ITS Nationals Network leads debate on smart intermodal freight

The Network of National ITS Associations presented a special interest session on Smart Intermodal Freight at the European ITS Congress in Lisbon.  The session attracted a full house which joined in a lively and informed discussion.

The ITS associations of Finland, Norway, Germany and Estonia contributed speakers and ITS Ireland helped out with the organisation of the session.  Thanks to the ability of the Network to harness expertise from so many different European countries, the panel included experienced professionals from rail, marine and road freight, and was able to talk meaningfully about how to achieve seamless intermodality and remove cross border friction.

The discussion centred on two themes:  how to turn research and demonstrations into permanent implementations, and what the role of AI (Artificial Intelligence) might be in the future freight sector.

As in other areas of ITS, projects and testbeds seem to be more ubiquitous than permanent applications.  The panel agreed that in some ways this perception is unfair;  it is just that the time lapse from first research topic to fully embedded system can be ten or even twenty years, which can give the impression that few things actually translate into everyday usage.  In other aspects it is true;  issues of piecemeal and somewhat arbitrary funding, lack of effective collaboration between bodies which really should be active partners, and poorly executed stakeholder engagement, can all slow down or even sabotage eventual implementation.

Talking about AI, the panel agreed that this will definitely be important in the future freight sector.  Making an analogy with automated vehicles, they suggested that AI will be gradually adopted by the freight industry and rejected the idea of a current or imminent “revolution”.  Some promising use cases proposed included security both of loads and of staff, the speeding up of cross modal and cross border transfers, and better conditions for drivers achieved by more intelligent and adaptable routing and rostering. 

A very good case was made for the importance of universally accepted standards and protocols, if full digitisation of the end to end logistics chain is to be achieved.  That it needs to be achieved in order to unlock cost savings, less environmentally damaging freight moments, and improved conditions for all the humans involved in them, was not in doubt.

The panelists were:  Lone-Eirin Lervåg from Norway, Tim Knutzen (Germany), Heiti Mering (Estonia), and Jukka Lepistö (Finland).  The session was moderated by Jennie Martin on behalf of the Network and co-organised by Donal Hodgins of ITS Ireland.

(Picture by Paul Hutton)

Sampson tells the ITS industry “don’t wait for the storm to pass – learn to work in the rain”

The Senior Adviser to the ERTICO-ITS Europe, Professor Eric Sampson has affirmed that the ITS European Congress 2023 in Lisbon has shown that European ITS can deliver mobility that is accessible, equitable, affordable, resilient, has zero fatalities and has zero emissions.

As Chief Rapporteur, Prof Sampson was giving his final closing summary at a Congress as he retires from his role, which allowed him to reflect on the successes of the transport technology industry.

However he gave a warning to the delegates saying, “Hitting two or more of these targets at the same time is still very hard. Most of the technologies are ready but the policy makers are lagging behind. If we had a clear political drive; if we accepted the price of deciding to reach key goals quickly – then Zero fatalities Zero emissions are within our reach.”

Prof Sampson added that “the problems that remain are mostly about waiting for the perfect solution or unwillingness to adapt our behaviour. The message to all of us is that we need to change – NOW. I live in a farming area in North Yorkshire where there’s a saying – Don’t wait for the storm to pass – learn to work in the rain.”

His closing summary pointed to how the earliest Congresses were “showcases for declassified military technology or research projects seeking new knowledge”, rather than exploration of new services. 

“There’s now much more joint working so instead of suppliers telling users “Our system does this you should buy it”  the focus is now “tell me what you want to achieve and we’ll work together to design and deploy solutions that deliver it”,” he said.

And Prof Sampson gave an emotional farewell concluding by saying, “It’s time for me to share the pleasure and the privilege of leading the rapporteur teams so I’m handing over to Wolfgang Hoefs who will do all I do but with more energy and more stamina. Goodbye.”

He was given a standing ovation by the audience and the ERTICO CEO Joost Vantomme then gave a short speech praising Prof Sampson’s unique contribution to the ITS Industry and its World and European Congresses.

