ERTICO held its annual Partnership event, the Think Tank, this year titled ‘From technology to sustainable deployment’ in the true spirit of innovation with Partners and invitees, discussing the challenges of sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMPS), the benefits of drones and the use of Micromobility in European cities. Elena Kountoura MEP (Transport Committee) and Mikael Nyberg, Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications both attended the event to present their views. This invigorating day of discussion featured a range of stakeholders from the transport industry including suppliers, vehicle and aerospace manufacturers, and policy makers.

Opening the event, Dr. Angelos Amditis, ERTICO Chairman said ‘It’s not only the demands of the individual user we should be considering,  but also the demands  of public authorities to ensure we not only make smart urban centres and cities, but a smarter society inspired with innovative technologies.’

Lily Christensen, Senior Partnerships Manager of what3words made the first keynote speech. This innovative company has created the technology that converts a GPS coordinate into a location marked with three words on a map. ‘This way of pin-pointing a location is much more relevant to citizens in a modern and changing world, when our streets often have the same name. By downloading the App, uniquely we can also locate climbers lost on a mountain.’

Next up on the agenda was the innovator Jef Staes, a regular on Ted Talks, who encouraged the audience to personally think 3D smart so that innovation or what he referred to ‘red monkey’ ideas in society can prevail and make a difference to environmental, political and technological challenges. Inspired by these two keynote speakers, the true work of the event began. The first panel discussion ‘Use of Urban Space and SUMPs’ was moderated by Piotr Rapacz, team leader for urban mobility from the European Commission and attended by representatives of ERTICO, from NaviParking, the Commune of Ixelles and the company e-trikala.  The panel discussion covered the challenges that included the lack of political will and vision for SUMPS. The panel agreed on the importance of citizen consultation to tackle problems and the necessity of acquiring data for the ‘who, when and how’ in alternative means of mobility in cities.


The next inspirational session was Urban Air Mobility, moderated by Stephanie Leonard, Strategic Business Development Manager of TomTom with panellists from Airbus, Huawei, Third Space Auto and theToulouse Métropole region. Thanks to an online interaction tool, the Think Tank audience indicated that they expected urban air mobility to be fully in existence by 2030, yet the panellists expressed caution underlining that it was imperative that the proper safety and security measures and regulations were in place before this happened. Arshia Gratiot, CEO Third Space was adamant that technologies need to be seamless and useful, only then will they become ‘relevant in the market place’. All panellists agreed that to regulate a new futuristic landscape with the presence of defence, logistics and recreational drones a new air authority needed to be introduced.

The morning closed with the introduction of ERTICO’s new match-making service dedicated to start-ups and ERTICO Partners. The three winners of the ERTICO Start-up Initiative pitched their solutions in front of the Partnership, who voted for the most disruptive product, granting a speaking slot to the German start-up Brighter AI at next year’s ITS European Congress in Lisbon. Brighter AI, City 4.0 and Monal Location Based Transactions will all be present with ERTICO at next year’s ITS European Congress.

In the afternoon panel discussion ‘Micromobility’ moderator Krista Huhtala-Jenks, Head of Ecosystem, MaaS Global and panellists from the City of Lisbon, Cycling Industries, Lime and Uber came together to stress the need for the creation of space in European cities and an offering of mobility choices that were simple and convenient for citizens in order to compete with car ownership. It was also essential, they agreed, to promote sustainability in the long term.

Opening the afternoon session, Mikael Nyberg, Director General (Networks Department) of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, provided an overview of the Ministry’s Digital Transport Services, Safe Automation, Carbon-free Transport and Data Economy. As European cities are leading the way towards intelligent, sustainable and smart cities, Mr. Nyber stressed the importance of digitalisation and technological development as key elements that can take cities to the next level, concluding with outlining the importance of development of data for more user-driven, cost-efficient and environment-friendly services.

Continuing the afternoon session, Elena Kountoura, MEP of the Transport Committee emphasised the importance of linking mobility to the three essentials of the EU’s urban mobility plan, including ensuring a balance between innovation and social inclusion, accessibility for specific groups of citizens and maximising the connection between tourism and transport.

The final panel of the day was ‘From technology to sustainable deployment’ moderated inspiringly by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director General of DG MOVE with panellists from ERTICO, the Joint Research Centre, MaaS Alliance and RACC. ‘It’s not only about technology: it’s also about cooperation, understanding, challenges and the exchange of ideas with service providers,’ said Johanna Tzanidaki, Director, Innovation and Deployment ERTICO.

Finally, Jacob Bangsgaard, ERTICO CEO said ‘ERTICO’s Think Tank is about bringing together our Partners, engaging in constructive dialogue to shape and innovate the mobility of tomorrow. This year we are particularly excited that the three winners of ERTICO’s Start-up Initiative could join us where they have had the real opportunity to discuss their own innovations with our partners.’

Pictures from the event are available on ERTICO’s Flickr account.