EXCLUSIVE: ITS leaders delighted as World Congress breaks records


With the atmosphere buzzing at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg yesterday (Tuesday, October 12), and over 13,000 attendee registrations (a record if all attend) it was no surprise that chance meetings TTi had with key event organisers and speakers uncovered unanimous and unfettered approval for an event that, at some points over the last 18 months, looked like it might not happen…

Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO, ERTICO-ITS Europe:

“We didn’t always expect to experience what we are experiencing this week. To be honest, it was a very, very difficult preparation for this one – probably twice as much work has been put into to make this happen as a normal World Congress. We have been working for three years to make it happen. And the last year has been extremely difficult. So that makes it just so much more pleasant to see the excitement in people joining here and meeting colleagues for the for the first time in one and a half years.

“A couple of months ago, we were hoping for five, maybe 6,000 and now being more than 13,000. It’s just fantastic. I know my team has been really working above and beyond to make this happen. And it’s been extremely hard work and now they have this great result – it makes all the hard work worth it.”

Roger Millar, secretary of transportation, Washington State DOT:

“These congresses are always very valuable to me because of the relationships that you establish at them with other people. They also enable you to measure each other’s progress and you are able to see and hear about all these great ideas. Every Congress I go to I learn something new that I take back and apply to my day-to-day work. And that’s really the great value. It wasn’t the same in the virtual space. The virtual room doesn’t have virtual coffee! You can’t bump into people in the same way.”


Jennie Martin, secretary general, ITS (UK):

“It’s better than we could have even hoped for. I’m so pleased for our German colleagues, because they this must have been so stressful for them In the last year trying to guess which way it’s going to work, and what’s going to be appropriate to do, and they’ve got it absolutely right. It’s really successful. Everybody’s so happy to be here. I haven’t heard anyone be apprehensive or worried in any way. Everyone’s enjoying themselves, enjoy seeing all the colleagues again, and the attendance is really good. It’s such a big success.”

Eric Sampson, ITS World Congress programme advisor:

“I think what we’re experiencing is mass relief, delight and enthusiasm! The fact that at last, we can have a face-to-face meeting. I can’t remember it exactly, but there’s a Chinese saying that talking to a wise person is worth 1,000 books. And that’s the Congress. You talk to wise people every day, all the time. And the numbers we have here are startling. We had hopes… we had high hopes. But this is right off the scale of even our highest hopes.”

Samspon, who has attended every world congress since the first one in Paris in 1994, wore a tie specially designed and made for this year’s event in Hamburg

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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).