(Picture – Highways News)

Looking ahead to the ITS European Congress on this week’s Highways Voices

“It’s nice to have all these companies and institutions showcasing their nice things,” says Joost Vantomme on this week’s Highways Voices podcast, “but what does the user think of that? What does the citizen think of that? There’s a lot of questions on the new technologies. How do they work? What do they promise?”

The ERTICO – ITS Europe CEO is looking ahead to this year’s ITS European Congress in Lisbon which runs from 22-24 May, and explains how new technology in transport will be put into the context of improving mobility with real-world examples.

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His colleague Lisa Boch-Andersen, who is Director of Communications, Congress and Events at ERTICO adds that Lisbon is a living example of transport technology, “It really is one of the major economic centres with a very busy transport network,” she explains. “It has a lot of different mobility initiatives. It has major container ports, big bridges, and they just informed that there would be no major traffic in the centre of Lisbon.”

You’ll hear all about the different themes of the congress and also from LCRIG Director Kerry Winstanley about the UK Pavilion and how a range of British SMEs are exhibiting at the European Congress thanks to support from the Department Business and Trade, the Transport Technology Forum and LCRIG. These are; Zenzic, Navtech Radar, Clearview Intelligence, Nicander, Now Wireless, Angoka, Ito World, Arup, Neology, Grid Smarter Cities, See.Sense and VESOS. Members of the Department for Transport, Innovate UK and Intelligent Transport Systems UK will also be participating on the stand and there will be a visit to it from British Ambassador to Portugal, Chris Sainty.

ERTICO ramps up ITS European Congress excitement

With two weeks to go until the first ITS European Congress in three years, the organisers ERTICO have issued an online preview document, and are planning a further Congress-related webinar.

The three-day event in the French city of Toulouse starts in two weeks’ time (Monday 30 May). It comprises plenary sessions, papers, special interest papers, an exhibition, demonstrations, technical visits and networking.

Read the full preview here.

The fifth and final webinar on the Congress topic ‘From Largescale Trials to Deployment’ takes place on Thursday 19 May, from 1.00-2.15pm UK time. Sign up here.

The ITS Nationals Network will be meeting in Toulouse at a special session on Tuesday 31 May.

(Picture – ERTICO)

ITS Europe preliminary programme released

The ITS European Congress team has released the Preliminary Programme for next month’s Congress in Toulouse.

The team at ERTICO – ITS Europe says it has worked hard on building a fantastic High-Level and Technical Programme, and that this preliminary programme includes details of all the activities and sessions that will take place at the MEETT Conference Centre in Toulouse from 30 May to 1 June 2022.

Click here to view the Preliminary Programme

This programme will be updated regularly with new sessions, workshops and activities.

Early Bird delegate rates are currently available, with cut-price participation available to people who register before 19 April. The event will attract more than 3,500 people from more than 50 countries. It’ll feature more than a hundred sessions and workshops in total.

(Graphic – ERTICO)

Registrations open for ITS European Congress

Registrations for the 14th ITS European Congress in Toulouse from 30 May to 1 June are now open with an early bird discount rate available.

Organiser ERTICO, says this is a unique opportunity for the European ITS Community to come together, discuss and network to push forward innovation and deliver ‘Smart and Sustainable Mobility for all’ with presentations, demonstrations and a state-of-the-art exhibition all under one roof.

‘I am so excited to be opening registrations for this year’s ITS European Congress in Toulouse. We can’t wait for the ITS Community to be together again. We have so much to show you!’ says Lisa Boch- Andersen, Director of Communication, Congresses and Events.

Delegates will get access to the prestigious High-Level Programme that includes the Opening and Closing ceremonies, the Plenaries as well as the Technical Programme where ITS experts will showcase their knowledge and innovations. In collaboration with the Host city of Toulouse, there will also be a wide range of social activities on offer.

Many of our member organisations will be attending the event – make sure you let us know if you’ll be there and we’ll come and say hello!

(Picture – ERTICO)