Closing Speech by Professor Eric Sampson
ERTICO Chief Rapporteur

You may be wondering how one person was able to attend 245 congress sessions a large exhibition and 33 separate demonstrations in order to deliver this report.  The answer is that I didn’t need to because I had huge help from a team of 20 reporter colleagues acting as my “eyes and ears” and collecting material for this presentation to you.  I want to thank them all very warmly and also my colleagues at ERTICO for their support and help.

We are almost at our 20th congress and I’m going to start my summary by looking back to Paris in 1994.  

In 1994 our subject was very young.  New technology was emerging but we didn’t think deeply about how we might actually use it or if it really worked reliably. The big issues were what might be available and when and what would it cost.  

These technologies led us into an era when we could deliver single function solutions such as navigation traveller information traffic management.  And we could do that well but users wanted something more.

For almost all the time since then we have benefitted from some radical technology changes. The prices of just about everything have gone down but the performance has gone up. Think about telecommunications – remember your first mobile phone? it cost the earth and would hardly fit into your car let alone your pocket. And now it comes with satellite navigation as a routine precision tool available at no cost. The computing power available to us has also gone up phenomenally while prices have fallen. And we have a large family of new sensors for temperature flow rates gas emissions feeding us with real-time information.  

The vehicles carrying our technology have also changed (and I am using vehicle in the broadest sense of cars ships aeroplanes buses trains trams). They are faster more comfortable stronger and safer with reduced emissions and reduced fuel consumption.  

Over the last five or so years we moved into an era where we have been able to join up our solutions to make systems: 

  • Navigation that listens to traffic management information and re-routes the traveller for the best journey 
  • Vehicles that don’t just know how to get to their destination but can advise on the most fuel-efficient route to take and driving style
  • Infrastructure that is smart and can warn vehicles of potential hazards such as collisions congestion or very bad weather and advise drivers what to do
  • Smart infrastructure that can give public transport and emergency vehicles priority in traffic and at junctions

We have entered a new world:

  • the world of intelligent
  • the world of adaptive predictive 
  • the world of smart

This isn’t abstract theory: it’s real. Proof of our current successes and ability to deliver better solutions for users has been displayed in over 800 papers presented at sessions. I’ll list just a few of the topics in papers that have excited our team of reporters 

  • Monitoring urban traffic and networks using mobile sensors
  • Traffic management for disasters or extreme conditions eg typhoons earthquakes
  • Use of social media
  • Predicting traffic accident occurrence 
  • Telecomms information security and resilience
  • ITS supporting mobility security and manageability  
  • Mobility for elderly and disabled people
  • Interoperability and multimodality for Freight and Logistics services 
  • ITS solutions that reduce on-site border waiting times
  • Human behaviour and human factors interventions utilising ITS
  • Advances in V-to-X cooperative systems
  • Deployment of cross-border eCall 
  • Deployment of connected vehicles in inner cities.  
  • Worldwide discussion and collaboration on trials of connected systems
  • Vehicle platooning especially the implications for commercial vehicles
  • Possible deployment of highly autonomous vehicles
  • Using ITS to modify driving for reduced energy fuel consumption and emissions  
  • Vehicle and infrastructure aspects of electromobility
  • Smart Grids and joining up the transport and energy communities  
  • Sustainability and emissions in cities and the links to well-being and health

I want to stress those words “solutions for users” because they sum up the vibrant and wide-ranging exhibition we all experienced.  I couldn’t help noticing as I walked round that the talk was not about bits or bytes or bandwidth or Bluetooth protocols.  It was about business – prices contracts delivery times. This exhibition wasn’t show-off technology but a confident display of solutions ready for users. And yesterday we had a different group of visitors – over 1700 members of the public schoolchildren students who came to look at what we can do. And we had some future customers for services who were brought in pushchairs and prams.

We have also shown what we can do in the congress demonstrations. These were real not video recorded safely in a laboratory. You could look closely touch and experience advances in solutions for safety the environment efficiency and comfort. Here are a few examples to remind you: 

  • Cooperative mobility
  • In-vehicle signs
  • Park-and-ride direction
  • Speed monitor
  • E-Mobility
  • Fully electric vehicles
  • Energy-saving routing
  • EV and public transport integration
  • Navigation and sensors
  • Tracking dangerous goods
  • Fully automated parking
  • Emergency braking
  • Network management & operations
  • Vehicle tolling
  • Integrated smart ticketing
  • The fully seamless journey
  • Public transport
  • Route optimisation
  • Flow management at large events
  • Congress navigator   

We began the congress with yet more commitment to deliver solutions to users. Vienna 2012 has succeeded where generations of mathematicians have failed: the Ministerial Round Table of 40+ Ministers senior officials and heads of International bodies was actually square. Its key outcome was unanimous political backing to accelerate the further and wider deployment of ITS for users everywhere.

