ERTICO – ITS Europe talks to Zita Gurmai MEP and Dieter-Lebrecht Koch MEP following their co-hosting of the ERTICO Breakfast Workshop on “Intelligence into Urban Mobility”

ERTICO – ITS Europe: In your view what are the main challenges regarding the deployment of urban mobility ITS services?

Zita Gurmai: I’m convinced of the road safety benefits of ITS and it has also been widely acknowledged by road safety stakeholders. Unfortunately road safety stakeholders are much cut off from another within their separate systems and modes. A gap still exists between the world of transport and that of new technologies which is due to a certain extent to issues related to infrastructure regulations or institutions: intelligent cars also need the support of an intelligent infrastructure but the “intelligent road” is not yet ready; new technologies open up new issues and require public authorities on European level to re-think the “rules of the game”. The balance between the “three edges of the triangle” (vehicle driver road) is very important and I feel that the vehicle (technology) side is advancing faster than the two other elements. The right infrastructure is just as important as awareness-raising and proper training among consumers. For the consumer affordability is also a key issue. Many consumers simply cannot afford the systems in question. It is therefore important that intelligent transport systems and services become affordable and widely available as soon as possible.

Dieter-Lebrecht Koch: I think that the introduction of the new ITS services will be essential for the future of urban transport especially in view of the benefits it holds for the environment on the one hand and for the economy on the other. I agree that the main challenge in this process is to raise the awareness of the citizens regarding the changes and opportunities this system has to offer and that citizens therefore have to actively support the implementation of ITS services. The demand has to come from the consumer side in order to make the introduction of these new technical developments work.

ERTICO – ITS Europe: How do you see the European Parliament’s role in promoting urban mobility?

Dieter-Lebrecht Koch: The European Parliament has an important role to play in the promotion especially regarding the distribution of information to the public. However we also have to respect the subsidiary principle in the implementation process and that it is especially due to the individual units within the Member States to actively bring the system forward. In addition I also think that it is hereby vital to invest into future research of the ITS services as there remains a lot of potential for further development.

Zita Gurmai: The European Parliament should deal with the question of urban mobility as a crucial element in improving life in urban areas (in 2020 80% of Europe’s population will live in urban areas). The European Parliament should make sure to actively follow and encourage community legislation actions and plans in this field in close cooperation with the Commission Council and Member States. A great example of this is the report by Giles Savary on the Action Plan on Urban Mobility last April. The report highlights the need for community power in the field of urban transport policy if it is to achieve its environmental aims and climate change objectives. The resolution also proposes that European financing and co-financing in the field of urban transport be made conditional on the existence of integrated urban mobility (urban travel) plans.

ERTICO – ITS Europe: With a new Commission and new European Parliament in place what will the next five years see in terms of urban mobility and ITS in general from the institutional viewpoint?

Dieter-Lebrecht Koch: We have to use the entire potential of the new system in place. I think it would be very beneficial for the rapid implementation of the ITS system if the introduction of basic applications were compulsory for the Member States while the adoption of the remaining components should be endorsed through more incentives for the governments. We also need more support for better compatibility of the individual transport systems across the Member States. The European Institutions can especially help with the creation of shared standards and norms for the entire ITS services.

Zita Gurmai: After the hearing of then Commissioner-designate Kallas I’m confident that he will pay special attention to ITS systems as he said that Intelligent Transport Systems were his “passion” and “We must start to consider European transport as one entity designed for Europeans”.  Furthermore Neelie Kroes said that she would do her best with the colleagues in the Commission to accelerate the positive impact of information-communication technologies on everyday life in as many areas as possible. I do hope that the already existing and well-working processes will continue and that even more efficient ways of ITS deployment in urban mobility will be implemented for the sake of safer greener more efficient transport in Europe. From the side of the European Parliament as an MEP working in the Committee on Transport and Tourism I’m willing to give this my best effort.

ERTICO – ITS Europe: You kindly co-hosted the ERTICO Breakfast Workshop on “Intelligence into Urban Mobility”. Can you give readers your impression? What were the most pertinent points raised?

Zita Gurmai: I was very happy to co-host the second ERTICO breakfast workshop and I was delighted with the high number of participants and the outcome of the meeting. I’m a dialogue-oriented person and I’m convinced that structured dialogue between industry consumers and political decision-makers is a great tool in advancing and coordinating technological development with related areas of action. This breakfast was a great opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views on how to more effectively deploy ITS solutions to improve urban mobility therefore improve transport efficiency road safety and the protection of environment which are topics of great interest to me. I agree with the other participants on the fact that the focus should be set on cost-effective solutions and the coordinated deployment of ITS systems. I’m happy to give my input to this process and continue our great cooperation in the future as well.

Dieter-Lebrecht Koch: I think the Breakfast Workshop offered a welcomed platform to exchange ideas and opinion on the development of ITS . I followed to presentations of the experts with much interest and will take a lot of advice on board for future discussions. Thank you very much for your support in organising this very successful event.

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Original Publication Date: Sat 24 Jul 2010