FEATURE: ITS European Congress sustainable mobility spotlight


Concepts around traffic management are changing direction in favor of mobility management: a multimodal, digitally-enabled world that moves people and goods in more efficient ways and with positive impacts on air quality, emissions and use of space.

These ideas were explored during a webinar in the run-up to the ITS European Congress 2022 in Toulouse. Indeed, Clean and Eco Mobility is one of ERTICO-ITS Europe’s four priority areas. “This topic cuts across the congress program, including plenary sessions, exhibitors and technical demonstrations, and in areas ranging from electro mobility and renewable energy to user engagement,” says Lisa Boch-Andersen, director of communications, congresses and events, ERTICO-ITS Europe. The congress takes place at the MEETT Exhibition and Conference Centre, May 30 to June 1.

“Toulouse is a great multimodal environment to showcase smarter, greener mobility,” says Joost Vantomme, CEO, ERTICO-ITS Europe. “This subject is high on the agenda for European institutions and authorities everywhere. Indeed, the first findings of the ERTICO City Moonshot project, published this March, highlight Sustainability (air quality & climate change) as the number one issue for the 150 cities interviewed in phase one.”

EU urban mobility: healthier, safer, joined-up

The EU’s proposed new urban mobility framework emphasises sustainability, improving life for commuters, and helping cities fulfil their roles as essential transport hubs. “The focus has changed from traffic management to the movement of people and goods,” says Isabelle Vandoorne, deputy head of unit, European Commission DG MOVE. “This includes enabling stronger public transport networks, more active mobility such as walking and cycling, efficient zero-emission urban logistics and last-mile deliveries, and better management of mobility flows through multimodal hubs and digital solutions.”

Delivering this vision requires a holistic approach, connecting the dots across multiple disciplines and technologies. This will, for example, include a reinforced approach from EU institutions to TEN-T urban nodes: increasing from eight to 424 nodes by 2025, each with a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), and promoting more efficient low-noise zero-emission transport, greening urban fleets, and increasing the modal share of public transport and more active modes. As Vandoorne points out, “ERTICO has previously helped us to draft SUMP guides on key areas such as MaaS and ITS.”

‘A topic on everyone’s lips’

“This is a subject everyone is talking about it: using ITS in clean mobility to reduce pollutants and noise, improving health and quality of life, and in eco-mobility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the climate crisis,” says Jean-Charles Pandazis, senior manager of innovation and deployment, ERTICO-ITS Europe. In this area, he says ERTICO targeted activities include developing next-generation vehicles integrated into electrified transport infrastructure, deploying smart electro-mobility in cities and interurban corridors, a Europe-wide smart infrastructure for cleaner modes, and developing common methodologies to assess the impacts of ITS measures and solutions.

Global transport solutions provider Kapsch, an exhibitor at the congress, is measuring one such area: reducing traffic emissions through ITS, specifically tolling, traffic and demand management solutions. “Our vision is to contribute to a healthy world without congestion,” says Stefanie Gritzmann, environmental sustainability and corporate innovation, Kapsch. Transport contributes to one-quarter of all emissions in the EU, with road traffic causing more than 70% of transport emissions. Globally, 80% of citizens are subject to bad air quality.

“We need the right policies to support the right technologies,” Gritzmann continues. “In our own fields of expertise, we’ve seen distance-based road charging save up to 20% in CO2 emissions – the ‘polluter pays’ principle, underlined in EU law – and techniques like High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes reducing vehicles and congestion.” She points to other measures such as the impact of Low Emission Zones in cities such as London, Milan and Stockholm in reducing GHG emissions and particulates, and avoiding stop-and-go through improvements in traffic lighting and incident management. Fully connected vehicles and AI also have the potential to deliver further CO2 reductions, with more studies and common methodologies required.

Tracking activity

Monitoring is critical to learn from experience, define the way ahead, and keep developments on track. With active mobility a hot topic, Eco-Counter is an innovative French provider of solutions to count and analyse how people and vehicles move. Its solutions for bicycle, scooter and vehicle counting include magnetic loops, 2D cameras and AI algorithms, with matrix and digital displays to communicate data with citizens. “Bike usage and micromobility have increased a great deal,” says Philippe Delmas, client consultant. He says Eco-Counter is increasingly engaged in data science, going further with the data. “For example: data extrapolation, combining count data with GPS tracers for scooter mobility in Lyons with crash data from Vancouver on collisions between cyclists and cars, performing correlation analysis, and arriving at a map showing risk exposure.” Eco-Counter is also exhibiting at the Toulouse congress.

Building on experience: autonomous driving on public roads

Toulouse-based EasyMile is also contributing to the sustainability agenda with software and solutions for driverless mobility and goods transportation. “We partner with manufacturers to fully automate vehicles, with technology that’s built on safety-by-design,” says Olivier Pairot, product and marketing director. He says five years of deployment, with 180 shuttles running in locations worldwide, have meant significant learnings. “These include evidence of the real global demand for shared autonomous mobility, with a desire for fewer cars on the streets, and a business case supported by benefits such as reduced pollution and a safer environment.” As regulation become more stable and public acceptance increases, he believes the stage is set for Level 4 fully driverless operations. EasyMile is exhibiting at the ITS European Congress, and is involved in three technical visits.

“Autonomous mobility is another part of the jigsaw, as we move towards a more holistic approach to green and sustainable smart mobility,” adds Vantomme. “And it’s another example of innovation that visitors will see in action in Toulouse, alongside expert high-level speakers from Europe’s institutions and across the ITS ecosystem, and a wide-ranging programme of technical sessions and demonstrations. I look forward to seeing you in May!”

Learn more about the 2022 ITS European Congress.

Watch the whole webinar.

The Congress app launches on 1 May and the event opens Monday 30 May.

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).