The discussions focused on user`s needs, and on mobility as a service

The 10th European ITS Congress turned Helsinki in the capital of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services, and the place to be for ITS stakeholders from all over the world. The Congress was jointly organised by ERTICO ITS Europe and the European Commission, and hosted by ITS Finland, the Finish Ministry of Transport and the City of Helsinki.

Between 16 and the 19 of June 2014, more than 2500 attendants participated in the Congress, which featured the overarching theme: “ITS in your pocket-proven solutions driving users services”. Along the same line, up to 60 companies of all stripes (i.e. multinational, SMEs and start-ups) brought to the fore their role in turning ITS in a fundamental motor of change in the transport of people and goods.

The aim of the Congress was to bring together all those involved in the process of accelerating the use of innovative transport solutions and underlying technologies that would boost the security and efficiency of mobility, while reducing its environmental impact. As the CEO of ERTICO, Mr Hermann Meyer, highlighted: “There is a need for horizontal solutions and cooperation in the ITS sector, and that is what congresses are about”.

During the course of over 40 Special Interest sessions, and more than 50 sessions, speakers and exhibitors discussed and displayed the latest in research and deployment of ITS, from Open Data to automated vehicles, and from transnational cooperation to the shortage of women attracted by a career in ITS. However, the central theme of the congress was the change of paradigm that places user’s needs and mobility as a service at the core of ITS. The conceptual swift from transport to mobility, and from capacity to connectivity and users, is likely to have a significant impact in the process of turning cities into smart cities.

Digitalisation and the `Internet of things`, as well as users` demand for real-time information, and the challenges to reduce accidents and congestion while curbing the emissions of greenhouse gasses, are some of the catalyst for the brewing transformation envisaged at the 10th ITS European Congress. The materialisation of mobility is not without challenges. The most pressing ones include not only the need for investment and smart regulation, but also cooperation among service providers, and social engagement in the improvement of mobility, something which is often given for granted.

During the press conference held in Helsinki, the European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport Mr Siim Kallas stressed that, even when the traditional role of transport policy has been to provide hard infrastructure, services driven by user`s demand, is gaining ever more relevance in the EU agenda. In turn, Finland’s Minister of Transport and Local Government Henna Virkkunen said that “now is the time to add intelligence to mobility”.

The 10th ITS Congress left, thus, a good after-taste among organisers and participants. It is now time to keep on the good work and take the discussions up in the upcoming ITS World Congress in Detroit in September, and the 2005 World Congress in Bordeaux.

To check the pictures of the Congress, please click here