So does this mean we have we solved all our transport problems − no of course not. ITS continues to move onwards and upwards.

We still don’t have a very good understanding of traveller behaviour and the ways in which we might change it and in particular we are not keeping up with people’s use of social media and social networks. And we’re still not doing the best we might to deliver genuinely seamless travel backed by through e-ticketing and e-payment.

The challenges now are multi-dimensional and by that I mean both doing two things at once – raising throughput AND cutting emissions – and supplying seamless travel services and through ticketing across regional and international boundaries.

Some of the biggest problems we face are in cities

  • In 2005 the world’s urban populations overtook rural and they are ageing
  • The proportion of the EU population living in urban areas is expected to rise from 75% now to 80% by 2030 
  • Adding to city infrastructure is slow expensive and usually unwelcome
  • In many cities there is no space to expand except ‘up’

We need to get a better understanding of the links between mobility and emissions in cities and the links to well-being and health of the population – and we need to deliver that in ways that are sustainable in the long term.         

In short we need smarter cities.

We’ll report on progress in these areas next year at Tokyo whose theme is: Open ITS to the Next 

Tokyo will present how ITS is expanding into the next stage of mobility and society. Starting with safety and traffic management as basic concerns ITS is reaching out to three new domains: 

  • energy management
  • personalised mobility services drawing knowledge for navigation from very large data sets 
  • and resilient transport systems.  

The first two stem from the emergence of electrified vehicles and continuously advancing ICT technologies. The third concept of resilient transport has become very important since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. At the same time mobility in mega cities/regions is a major issue to be addressed in emerging economies especially in Asia as I have described briefly.

Open has been adopted as the keyword for expanding the potential of ITS: open platforms for basic concerns and open connectivity opportunities and collaboration for the three new domains.

Tokyo will build on Vienna 2012 in the same way as we have benefitted from and built on Orlando 2011. I’m going to finish with my assessment of what might be the hottest 10 topics to watch for next year:

Connected vehicles

Connected vehicles offer a major opportunity to change transport. There are separate initiatives world-wide and serious discussions about the development of global standards and specifications. We also await results from the large Michigan trial. But there’s still many unresolved issues about the ultimate safety and security (in the sense of resilience against attack) of connected systems as well as the question of liability. And then there’s the ultimate connected vehicle – automation which is now openly discussed as a medium-term solution to human failings.


Single-solution products are declining as users prefer their services to talk to each other and exchange information. We are getting better at this and at creating bigger systems. However we still need to do more to integrate people modes and institutions as well as projects programs products and devices.


Another user-driven initiative. We would never accept a credit card that worked in the Netherlands but not Austria and we are now requiring our transport services to operate without interruption when we cross national or even international borders. For the freight industry these solutions are long overdue.

Smart Cities

This is the tough one – managing cities with strategies and policies that link together transport energy water and waste health land planning

Social media

I’ve mentioned that we are lagging in some aspects. The use of social intelligent incentives to reward good behaviour rather than penalising bad is an attractive solution and a way to catch up

Modernising our evaluation of benefits

We need more data on the evaluation of projects whether very successful or less so. And we need to develop ways to value ‘soft’ benefits such as time saved reduced disruption to a network reduced environmental impact. In some areas lack of benefits data is slowing the development of business cases and that slows deployment.


Everybody thinks fully- or partially-electric vehicles are a good idea but very few people make a clear case why. There is much to do here understanding the links between 

  • vehicle characteristics
  • driver behaviour
  • energy supply grids
  • the overall emissions patterns and costs
  • and then staging well-planned large scale trials to test our theories.  
  • cloud computing

Many see using the cloud as a means of limiting security risks and cutting costs but transport is all about mobility and mobile access to the cloud relies on telecoms services. It’s not yet clear that these are sufficiently resilient and secure especially for safety functions. 

A bigger role for smartphones

This is being driven by two factors: the increasing adoption of Open data policies by governments that have given raw material to hundreds of app developers; and the realisation that something millions of us carry is a nomadic communications channel to vehicles of every description except perhaps aircraft.

ITS for older drivers

We have barely started to explore how we can supply highly personalised services to help support an ageing population with safe and affordable mobility.

I am sure you’ll realise that some of the issues I have described would require some changes to the ways in which we work and travel. But I want to close by urging you not to worry about change. We have benefitted from much change since 1994. And as someone once said: if you do what you always did you’ll get what you’ve always got.

Link to original Article

Original Publication Date: Wed 31 Oct 2012