ITS leaders from three continents discuss coronavirus response

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The heads of ITS-Arab and ITS Estonia have joined a former ITS America President to discuss the implications of the coronavirus crisis in their regions, in a new webinar, organised by ITS (UK)

Independent consultant Scott Belcher (left), the former President and CEO of ITS America, told host Paul Hutton that the transport industry there is being devastated. “Air travel is down 95%,” he said. “If you go to an airport, you’re really in no man’s land. There’s there’s virtually nobody there. On the highway system, take the biggest holiday in your country and, and multiply it times 10. And that’s what it’s like. This has a huge implication for our country because much of our transportation is funded by gas taxes… which have fallen off a cliff.”

In Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Serroukh (right), director general of ITS-Arab and also general manager at Kapsch in the region, explained how lockdown happened fast. “It started off with all international flights stopped, and that developed into schools closing, all the shopping malls, the restaurants. Travelling between cities was also stopped. So now we’re in a position where to leave your neighbourhood to go anywhere, you have to go online to apply for a permit before you can get out.”

The use of speed cameras to enforce the lockdown was discussed with Serroukh saying that, “Technology already in employment has definitely been used and customised in some cases, to provide early data or even insight… to provide some kind of early warning or enforcement. But they’ve also been very quick in developing and deploying online applications for like the permits and delivery services of food, etc.”

Head of ITS Estonia, Maara Rannama (above) discussed how there is a hope that the country may be looking to come out of the lockdown fairly soon, but that she doubted things would return to the way they were, “I think there are changes of a paradigm here. The way people behave, it can’t be the exact same again… or at least it will take years. I think we should think more about digital solutions. I can see from my side, from our members side, that many of them have already have already reacted very quickly with really smart solutions. We should focus more and more on digital.”

The entire 30 minute webinar is available on YouTube

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early 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).

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