Here we come back after our holiday break with a fresh mind full of ideas and objectives for the year to come. As we return to our daily activities, I would like to look at what the New Year will bring to us at ERTICO, and highlight some of our priorities for 2018.

Before we look forward, let’s just briefly look at our achievements in 2017: a year of changes that brought me to lead the team of experts in ERTICO and oversee the numerous activities we deploy. Undeniably, 2017 has been an exciting year for me personally, as I met many ERTICO Partners and discussed with them about the future of the ERTICO Partnership and our vision.  We held some great events, the ITS European Congress in Strasbourg and the World Congress in Montreal, experienced an incredible participation of ERTICO Partners in our projects and innovation platforms through sessions and live demonstrations, showing that Europe can measure up to our overseas colleagues. In September, we celebrated our 25th year of existence, with colleagues and friends, and we drafted our Vision 2030, which will be launched later this year.

I feel we achieved a lot in twelve months, but this is just the beginning. My ambitions for the ERTICO community are to go beyond projects and events; these are channels to achieve our vision of a mobility with zero accidents, zero delays, fully informed travellers, and a reduced impact on the environment. With this vision in mind, we have an exciting time ahead and some great plans for 2018.

Our Partners will remain the top priority for us: as the market changes and becomes more demanding, we understand the needs of changing with it. We will keep fostering and encouraging dialogue with and amongst Partners as well as involving the new players entering the transport market.

Meetings and networking events will keep a primary role in our work; we are launching a series of thematic workshops, the first of which will be held at the end of this month in cooperation with the European Commission, focusing on multimodality and new mobility services for people and goods. Later this year we will organise the second ERTICO Think Tank, following the success of the previous one. Here, we will discuss our roadmaps, which will drive the digitalisation of transport. In September, we will be in Copenhagen for the 25th ITS World Congress. I take some personal pride as worldwide leaders and companies will have the unique opportunity in my native country to see what Intelligent Transport Services can do for a smarter society and business.

As the society and technologies around us evolve, we need to re-think the way we work; we need to embrace a global approach, opening the doors to our colleagues from other continents. This is why international cooperation will play a fundamental role in 2018. We have already some exciting appointments in our calendar. In February, we are co-organising the country’s largest conference on ITS in Kazan, Russian Federation with our Partner, the Ministry of Informatization & Communication of the Republic of Tatarstan. The conference will look into connected and automated driving, as the Republic of Tatarstan has grown massively in the field of intelligent transport in the past few years. In April, an ERTICO Partner delegation will meet colleagues in China to discover the latest developments of cooperative connected and automated driving, Mobility as a Service, electro-mobility services, traffic management networks, and standardisation. The high-level event, organised in close cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, ITS China, and the Chinese Automotive Industry, will then be followed by an EU – China Summit at the ITS World Congress 2018.

On the content side, we will present ERTICO’s roadmaps for the future of ITS divided into our four areas of work: Connected and Automated Driving, Clean mobility, Urban mobility, and Transport and Logistics. With this exercise, we are mapping our many activities against priorities and providing some clear guidelines on how the future transport services and networks will shape.

This year, ERTICO will continue its work in the field of connected and automated driving and play an active role in assessing the impact of autonomous vehicle functions through large-scale pilots in Europe. The European project AUTOPILOT links the automotive sector and IoT and is currently testing services in real-life conditions to deploy IoT solutions to boost the up-take of automated vehicles. Connected and automated driving is not only about technology development but also about informing on the benefits of new IT technologies such as 5G, Big Data, IoT and AI. In this framework, we are creating a large community across research, industry and public authorities in order to accelerate the rollout of automated road transport.

Electromobility is becoming increasingly important to improve air quality and to reduce carbon emissions. It represents a great opportunity for the business of vehicle manufacturers but also of service providers and road operators. We are carrying out a number of activities looking at charging stations accessibility and interoperability; one of the highlights for this year will be the developments of the services implemented by the EU project NeMo across six countries. The Hyper-Network created by 19 companies and organisations is an open architecture based on standardised interfaces where physical and digital entities can connect and interact seamlessly to exchange data and to provide more elaborate e-mobility ICT services to customers.

International cooperation on Mobility as a Service is something that ERTICO initiated four years ago in Helsinki and that remains a key activity for our Partnership. The multimodality launch event on 24 January in Brussels will cover this new services and business models, which are up-taking fast and spreading all over the globe. Multimodal and seamless transport services are a reality as individual travellers and companies are demanding more personalised and 24/7 services according to their needs and preferences. In order to answer to this demand, we will need interoperable payment systems and platforms that will allow people and goods to move within not only the city and the country but also cross-border.

Multimodality applies not only to passenger transport but also to freight and logistics operations. The European Commission set numerous goals to be achieved by 2050, including an emissions reduction of 70 to 80% for road transport. At the same time, an increase of 50% in passenger travel and an increase of 80% in freight are expected. Multimodal transport will play a critical role in this, by allowing better and more efficient freight operations.

Linking different systems and modes is what AEOLIX is looking at by developing a cloud-based, multi-enterprise “many-to-many” network that captures and streams data in real-time from different IT systems. By creating a customised dashboard for individual customers, this open platform improves end-to end visibility across the supply chain and facilitates the automation of data exchange and flexible relationship management of logistics companies. The network is currently tested in eleven living labs across the nine Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) corridors. In 2017, the AEOLIX consortium released the first version of the platform and tested it in October in the Dutch site; the platform release 2.0 is expected in June 2018. AEOLIX services are expected to contribute to a reduction of 30% in greenhouse emissions compared to the current situation.

These are just some of the highlights of the year ahead; more activities and opportunities will rise as the months go by. We are excited about what 2018 will bring us and look forward to work with our veteran, new and potential Partners to shape intelligent mobility together.