ITS Congress: four days in France

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Global congress discusses intelligent mobility and autonomous driving. Road User Charging was there…

More than 10,000 global leaders from 100 countries in the intelligent transport solutions (ITS) industry have rounded off four days of discussion and demonstrations at the 22nd annual ITS World Congress in Bordeaux, France.

The Congress, run by ERTICO – ITS Europe, explored the theme of Towards Intelligent Mobility – Better Use of Space, and was attended by experts from the public and private sectors, as well as academics, researchers and engineers, representing all corners of the ITS industry. A wide range of issues and topics was covered, with the recurring theme and topic of debate being how to move the industry from a mind-set of design and development, to one of implementation and mass acceptance.

This ‘apex tipping point’ included a number of debates about how intelligent mobility will change consumers lives in the short and long term, specifically when considering the latest developments in driverless and connected vehicles, which include technical developments such as geo-location, earth observation and communications.

The event placed a spotlight on the new opportunities emerging in intelligent transportation, as shown by a host of international manufacturers. Delegates attended more than 270 sessions and experienced the latest products and services from more than 100 companies worldwide. An exhibition space of more than 25,000 square meters was filled with innovative new technology from hundreds of the world’s leading firms.

A number of accompanying events and initiatives were planned to coincide with the Congress. The ‘24 Hours of Innovation Student Competition’ encouraged students to team up to develop creative ITS solutions over 24 hours. An on-site hackathon also tasked academics and start-up companies with using the MOBiNET platform to develop new innovations. The Congress B2B Meeting Facility was a hive of activity, giving companies the opportunity to arrange meetings with new potential customers and business partners.

The event programme contained more than 270 technical sessions, featuring 1,000 international and local speakers from the ITS industry. Guests enjoyed a glittering social calendar, with dozens of networking events and an unforgettable gala night at the stunning and historic Bordeaux Chateaux. From the plethora of topics delegates were spoiled for choice in their search for the latest thinking and most innovative solutions to the challenges facing road users today.

The conference was split into several topics, each containing a variety of talks and presentations to suit, including: Ministerial Round Tables; Plenary Sessions; Executive Sessions; High-Level Technology Summits; Special Interest Sessions; Technical/Scientific Sessions; Stakeholder Workshops; International Benefits, Evaluation, and Costs Sessions; French Sessions; General Public Sessions; Interactive Sessions; Commercial Paper Sessions; Special Interest Sessions in the Industry Insight Stream; Project Dissemination; and Commercial Presentation Sessions. The topics included:
• 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
• Are Big Data and Open Data Transport’s ‘Silver Bullets’?
• Cross Cutting

Within these subjects were plenty of opportunities to hear about tolling and road user charging and how it fits into the intelligent mobility concept.
In Multimodal Transport for People and Goods there was a Commercial Paper session on Tolling and Payment Technologies. Moderated by Takakazu Tsuji of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, the session heard from various systems around the world currenly in operation, including:
• Electronic toll service using NFC contactless communication via smartphone – Laurent Bessou, SANEF, France
• Use of ANPR for optimised toll roads operations: tolling applications – Nicholas Schwab, VINCI Autoroutes, France
• Belarus – experiences with a nationwide tolling system in Eastern Europe – Roman Himmler, Kapsch TrafficCom AG, Austria
• Is 100% possible? – Hagai Tal, Advanced Solutions Road Systems Ltd, Israel
• D SRC enforcement for autonomous EFC with smart phone based OBE – Ola Lykkja, Q-Free ASA, Norway
• Easytoll tolling system – André Costa, Brisa Innovation, Portugal
• Road demand control based upon utp electracop – Mikhail Molchanov, Matsur & Co., Inc., USA
• HU-GO Hungarian GNSS AET system – 2 years of experience & new fields of utilisation – Zoltán Varga, TOLL SERVICE PLC – Hungary

In the Urban Trends Driving ITS Changes topic a Technical/Scientific Session was held to discuss the issue of Timetabling, Ticketing and Payment. Moderated Jorge Vieira da Silva of MTA (Mobility, Ticketing & Applications) in Belgium, speakers included:

• Innovation in integrated ticketing and payment systems: scenario in Europe and Brazil – Guido Di Pasquale, Pluservice, Italy
• Transnational exchange of timetable and GIS data as a basis for cross-border ITS services – David Geroe, Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR) GmbH / ITS Vienna Region, Austria
• The benefits, technology and challenges of all electronic toll systems – Chris Body, Kapsch TrafficCom IVHS, USA
• Urban trends and intermodal mobility services beyond technical feasibility – Gordon Isaac, BMW AG, Germany

The Solutions for Sustainable Mobility topic saw a very interesting Technical/Scientific Session on Pricing and Tolling Initiatives. This was moderated by the Tokyo University of Science’s Makoto Itami, and saw presentations from speakers such as:
• Promoting eco-driving by deploying the environmental electronic toll – Wen-Jing Huang, CECI Engineering Consultants, Inc., Taiwan
• Cloud-based ETC technologies and their use in the private sector in Japan – Yasutomo Uenishi, ITS Technology Enhancement Association, Japan
• ETC certification: qualification of CEN DSRC electronic toll equipments in the ITS context – Gwenaelle Toulminet, ASFA, France
• Assessment of implementing an electronic toll collection system (Korea) for freight – Yoonhyuk Choi, Korea Expressway Corporation Research Institute, Republic of Korea
• Mobility pricing: paradigm shift from toll financed infrastructure to sustainable mobility – Michael Gschnitzer, Kapsch TrafficCom, Austria
• The state of tolling interoperability initiatives – Mahrokh Arefi, Sanef ITS, USA

Finally, the Special Interest Session discussing the European Electronic Toll Service: implementation and future evolution of the service fell under the topic of Automated Roads, Automated Management, Automated Driving. This was moderated by Hubert Resch of ASFINAG, Austria and included speakers such as Eva Tznoneva (Shell, Poland); Kallistratos Dionelis (ASECAP, Greece); Jan Szulczyk (EC, Poland); Ugo de Carolis (Telepass, Italy); Jürgen Steinmeyer (DKV, Germany); and Jérôme Lejeune (Axxès, France).

The project Regional European Electronic Toll Service (REETS) currently focuses on setting-up pilot operations of EETS compliant services as a transit to a market of interoperable toll Services: 1. Implementation of interoperable EETS services: Implementation of REETS Service Providers (new toll domains, technical solutions, supporting services, customer relationship management, major challenges). 2. From REETS to EETS: Evaluation of the regulatory framework; Operation of the future EETS information platform and how the project contributes to development of the SP market in Europe.

Hermann Meyer, the CEO of ERTICO – ITS Europe, was clearly delighted by the event. In a statement, he said: “This year’s Congress has clearly shown that there’s never been a more exciting time to be in the intelligent transportation industry. Whether it be driverless cars roaming the streets of Bordeaux while ‘talking’ to the city’s infrastructure, to news sensors in our cycles, phones or satellites, this Congress has given us an opportunity to bring together the key figures from our global industry to discuss and showcase the developments which will soon be transforming the way we work and live.”

He concluded: “We are truly at a tipping point, and I look forward to continuing the good work of this industry as it makes a transition from being focused on the design and development of ITS products and services, to one of implementation and mass acceptance.”

The next ITS World Congress will be in Melbourne, Australia 10-14 October 2016. Go to for details and submission deadlines.

This article was published in the November 2015 issue of Road User Charging