Viewpoint on the 2015 ITS World Congress
First publishedin ITS World Congress
Didier Gorteman, Ertico - ITS Europe, chair of the organising committee
The next ITS World Congress will be held in stunning Bordeaux, France, from 5 – 9 October, 2015. Didier Gorteman, Ertico - ITS Europe, chair of the organising committee, explains how the event is shaping up.
Q The theme of next year’s ITS World Congress in Bordeaux is “Towards intelligent mobility – Better use of space”. Could you give an overview of how this theme will shape the event?
A The EPC chose this theme together with the host organisations. With the word space we want to make a link to space technology, Galileo and GNSS but also with the need for ‘space’ in transport - a lack of land for new infrastructure which drives innovative solutions.
The statement ‘Better use of space’ includes here both the terrestrial and the non-terrestrial meanings and benefits. Cities don’t have enough space and to meet increasing demands for mobility they have to be smarter with their delivery and management systems, which means deploying ITS. On the other hand, it is now the time to exploit the existing technologies and services arriving from the aerospace/satellite sector.
This theme – in both its meanings – will be central in next year’s Congress and all the topics will focus around it. We will have demonstrations on satellite navigation and tours around urban infrastructure.
Q The venue chosen comprises two world-class facilities - The Convention Centre Bordeaux and Exhibition Centre Bordeaux, just a five-minute walk apart?
A The Bordeaux Convention Centre or Palais des Congrès is the flagship of the new, top quality facility in an attractive contemporary building overlooking the lake of Bordeaux. It provides unmatched facilities for the Congress programme – 18 session rooms, a huge theatre for the major public events, such as the Plenary and Executive sessions, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
The Exhibition Centre Bordeaux or Parc des Expositions is a huge facility stretching over 30 hectares and offering 80,000m² of covered exhibition space. This space is ideal to host the expected 300+ exhibitors from all over the world as well as being the place for large networking areas such as the Interactive zone and the App networking area.
The big advantage of this site is that all the Congress activities will be held in the same place. The open road demonstration pickup/drop-off zone is, for example, close by the exhibition and the Congress halls. The demonstration car park is also on the exhibition centre premises and has an open sky zone but also a covered zone, to demonstrate urban canyons.
So, the stage will be set for what I believe will be the most successful and exciting event in transport of 2015. We expect more than 3,500 delegates for a total of 10,000 visitors. This is something that we have achieved already two years ago in Vienna and we believe that, with the programme we are putting together, we can repeat that success.
Q Picking up on your mention of demonstrations, how is the demonstration programme shaping up?
A We have had a huge response to our call for demonstration with very exciting proposals. I cannot, at this point, disclose much information because the selection process is still ongoing but we are very pleased with the submitted demos; so far we had received over 30 proposals from SMEs, universities, research institutes, government agencies, and private companies, including from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, UK, US, and of course France. The selected demos will mirror the seven main congress topics – Space technologies and services for ITS; Cooperative ITS deployment challenges; Multimodal transport for people and goods; Urban trends driving ITS changes; Solutions for sustainable mobility; Automated Roads, Automated Management, Automated Driving; and Big Data and Open Data.
To give you some of the highlights, delegates are going to have a unique opportunity to see cooperative ITS applications and vehicles communicating with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure. This is one of the aspects that excites us most; cooperative ITS will be demonstrated in different vehicles (cars, trucks, motorbikes) and also in real urban areas. The ITS World Congress will also host the European project Compass4D final event and demo. For this we are working on having between 15 and 20 vehicles demonstrating the project services both from the project partners and other companies to show the interoperable aspect of Compass4D services.
We will also see automated vehicles; automation is indeed one of the cutting-edge current topics in ITS, and we will experience the progress achieved by the industry during the Congress with special sessions and events. Finally, satellite navigation will be largely covered; after all France has been very much committed to the development of the civil satellite navigation programme Galileo which is expected to become fully operational in 2015.
Q The Call for Papers for the Congress programme has only just opened. Is it too early to provide a feel for that aspect of the event? For instance, will there be a Ministerial Roundtable?
A I cannot give you any information just yet, however, given the large success in Helsinki in June, we have decided to host again a Commercial theatre in the exhibition area that will house three different types of activity: Commercial Paper Sessions, Special Interest Sessions in the ‘Industry Insight’ stream, and Commercial Presentation Sessions. These sessions present near-market material activity aimed to create or improve a specific product, device or idea for the market, with a particularly strong commercial value. All sessions are presented to a more commercial audience than usual, specifically targeted to exhibition participants and visitors, in an interactive format. The deadline for submission of Technical Papers, abstracts and full Scientific Papers is 19 January 2015 and we expect to receive over 1,000 papers, from all of the three ITS regions (Europe, Middle East, Americas and Asia-Pacific).
About the Ministerial roundtable, as you know, we had a Ministerial meeting in Helsinki in which the European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas also participated. We are working very closely with the French Ministry of Transport on keeping the debate open in Bordeaux to see where we are in terms of deployment of ITS services.
We are also looking at having a public day, as in Vienna, to open the Congress doors to the general public as well to give them the opportunity to experience what intelligent transport systems and services can offer the society.
Q You are planning a social programme in line with France’s renowned hospitable reputation to enjoy all areas of interest in and around Bordeaux, its region, products and services?
A Bordeaux is a stunningly beautiful city to visit – it is on the Unesco World Heritage list with 347 historic monuments and its urban district of 1,810 hectares. Bordeaux is also the oldest vineyard region and one of the world’s major wine industry capitals.
With a location like this, our social programme is going to be more exciting than ever. I don’t want to spoil any surprise but let’s say that the wonderful hospitality of our hosts will mix with their passion for good wine in an unforgettable gala night in one of the most beautiful Chateaux of the Aquitaine region.
But coming back to the services and the modern infrastructure that Bordeaux offers, I think a mention of the remarkable technical visit programme is compulsory. It is worth mentioning the visit to Alienor, Bordeaux traffic information and management centre, and Gertrude, the system controlling traffic flow in the city. Also, participants can register for a unique visit to the Bordeaux maritime port where the hosts are working to have live demonstrations of multimodal sea-river-road transport for goods carriage as well as multimodal transport of the airbus A380 aircraft.
Last, but not least, I am looking forward to seeing Europe’s largest lift bridge, the majestic Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas crossing the river Garonne. Inaugurated in 2013, the bridge, the result of €160 million funding, is 575 metres long with the central lift span of 117 metres and can be lifted vertically up to 53 metres to let tall ships pass underneath.
With these premises, we are looking forward to the 2015 ITS World Congress and we trust it is going to be one of those events that everyone is going to remember for a long time. And in saying that, I have to acknowledge the strong support we are receiving from the French Ministry of Transport, the City of Bordeaux, Bordeaux Metropolis, the Departmental Council of the Gironde and the Aquitaine Region.