On Wednesday September 27th, the CiTTi EU conferenced began with an opening address from Graham Ellis, council member, Association of European Transport. The day’s topics included sessions on emissions and emission zones, parking and cycling within cities, as well as a look at the role of artificial intelligence in traffic systems. There were also discussions about autonomous vehicles and future solutions for transport issues within cities.
Speakers on the agenda for the first part of the day included: Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager, Transport and Environment; Dr Thomas Vanoutrive, lecturer at the University of Antwerp; Nico Zornig, director of smart Cities, TNO, Cornelia Dinka, founder, Sustainable Amsterdam and Dr. Sven Maerivoet, senior researcher, Transport and Mobility Leuven.
The first three morning sessions were dedicated to talks about low emissions and air quality. Julia Poliscanova was first to speak about vehicles in Europe, covering the issue of diesel vehicles and the impact they are having on the environment. She looked at biofuels and e-mobility as alternatives and solutions to reducing our CO2 emissions in order to reach the Paris Agreement goals – pointing out the electric vehicles are this most energy efficient vehicles.
Thomas Vanoutrive built upon such points when he spoke about the benefits and necessity of congestion charging and low emission zones. He drew examples from Belgium: the low emission zone in Antwerp and congestion charging for trucks. Nico Zornig was next to speak and he introduced CO2 road mapping for traffic and transport in Rotterdam as a means of meeting CO2 targets. Zornig explained the TNO CO2 road mapping approach, noting that this would require a collective effort from cities, urban transport systems as well cooperation when it comes to the formulation and implementation of policy measures.
Following on from the morning break, a fifty minute panel discussion about the “smartest way to get around your city” took place. The panel was led by Graham Ellis as he discussed questions of “what needs to change and how do we change it?” with panellists Cornelia Dinka and Thomas Vanoutrive. Cornelia gave a short presentation about the transformation of Amsterdam’s traffic and transport over the years as the city strived for visions on modernity, liveability and sustainable safety. Likewise, she touched upon issues of space, electro-mobility and future technologies.
Sven Maerivoet spoke before the lunch break about artificial intelligence and traffic systems. He began with a brief explanation and some contextual information about artificial intelligence and how it works. Maerivoet then went on to explain how artificial intelligence can prove useful in helping to improve traffic and ease congestion which, in turn can help to shorten commutes and reduce emissions within in the city. Maerivoet also participated in a discussion but autonomous vehicles where he and Graham engaged with the audience to see their thoughts on self-driving vehicles within the city.
Post-lunch Vaclav Lukes, mobility specialist, Prague City Hall, gave a presentation about automated monitoring in paid parking zones in Prague. He spoke about the modal split in Prague, noting that in 2016 29% of residents’ preferred method of travel was by car. Lukes explained Prague’s new digitised parking management system, covering paying methods, data management, controlling methods and pricing policies. He also spoke about the financial aspects, any problematic issues and plans or the future.
Steve Coulson, CFO, JustPark gave an insight into how the company’s parking app works, pointing out that we aren’t making the most of the space available in cities. Therefore, the JustPark app allows for transparency, so that drivers know the costs they will incur before their arrival so that they can whether they wish to drive into the city. This can help reduce congestion and footfall, as well as improving public image.
To finish off day one of the CiTTi conference, Ronald Soemers, mobility manager Heart of Brabant, City of Tilburg and Lisette Hoek, project co-ordinator and researcher, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences spoke about cycling in the city of Tilburg. Their presentation covered life cycle highway development in the Heart of Brabant, which is a project aimed at increasing the use of bicycles (included e-cycles) instead of cars. The goal is to make Brabant the cycling capital of the world by 2020 and this can be achieved by building a cycle highway which will also help to lower emissions as cycling is a sustainable alternative for car use.
After a successful first day, CiTTi conference opened day two with a presentation from Ron van der Lans, programme Manager – open and big data, City of Amsterdam. He spoke about the role that data plays a smart city and, in turn, smart mobility as it allows for cooperation with partners and innovative outsourcing by making use of real time data.
Speakers to follow included: Mark Frequin, director general for mobility and transport, Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment; Pieter van der Stoep, account manager – connected and autonomous vehicles, RDW; Edouard Barreiro, public affairs director, UPS West Europe; Lia Hsu, project manager, Connekt; Jon Harris, international professional development co-ordinator, CILT International and Dr Lucy Mahoney, principal strategy planner – road and safety, Transport for London.
Mark Frequin highlighted the challenges of mobility in and around cities, as well that looking at the corresponding policy strategy. He highlighted ongoing growth of mobility and urbanisation, compliance with European regulations and agreements on air quality, mobility and urban design, as well as safety and security to be the four biggest challenges of mobility.
Pieter van der Stoep spoke next about autonomous cars. His presentation covered the benefits of connected and automated driving, addressing the questions of whether connected and automated driving is the solution for mobility issues. Stoep spoke about current possibilities and surrounding development of future legislation concerning autonomous vehicles.
After the networking break the topic changed to city logistics. Edouard Barreiro started off the discussion with his presentation on sustainable logistics in the city. He noted that efficiency means sustainability and that city logistics are becoming a new challenge when it comes to sustainability – but with new challenges come new approaches and solutions. Barreiro gave an example from UPS and how every round is optimised, with stops for the day being analysed to identify the best route. Likewise, in response to new challenges, UPS has come up with some new approaches, such as the use of alternative fuels, electrification of vehicles in their fleet and cycle logistics.
Next to speak was Lia Hsu from Connekt and she introduced two programmes: Green Deal Zero Emission City Logistics and Lean & Green. Green Dear Zero Emission City Logistics aims to reduce harmful emissions resulting from city logistics to zero and therefore the parties involved in the programme strive to supply goods to cities with zero emissions by 2025. The Lean and Green programme sets out to achieve the same goal of zero emissions, but with an emphasis on collaboration between shippers, logistics service providers, carriers, retailers and ports, terminals, airliners. Once the goal has been achieved, a lean and green certification is awarded.
The two sessions on city logistics was followed on by a panel discussion with Jon Harris and Edouard Barreiro. Harris gave a short presentation on the attitudes, behaviours and habits within city freight logistics. He also gave an example case study from Birmingham which entailed a reduction of air pollution due to freight and the toolkit that was used to remedy this issue.
The final two sessions of the day covered issues of health and safety on the streets of London and a look at urban mobility in Imatra, Finland. Dr Lucy Mahoney form TfL introduced the ‘Healthy Streets’ and ‘Vision Zero’ approach for London, demonstrating the link between improved health and safety within a city that can also help to lower emissions and reduce congestion within the city. She also highlighted that a healthier way of moving around the city is also an opportunity to improve public transport and provide an opportunity for new homes and jobs to be generated. Likewise, the Vision Zero approach plays into the making “Healthy Streets’ successful.
To end day two of the conference on high note, Päivi Pekkanen spoke about opportunities for developing mobility services in small urban areas, such as Imatra. Pekkanen spoke about various stratagies that have been implemented in Imatra to boost transport options and achieve savings. She covered issues and solutions regarding car sharing (including electrical), school transportation, looking at private versus public transport, mobility as a service (MaaS), as well as possible future technologies that can help.