The ITS World Congress in Hamburg in October is the 27th Congress organised by ERTICO –ITS Europe. This public-private partnership has co-organised the World Congresses with the other world regions, ITS Asia-Pacific, ITS Japan and ITS America, for nearly 30 years. Each year, the ITS Congress showcases innovations in mobility and ITS, and this year in Hamburg, we want to demonstrate through sessions, demos, workshops and debates that the future is now. The lot in ITS is not a vague notion. The ITS Community is fully aware that we need to change the future, and we are taking action right now.

Climate change is one of the drivers that push for this long-awaited change. Decision-makers across the globe, including the European Commission, have been discussing the dangers of irreversible climate change for years, even decades. In 2018 and 2019, transport accounted for more than a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, most of which were generated by road transport. The European Commission (EC), by publishing its Green Deal policy initiatives at the end of 2019, European Commission (EC) set the target of making Europe climate neutral in 2050 and has passed a powerful message to all mobility stakeholders. The ITS sector has been the one to follow suit, and this is precisely what Special Interest Sessions (SISs) at the ITS World Congress will show with the following SISs. The SIS on User-friendly, sustainable charging technologies and services (ICCS) are the SIS on eHighway, and ITS: how heavy road freight is going smart and green (Siemens Mobility) aim to give a good platform for a fruitful exchange of developments on this topic.

Another driver of ITS developments is the understanding of both the private and public sectors that they should cooperate on mobility policies and operations. More specifically, the EC, with the help of several European Associations, among them ERTICO, has facilitated the establishment of the CCAM Public-Private Partnership (PPP). This PPP is one of several PPPs established in 2021 to drive the Strategic Research Innovation Agenda (SRIA) in Connected Cooperative and Automated Mobility (CCAM), based on which the Horizon Europe Calls will be allocating funding on the commonly agreed priorities in Europe. At the World Congress in Hamburg, several SISs will be discussing these priorities on CCAM. Exciting discussions will take place at the SIS Building the Ecosystem: coordination efforts across the world supporting the development and deployment of CCAM (ERTICO) and the SIS on Infrastructure support information for extending Operational Design Domains – how to get there? (ERTICO) on this.

Interactive Traffic management is the concept that ERTICO has been working on since 2014 through its ERTICO Innovation Platform TM 2.0. Having reached the deployment phase, the idea is now taken by both SISs and side events at the ITS World Congress. The TM 2.0 Workshop with three consecutive sessions on Interactive Traffic Management: from concept to reality; Exchange and Business Models in Mobility Network Management and Micro mobility and Traffic Management (ERTICO); the SIS on A future perspective on real-time traffic information (European Commission) and the SIS on Roadworks in Traffic Management (Hamburger Hochbahn AG) are expected to attract much attention by Congress delegates.

Regarding the ERTICO Presents events, the TM 2.0 3-hour workshop will discuss how TM 2.0 went from concept to reality by already being able to use as reference the results from SOCRATES 2.0, the CEF funded project on interactive traffic management led by the Dutch Ministry. The other two sessions under this Workshop, ‘Micromobility’ and the mobility network management, are equally ‘real’. Traffic management is not anymore confined to the road and just cars. Scooters, bicycles, drones and other modes currently sharing the infrastructure have seen a steep rise in the last year due to the pandemic. So, understanding that a city cannot correctly manage its mobility network holistically considers the entire system. Traffic congestion on the road will undoubtedly have an impact on all other modes in the mobility system. Unless the mobility manager has a common operational picture, optimisation cannot be achieved.

The needs of cities and citizens in mobility are two topics that ERTICO is proud to devote timeslots for SIS’s and side events at the ITS World Congress. Awareness that cities and public authorities should have their mobility needs drive the demand and not the other way around has enhanced the work of ERTICO and its partnership on facilitating a dialogue with local decision-makers and civil servants involved in traffic management. ERTICO’s City Moonshot Initiative, through which 300 cities around the globe are being interviewed, will present its results at the World Congress, offering the opportunity to some of the interviewed cities to share their experiences and best practice with peers other stakeholders. The presentation of the survey results will contribute to a better understanding of what cities need and what citizens want in urban mobility.

The MaaS Summit and MaaS Global Forum are key events for ERTICO at the ITS World Congress. Mobility as a Service has been disrupting mobility for the past five years and has reached the operational level to claim tangible results and learnings. ERTICO has been working closely with the MaaS Alliance Innovation Platform in establishing a fair play of MaaS in Europe. At the ITS World Congress, stakeholders will have the opportunity to discuss the topics that have brought and continue to nourish a new way forward for mobility in people and goods. Shared and user-centric, MaaS is the embodiment of how mobility has changed for the better so that it can answer today’s customers’ priorities and needs.

This year’s ITS World Congress in Hamburg comes after a complex and very different year. It has been disruptive in its way. It does not offer a promise but facts. It does not build on plans and research but demonstrates the benefits of innovation in ITS for society now. Last year showed us that we have to take action today to re-shape our mobility into a liveable, safe and affordable future.

Dr Johanna Tzanidaki, Director Innovation and Deployment, ERTICO-ITS Europe