R Lindholm_001Through this interview, ERTICO’s Rasmus Lindholm describes the increasing engagement of Hungarian stakeholder in ICT and Transport:

  1. Could you please introduce ERTICO – ITS Europe and its Hungarian members?

ERTICO – ITS Europe gathers around 115 public and private stakeholders covering 8 sectors of the automotive world and working together in the deployment of intelligent transport systems (ITS). ITS has in fact a great potential to increase road safety, reduce emissions of polluting gases and build a more sustainable and efficient transport network. This is why ERTICO, together with its Partners, has established several activities working in this way; these include research and pilot projects, deployment platforms, interest groups and events, such as the ITS European and World Congresses.

The Hungarian company National Mobile Payment (NMP) joined the ERTICO Partnerhip last year, attracted by the prospects of our cross-sectorial and multi-activity collaboration. Back then, the Strategic Director of the company, Gábor Dávidházy, explained how their mobile payments services contribute to make public transport more appealing in Hungary. However, this service improves when it is combined with real-time parking information or a single ticketing system which grants access to different modes of transport (e.g. bus, metro, bike rentals). This is only possible through cooperation among different stakeholders.

Debrecen, Miskolc and the Public transport operator BKK in Budapest have recently indicated their interest in working with the ERTICO Partnership. In this respect, the Deputy Major Lajos Barcsa has highlighted the importance of ERTICO as a platform for international cooperation among cities. Sharing concerns and success stories with other local authorities worldwide would represent, as remarked by Mr Barcsa, an important resource to tackle common transport challenges.

  1. National Mobile Payment Plc. is going to be part of MOBiNET, what role will the company have in the project?

Imagine a big flea market of transport services in the cloud; that is roughly what MOBiNET is about. It is an ambitious project, which seeks to develop a mass market for intelligent mobility and transport services through an online platform where transport service providers, consumers and developers meet.

NMP recently joined this adventure, and is now fully engaged in developing the billing component together with SWARCO. In addition, through cooperation with the Italian pilot site Turin and the company PluService, NMP will add their parking service to the MOBiNET online platform. This will allow Hungarian tourists travelling to Italy by car to pay for the on-street parking in the ‘Bel Paese’ using their local NMP service.

  1. Preparations are already well under way for the upcoming ITS World Congress in Bordeaux. What are your expectations?

We are working at full speed to make the forthcoming ITS World Congress – which will take place in Bordeaux (5-9 October) – an event to remember for the ITS community. We have recently released the preliminary programme, which includes over 200 sessions, 30 live demonstrations, 8 technical visits and many social events.

Over the week, we expect about 10.000 visitors worldwide looking for opportunities to network, learn more about ITS and create business partnerships. 300 international companies will showcase their products and services in a 25,000sqm exhibition area and 3,500 delegates will have the opportunity to attend Plenary and Executive Sessions with global leaders, High-level technology Summits and associated events.

  1. You have visited Hungary several times. What are you professional and also personal impressions so far?

Debreceninagytemplom_légifotóThe Hungarian government approved last year a transport strategy for the period 2014-2020, which includes modernisation of public transport, low cost intermodal hubs and development of a vehicle manufacturing sector using green and innovative technologies. As this is in line with ERTICO’s objectives, my meetings with Hungarian stakeholders have been extremely fruitful. During my last visit at the beginning of June I visited both Debrecen and Miskolc Public Transport companies and saw that both are on the technology path for providing real-time information to their users.  At Miskolc, an intersection priority system was also implemented to ensure timely transport for the citizens.

I also had the pleasure to visit evopro, an electronic bus manufacturer with some very innovative ideas of how to include eBus into the transport system. Personally I believe that the eBus is here to stay. It provides several advantages and contributes to the Policy challenges of cities in reducing CO2 emissions, not to mention the possibility to provide night buses in the weekend without using the conventional diesel bus which makes a lot of noise.

Moreover, Hungary is a beautiful country: historical buildings, delicious food and welcoming people. I particular enjoyed the short visit to the Tokai region for a small taste of their great wines. It is always a pleasure to come on visit both for professional and personal reasons.

  1. Can you foresee further collaboration with National Mobile Payment Plc. and the other Hungarian partners?

Cities nowadays tend to move towards an integrated approach to Mobility. Because of the huge mobility challenges related to the technology push, especially from the generalisation of the smart phone and the usage of apps, the city councils are taking a completely new approach. They need to deal with parking shortage, congestion and environmental issues in a time where recourses are scarce.

NMP has gained the experience needed to solve some of these issues. By its engagement in the MOBiNET project and their interest in the ‘Mobility as a Service’ concept, NMP has the potential to become a role model to other stakeholders in Europe. I have already heard that other ERTICO Partners are interested in talking to NMP to learn about their success stories in Hungary.

I’m confident, based on Hungarian actors’ engagement in the European Community and different pilot projects, that Hungarian expertise in ITS will become more widely known and appreciated. This also concerns companies such as evopro, which could expand their market in Europe.


*Parts of this interview were originally released by the Hungarian publication Napi Gazdasag

*Picture: Wikimedia Commons