ERTICO’s largest Partnership sector with 38 public authorities meets bi-annually. Overcoming the challenge of travel restriction, last week the platform virtually united 22 ERTICO Partners from countries including Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Hungary and Portugal to present, discuss and share the latest in smart mobility innovation. In particular, representatives for Transport for West Midlands in the U.K. Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands and Trikala in Greece presented solutions that are making headway in the quest to make regions smarter, safer and more sustainable.

First presenter Keelan Fadden – Hopper revealed the latest Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions offered by Transport for West Midlands in the United Kingdom whose remit covers the city of Birmingham, seven local authorities and around 2.86 million users. The region operates the Swift card – a smart card – which has the greatest number of users next to London’s Oyster card. ‘Efficiency, personalisation, flexible ticketing and payment as well as ensuring multi-modal options are the bundle of the solutions that we are trying to implement in the area. ’ says Mr Fadden-Hopper. The so-called Future Mobility Zone, partly funded by the UK government, seeks to deploy innovative mobility services that work seamlessly for travellers in the West Midlands, creating a better connected region and improving the quality of life for users.

Transport for West Midlands is continually updating the offering on the Swift card platform. The latest is an innovative mobility credits scheme that encourages drivers to renounce cars not meeting pollution standards in exchange for credits on journeys on the tram, bus and metro. Account based ticketing is strongly encouraged:  users can receive the best value on all public transport services including the possibility to bike and even taxi share through just one account. Mr Fadden-Hopper says there are still obstacles – a low uptake of subscriptions, commercial agreements are sometimes difficult to negotiate, as well as more adaptive consideration needed for future procurement strategies.  ‘We are learning all the time, but one important lesson is that we need to be flexible in order to adapt to this complex and uncertain world. Due to the current crisis, policies have dramatically changed. Government has now protected revenue risk for rail operators. Six months ago – did we really imagine we would be running empty vehicles on our roads? This flexibility needs to be factored into our strategies.’

Next up was Hans Kramer from the Rijkswaterstraat, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management responsible for the 3100 km of highways, 8,000 km of waterways and 90,000km2 of water systems that flow through the Netherlands. Smart Mobility Dutch Reality is the powerful motto behind the deployment of innovative solutions across the country. One solution, presented by Hans Kramer, is the innovative Jam Tail Warning. The solution was first put in place in 1980 to ease traffic flow in hotspots on highways. The system pre-warns drivers to slow down when there is a traffic jam ahead, adjusting speed limits, successfully reducing the intensity of the jam and lowering the number of vehicles involved. It has also had a huge impact on safety with a 19% reduction in serious accidents. Over the next two years, this ERTICO Partner is seeking to scale-up the scheme further across the country and into Europe through a multi-country, multi-stakeholder project. ‘In order to reduce congestion, we need to collaborate and I think ERTICO platforms represent the ideal forum to make this happen,’ said Mr Kramer. Representatives from Portugal, Finland and Germany all expressed an interest in the potential project.

Involvement in European smart mobility projects has supported the Greek city and ERTICO partner Trikala’s long term ambition to meet their challenges of congestion, pollution and weak infrastructure. A small city in Greece, with over 81,000 inhabitants, reaching 1 million tourists in the summer, it now has become a flagship smart city for the country. ‘In 2019, more than 100 other cities have visited Trikala to see what we are doing and trying to learn from our example. We say it is about having a strong vision and making sure you get there,’ says Harry Kalliaras.

Dr Elena Patatouka, Senior Expert in Sustainable Mobility presented Trikala’s mobility priorities;  ‘Prioritise smart, sustainable and integrated public mobility systems; implement regulation that supports pedestrians and cyclists; smart parking; move towards zero-carbon transport and ensure socially inclusive digital services for all as well as integrating sustainable automated, air and virtual mobility solutions. Given we are a rural city, it is very important to have a community approach and to develop solutions that reach out to all our inhabitants.’ Trikala is working in collaboration with ERTICO on EU funded projects ELVITEN and SHOW that have encouraged the introduction of automated buses, light electric vehicles smart charging stations in the city, but also has interests in projects Cities4people, AVINT, DESMO and the project HARMONY. HARMONY is of particular current interest as it puts in place a delivery service via drones of urgent medicines to those who need it in surrounding rural areas.

To join these cities in solving current mobility challenges and defining a sustainable future through the ERTICO Public Authorities Platform, join our Partnership. We are together for tomorrow’s journey. Contact: Cordelia Wilson

ERTICO Public Authority Platform Public Authorities are the largest sector in ERTICO partnership with 38 cities, regional and national authorities, working together on intelligent mobility, sharing their experiences and delivering on share projects. The next meeting of the Platform will take place in the autumn.