On 1 January 2022, after five years in the role, Jacob Bangsgaard will end his tenure as CEO of ERTICO-ITS Europe. His commitment to ERTICO goes back 20 years. He has been a Project manager, Director, Partner, Supervisory Board Member and finally CEO. This long-term commitment and knowledge of ERTICO have enabled him to lead the organisation to the strategic position it currently plays in the mobility sector. Today, we take a look back at his legacy and the achievements of ERTICO made under his leadership including the development of the ERTICO Academy, the City Moonshot and the Start-Up Initiative.

Back in 2017 when he joined as CEO, he brought to the role 25 years’ experience in transport, not only in ERTICO but in positions held at the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and in the European Commission.  Through this past experience, he understood the importance of a public-private partnership organisation that could act as a facilitator for innovation in the mobility sector, and as a platform for bringing stakeholders together. From the more established manufacturer to a smaller and younger start-up, to each user of every potential ITS solution, he believes that each stakeholder has a unique voice in the ITS discussion. It is in the context of his lead that ERTICO’s mantra ‘we are better together’ was born.

It is no surprise then that Jacob has sought to widen the Partnership to look for strategic Partners, such as Uber, Google, but also to continue to seek out smaller, but dynamic Partners such as Ubiwhere, looking for a broad voice of opinions and experience. Pre-COVID, Jacob facilitated the re-launch of the annual Think Tank event, which gave Partners the possibility to re-write thinking on topics that challenge the mobility industry – more than 50% of Partners attended these events and we’re grateful for the context they gave. Despite COVID and even in the current challenging business environment, the platform that ERTICO offers, and that Jacob has had a role in developing, is more important than ever.  This is proven by the record number of Partners that joined the ERTICO Partnership in 2020-2021.

ERTICO represents ITS as a voice in the EMEA region, but Jacob quickly recognised that Partners can benefit from looking across borders, gaining insights into ITS deployment and the progress made by other countries. As part of this drive to foster international cooperation between Partners in Europe and in other regions, Partner delegations went to Kazan, Russia; Beijing and Shanghai in China; and San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the US in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

It is difficult for me to select one stand-out memory in the last 20 years, but among the top three would be on a business trip to Dalian in China with experts from Siemens to help them close a contract with the traffic police on a traffic management system.  I was very proud of ERTICO in that moment. It made me realise how technologies that together we have been working on for years in ERTICO could be implemented by our Partners with our support all the way to China!’ says Jacob.

The heart of ERTICO’s work in pushing forward smart mobility is carried out through its projects within the four focus areas of Connected and Automated Driving, Transport and Logistics, Urban Mobility and Clean Mobility. His first task in 2017 was to develop ERTICO’s vision for 2030 and together with the Innovation and Development team, Jacob has prioritised Sustainability, Digitalisation and Efficiency as key drivers for ERTICO’s work. More lately this has meant working closely and in parallel with the goals of the European Commission’s Green Deal, encouraging ERTICO projects directed at increasing areas of importance such as digitalisation in transport and logistics and innovations in automation and the improved exchange of transport data as well as pre-market trials in projects such as high-density truck platooning.

Thanks to the expertise of the ERTICO team and network of 120 Partners, ERTICO is well placed to bridge the knowledge gap for the deployment of smart mobility solutions. It was Jacob’s ambition to share this knowledge with the ITS Community and in particular public authorities. At the European Congress in Eindhoven in 2019, the ERTICO Academy was launched, which offers specialised training given by ERTICO’s experts and Partners, with customised modules depending on the level and needs of users.

Jacob has long recognised European cities as fundamental in the quest for reaching sustainable mobility goals. It was under his guidance and support that the ERTICO City Moonshot Initiative was launched in 2020. So far the initiative has been an amazing experience of learning for both ERTICO and the 300 cities that have participated, understanding their needs through in-depth, impactful and individual interviews related to the latest mobility issues and solutions such as climate change, data access and sharing, and Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

‘Start-ups, with their creativity and adaptability, have the potential and knowledge to help us bring new solutions for tomorrow’s journey and they are essential for the future of the European economy,’ said Jacob as he launched ERTICO’s match-making service entirely dedicated to European start-ups at the ITS European Congress in Eindhoven.  With the motto Connect, Innovate, Grow, the Start-up Initiative grants start-ups the opportunity to exclusive mentoring within the ERTICO Partnership and offers a range of possibilities for knowledge exchange between larger and well-established businesses in the Partnership and these smaller more agile companies.

During Jacob’s tenure, he has also sought to raise ERTICO’s profile within the mobility ecosystem. A key element of this has been the organisation’s re-branding with a visual identity that incorporates innovation into the ERTICO star, in place since the organisation was first set up in 1994. This has led to greater recognition and greater visual appeal in corporate communication information material and branding at events.

One of the most high-profile events in ERTICO’s Calendar is the ITS Congress, organised by ERTICO and host cities in collaboration with ITS Asia Pacific and ITS America. Jacob first experienced an ITS World Congress in Turin in 2000 and he has since participated in more than 20 regional and global ITS Congresses with great enthusiasm as a vibrant high-level speaker and moderator.

‘Another strong candidate in my top three stand-out memories is when ERTICO had the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress in 2018 in my home country Denmark. I was very honoured to welcome the Danish Crown Prince to our event. It made me very proud to showcase state-of-the-art ITS solutions from ERTICO and our Partners to old colleagues and friends in Denmark.’

The Congresses are opportunities to highlight challenges, but also opportunities to bring the Partnership and the ERTICO team together, shown more recently in Hamburg after the long absence of face-to-face contact due to the pandemic. This year’s Congress took place in particularly challenging circumstances and leadership, management and teamwork were all put to the test.

Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki, Director of Innovation and Deployment says ‘Jacob has been the calm leader type. Never furious, never showing signs of anxiety or pressure, definitely what a dynamic team working in a hectic deadline-oriented environment needed. We are thankful for his presence. Also, in all the high-level meetings, Jacob was the smooth negotiator, who put forward the logical arguments and found the middle solution. The ERTICO team has really learned a lot from him and so have I. It is under Jacob’s leadership that our organisation became more extroverted and visible in terms of thought leadership and advocacy. Great job Jacob!’

And from ERTICO Chairman, Dr Angelos Amditis:  ‘Jacob has served as CEO from 2017-2022 years with outstanding competence. It has always been a pleasure working with him to enhance ERTICO’s vision. He has been a committed leader for ERTICO ITS Europe and empowered the voice of the organisation. I would like to convey a big thank you to him, for all the work, dedication and leadership that he has given.’ 

Last words are from Jacob: ‘I have so many incredible memories from my 20 years with ERTICO from the many site visits to Partners, international trips (including experiencing a typhoon at the ITS World Congress in Nagoya, Japan) yet above all this, the ERTICO team in Brussels is something very special that I will never forget. Highly competent, hardworking and truly dedicated to being global thought leaders in their field to drive smart mobility solutions to the next level.  Thank you ERTICO team and Partners for allowing me to be part of this incredible journey. We have shared fantastic moments along the road. I will continue to keep an eye on what you do, as an organisation you have played such an important part in my professional life.’

Written by Cordelia Wilson, Senior Manager for Congress and Events