City mayors, DOT directors, company CEOs and ITS association chiefs (including Jacob Bangsgaard, Shailen Bhatt and Hajime Amano) gathered for the High Level Round Table at the ITS World Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark, yesterday (September 18).
ITS UK’s Eric Sampson acted as master of ceremonies and, after a networking lunch and group photo, addressed the gathered luminaries, commenting first on the impressive turn out. “I’m delighted to see so many different countries, cities and organizations represented,” he said. “This is an opportunity for people from the public and private sectors to talk frankly to each other about transport concerns. To share information on what’s known and what’s possible and, perhaps most importantly, to identify when there’s something missing or not understood and we need to do some more work. We want you to talk and be open and be innovative.”
Ninna Hedeager Olsen, mayor of technical and environmental affairs in Copenhagen, then took to the podium. “I am so happy that you are all here today,” she said. “We can use our combined brain power to create solutions for tomorrow. Use our different perspectives to create transport systems that are smarter, greener and healthier and better for tomorrow. Welcome all of you. I have no doubt that we will leave today with new inspiration, ideas and an expanded network.”
Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO of host organization ERTICO-ITS Europe, then spoke of the ‘extraordinary event’ that has grown up at the Congress and is now a traditional part of it, adding that this was the most impressive high-level round table he had ever participated in. “We are going to discuss intelligent and efficient mobility and smarter ways to move data, people and goods,” he continued. “And all this is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the countries in which we are living in. We are here today to discuss across borders – and across sectors. This is in the core DNA of ERTICO – to bring sectors together and to bring countries together and to discuss how can we move forward by learning from each other’s mistakes, but also from learning from good practices. So, we are really expecting you to be open and to share your knowledge about what is happening in your sector and your country so that we all bring back with us new ideas to innovate and to change the world of tomorrow.”
The room of more than 110 participants was then split into five separate groups for an hour and a half of discussions tabled to address such questions as: How can we achieve a modal shift in cities? And: How can we manage urban space use for public transport, active modes and private vehicles, to deliver enhanced green mobility and accommodate highly automated vehicles?
To ensure an open forum and preserve anonymity, the discussions took place strictly behind closed doors. However, the results of this extraordinary meeting of minds will be reported to the wider Congress later this week.