Cooperation was perhaps the key theme of presentations on Day 1 of the ITS European Congress 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.
The mobility sector "needs to be part of a bigger picture and contribute to a wider vision", said Angelos Amditis, chairman of Ertico - ITS Europe.
For sustainable mobility to be a reality, it needs consideration of many other interlocking factors to be considered, such as energy, governance and connectivity.
"Any of these pillars affects the other," he added. Infrastructure - both physical and digital - will be one of the most challenging things to get right.
"We need to cooperate and collaborate," said Joost Vantomme, CEO of Ertico, who emphasised the need for public and private sectors, academia, governments and other stakeholders to share knowledge and experience.
Mobility players are growing not only in quantity but in diversity, with a variety of start-ups represented at the Congress.
"Is MaaS the end of the journey? What comes next?" asked Amditis. "ITS holds the promise to change the rules of the game. We have a great deal of exciting work ahead of us. Let's enjoy together this journey."
At a press conference, Michael Schuch, CEO of Swarco, sounded a less optimistic note by asking: "Why are ITS deployments not happening fast enough?"
He expressed frustration at European countries' failure to agree on standards for lane marking, pointing out that this was critical for the roll out of connected and autonomous vehicles, and for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
"What this means for ADAS, if you can't see the lines, you can imagine," he continued.
There are also compatibility issues with newer technology and legacy systems, he cautioned. "Some of the infrastructure is 30 years old," Schuch said.
"It's far from being replaced. One of the hurdles is cost: maintenance budgets in public authorities are cut or not maintained adequately."
But he agreed that cooperation was key: "Our complex world of ITS cannot be handled by individual stakeholders any more."