Technology is developing at a fast pace and innovations such as automated mobility and smart traffic management will contribute to make transport more efficient and cleaner.  The introduction of more connected and automated vehicles (CAVS) will allow communication with surrounding vehicles and infrastructure through the use of smart sensors and connectivity technologies and there is a hope that road capacity will be easier to control. The Green Deal envisages that priorities and targets should be followed by all mobility stakeholders involved in both the public and private sectors.

Dr. Biagio Ciuffo from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, presenting said ‘however, just to increase road capacity does not solve the problem of traffic circulation. We have to manage the demand and the supply and treat road transport like we treat other transport modes respecting capacity and regulating access accordingly. This manager/orchestrator (who would regulate access to the road network like we currently do with airplanes and trains) can either be an external actor or an external platform that distributes traffic. The ultimate aim is to ensure we satisfy demand in mobility, but that at the same time respect green priorities.’

Dr. Angelos Amditis, ERTICO Chairman, explained that ‘It is not smart cities we should be building, but smart societies.  A smart society successfully harnesses the potential of digital technology and connected devices and the use of digital networks to improve people’s lives. Integration of transport modes, today’s different concepts such as CCAM, MaaS, Green Mobility and disruptive technologies (AI, IoT, 5G, Blockchain) can create an integrated digitalized transport system. Integration everywhere and at all levels; the Internet of Mobility stands as the main pillar of future-smart societies. ‘

He continued by stating that ‘Urban transport has to be able to make our environment more liveable and enhance the quality of life. People and their needs should be the priority. And we need to consider how we deliver and provide for society for the short term and the current crisis, the mid-term and the longer term. At ERTICO we have a vision for 2030, and expect to see automated vehicles (SAE L3 & L4 functions) on the road, new types of vehicles integration e.g. evolution of drones and scooters (mainly electrified), on demand mobility services – MaaS as well as decreasing vehicle ownership, where users buy into mobility services not vehicles.’

Dr Amditis also highlighted the important role that ERTICO plays in international cooperation and bringing external actors together. ‘An integrated and holistic approach to the mobility of people and goods is crucial. ERTICO is in a unique position to do this due to the nature of its eight sector partnership and the knowledge that its 120 partners have at their disposal.’

Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki, Director of Innovation and Deployment at ERTICO said ‘At ERTICO we work on innovation that will help us deliver the mobility system of tomorrow. This happens only when there is cooperation between private and the public stakeholders in mobility. This must be built on trust, understanding and respecting each other’s priorities and needs. What is coming and is almost here, is a multimodal, automated mobility system that caters for legacy vehicles and a variety of modes that need to be optimally combined to take us from A to B while at the same time keeping the mobility system agile and the service seamless for the user. It has to be smart and it definitely has to be green.’ She explained that ERTICO, through its Innovation Platforms of TM 2.0 and MaaS Alliance, works on setting governance and business models that are based on the win-win-win and on the principles of trust and co-opetition (the cooperation of competing market players agreeing to support objectives for the common good established by public authorities).

Laura Coconea on behalf of SWARCO, revealed how with the innovation called ‘My City Platform’ SWARCO aims to make cities more liveable, improving  users’ quality of life and at the same time helping public authorities adhere to their objectives. The solution assists in managing traffic in the city based on data and facts revealed through the use of mobility services.

The Chinese character for transport unites two meanings ‘connection’ and ‘going through’ – creating connections delivers the possibilities for going through. Together and with effective collaboration and knowledge-share, both regions can move forward to meet similar goals on green mobility and with the ambition of creating smarter cities and societies. ERTICO is working towards aligning with the other regions globally on ITS innovation and developments. This webinar was one step further towards ensuring the dialogue between EU and China continues.

交, Jiao means connection and 通Tong means going through