Siim Kallas launches Smart Mobility Challenge 2011 at the Lyon Congress

Siim Kallas Vice-President of the Commission responsible for Transport presented at the “Transport Smart Mobility Solutions Conference” an invitation to industry and stakeholders as well as to interested public and industry professionals to submit concrete and workable planning tools aimed at overcoming the existent barriers in multimodal journey planning. The invitation was presented as the “Smart Mobility Challenge 2011” and began in reinforcing efforts made by the Commission in the implementation of the ITS Action Plan ITS Directive and TAP-TSI specifications for rail initiatives addressing the ongoing challenges in European transport and mobility.

In that context Kallas highlighted the current status and ongoing industry challenges in the area of transport and mobility including:

  • An increasing oil price and persistent oil dependency
  • A deteriorating climate and local environment
  • Growing congestion and poorer accessibility

In his speech Kallas further reinforced the importance of innovation as way of accomplishing a transport system of the future and tackling the above challenges: “Transport and mobility are at a crossroads. In our Roadmap to a more competitive and resource efficient transport system we say clearly that curbing mobility cannot be an option…We need to give convincing answers how to deal with multiple challenges”.

Smart Mobility

In the minutes preceding the presentation of the challenge to the audience Kallas once again highlighted the concept of “smart mobility”: “Smart mobility is about applying information and communication technology for transport need; information on all modes in real-time; for everyone”. Importantly however he further highlighted the need to realise and subsequently address existing barriers in the context of European multimodal journey planning: “I see very good examples of multi-modal travel information at the local regional or national level. I see several customer portals on air travel.

I also see positive developments for example the new Agency for multi-modal information and ticketing of the French government or innovative private companies acting increasingly as independent mobility information brokers…But very few of these include a “European” or “cross-border” end-to-end dimension. I cannot yet plan or book my journey through Europe – switching from air to rail or sea to urban or road transport – in one single go and online” he said.

Important barriers to European multimodal planning include:

  • How to solve the dilemma of cooperation among competitors (e.g. on data sharing)
  • How to enhance data availability and data quality
  • How to improve the business case for a European solution

Smart Mobility Challenge 2011

The Smart Mobility Challenge 2011 presents an innovative way in meeting the challenges of transport and mobility specifically in the area of travel planning. On behalf of the Commission Kallas invited industry and stakeholders to present to the public concrete and workable “European multi-modal travel planning tools” as well as “new bright ideas” of how to make such tools become reality. Furthermore he invited interested public transport professionals IT experts travellers daily transport users to subsequently test the models and ideas presented and cast a vote to elect the most promising and innovative solutions.

Concretely over the summer until 9 September 2011 planners researchers established companies or young start-ups were urged to send to the Commission proposals to be implemented as planners. A competent jury is to look at the “best ideas for future innovative planner” and invite the winners of the Challenge to present their tools and ideas at the Commission’s stand during the next ITS World Congress in Vienna in October 2012.

The Challenge can be accessed via where it is possible to click through some of the known national journey planners – the heart of the website is a European map with links to about 20 journey planners.

In addition to this challenge there will also be a Commission workshop on the subject in Brussels on 20 June 2011. It will discuss the status and vision towards a European Journey Planner.

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Original Publication Date: Thu 23 Jun 2011