What do you think the challenges are that cities and in particular Vigo are facing nowadays in terms of transport and mobility? And what advice would you give to local administrations to improve citizen’s every-day mobility?

Vigo has around 300.000 inhabitants and a frenetic city life due to its diversified economy linked to the fisheries and automotive sectors and the naval industry and services. As a consequence every day the urban roads are populated with more than 500.000 people including a significant part of freight and logistics.

This growth of the urban planning is of course very positive for the city economy but it represents a challenge for the transport network management. In order to face these challenges the city council has deployed over the years a huge infrastructure for the control and management in real time of the traffic flow. The control room of the traffic management and control centre is equipped with 23 screens a video wall (to monitor the cameras in the city) and 3 synoptic panels to monitor the urban tunnels and the traffic light networks in the city. This control centre manages and controls traffic light networks; the 6 urban traffic tunnels; the access control of the historic part of the city; and the communications infrastructure.

I think that these concerns are shared by many other medium-sized cities and it is this kind of urban agglomerate that local administrations have to invest in now for the future. Investing in transport and mobility not only means improving the quality of life of citizens every day but also making the city more welcoming to external bodies and businesses. They all need information to make their driving safer less stressful and more energy efficient.

Vigo is one of the seven cities taking part in the EU Compass4D project. What is the advantage for Vigo to deploy cooperative systems for transport? Would you like to share your expertise and cooperate with other European cities?

In Vigo we are aware of the fantastic opportunity that Compass4D cooperative technologies can provide to improve safety and energy efficiency and reduce traffic congestion.  Vigo is a city very much related to the automotive business; we have very big factories and we are second in Europe with 500.000 cars produced every year. We have a very large harbour with ships for exporting cars and we are very much interested in the technology having also CTAG – the Automotive Technological Centre of Galicia – working every day on research development and innovation of traffic technologies for different automotive companies.

Also Vigo has invested a lot in new route systems; it is a city set on a mountain and having good roads that can assure safety to our citizens especially in dangerous turn is fundamental. I would say that the geographical structure of the city together with the efforts on regenerating traffic networks makes Vigo an excellent test site for development and testing of the three services (Forward Collision Warning; Red Light Violation Warning; Energy Efficient Intersection service) that the project will implement. I am confident that the Council of Vigo together with the team of local partners involved in the project such as CTAG VITRASA (the city bus company) and ESYCSA (the local traffic and communications provider) will play a fundamental role in achieving the project targets.

With this basis Vigo will certainly become one of the city leaders in cooperative systems we are working hard to create a smart city and we are very much in favour of sharing our experience also through Compass4D with the other Spanish cities as well as European ones. Let’s not forget that Compass4D is deploying services in seven cities very different from each other.

With the current financial crisis several industries are facing economic problems. Why do you think that entrepreneurs and administrations should invest in the automotive industry? Do you consider Intelligent Transport System an additional cost or a way to increase cost efficiency of urban mobility? 

In such a situation of global economic crisis like the current one administrations and large industries have to make a big effort bigger than if they were in a normal situation. Intelligent Transport Systems are an investment for the future for a better life of our citizens.

What type of policies that benefit cities do you think the EU should focus on? What more can be done at European level?

The EU has to create a strong link between national and regional administrations. We need a solid starting point and cooperation if we want to prove the benefits of European policies that citizens need.

Therefore an important part of the European Institutions work should focus on coordinating and well planning the future policies to invest in our future.


Link to original Article


Original Publication Date: Wed 21 Nov 2012