To be the Chairman of ERTICO is both challenging and gratifying, as it has opened new horizons, giving me the possibility to have a wider perspective of the mobility sector. At the same time, I have closely worked with ERTICO and its Partnership to make this vision stronger and fruitful for all. It has been an amazing year for ERTICO and its 120 Partners.
In 2019, we had two very successful and well-attended Congresses: The European ITS Congress in Brainport, a key innovation hub in the Netherlands with 3,400 attendees in June, and a World ITS Congress in the stunning city of Singapore with 14,000 participants in October. With Congresses taking place in a different city each year, all stakeholders are given the opportunity to come together and meet under one roof to discuss and debate, so that they understand what’s happening in Europe and around the world in the field of ITS. This is crucial because we are entering a new era of smart mobility, where innovation is evolving at such a fast pace that makes fast learning and networking so much more essential. It is important that during our Congresses we share the lessons learned, and I believe that we can learn a lot from each other, from both our mistakes and our successes. In 2020, we are really looking forward to two more Congresses– the European one in Lisbon and the first Eastern European one in Kazan. ERTICO is already at full speed getting ready for them.
All of us working in smart mobility and providing ITS solutions are aware of the challenges that lie ahead, particularly those related to the environment and climate change. From all perspectives, green sustainable transportation has to be a priority. All the new mobility trends that we are discussing – Mobility as a Service, electro mobility, even automation, are tools for making the entire transport system carbon free. The ERTICO Partnership is also looking at a complete transformation of the ways in which we transport people and goods – as moving freight is just as important as moving people – a new way of thinking about mobility that is both digitalized and integrated. Everything needs to connect with everything else. This is why we are using a new term within ERTICO – the Internet of Mobility. It is a way to make people understand the big picture, taking the concept of the Internet of Things and applying it to the mobility sector. It is a term that encompasses every service, system, new disruptive technology and mode, as they all form an integral part of the Internet of Mobility.
ERTICO is a unique organisation because it brings a wide range of different stakeholders together. This is key for innovation. Innovation is better when you work together and cooperate from different perspectives towards the same goal and this is what we do within ERTICO. None of our work would be possible without cooperation. We have a multidisciplinary Partnership comprising OEMs, suppliers, service providers, users, public authorities, cities, research centres, and all of them need to sit at the same table, discuss and work together. However, at the end of the day, we do not forget it is about serving our citizens. You do not do technology for technology’s sake and you do not do mobility for mobility’s sake, you do it in order to serve citizens and their needs.
ERTICO has taken on the challenge to work with its Partners on cutting edge topics such as mobility management, drones and air mobility, truck platooning and 5G technologies in automation and has been holding topical discussions during 2019 on urban mobility and connectivity, inviting cities and users to voice their needs and concerns. Debates during ERTICO events continue, whilst the projects run in cooperation with our Partners have further strengthened our expertise and leadership in the field. We have worked on SUMPs Guidelines on ITS and MaaS with the European Commission and we have presented an ‘Insights to ITS’ communication to the new European Commission and Parliament. We have been promoting ITS and its benefits through these actions contributing to the better life of societies and people. Impact has always been and will continue to be very important in our work and we closely follow our roadmaps as these are set by our Partnership. It is the entire Partnership together that can achieve progress.
We are successfully closing 2019 and a new year of challenges is around the corner. I am optimistic that we can achieve even more, even better. I see how well the Partnership of ERTICO cooperates and this can only be a motivator for more progress. ERTICO and the ITS sector have worked hard and the time of the year has come to sit back and take a breath, to assess our successes and plan for the future. Let us take advantage of this quiet period and refocus. Letting go of work and worries is important. Whether you go for the snowy Christmas version or the sunny escape, wherever you spend these holidays, I wish you a wonderful relaxing break with your family and those close to you. Our plan is to return in the new year with vigour and ideas on how to ensure that 2020 is another great year in smart mobility. I am sure that ERTICO and its Partnership will rise to the challenge and together we can build a better, more sustainable future for us all.
Dr. Angelos Amditis