Press releases

IT-TRANS convinces with digital appearance

For the seventh time, IT-TRANS, as the world's leading conference and exhibition, is serving the future topic of digitally linked urban mobility. Due to the Corona pandemic, the global industry meeting from December 1 to 3 2020 brought together for the first time 1,750 experts from 60 countries on an interactive event platform. Participants from all continents were present, exchanging views on current challenges within the industry and expanding their networks.

The pandemic has accelerated the implementation of new technologies, while at the same time highlighting the importance of digitizing public transport. "International IT and mobility experts came together at IT-TRANS to discuss the future of urban mobility. A platform that is of great importance especially in these uncertain times, in which public transport in particular is characterized by major upheavals. We planned and discussed how processes can be optimized with the help of smart software, how passenger experiences can be improved and, especially in times of pandemics, how trust can be created and safe use can be offered," confirms Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Messe Karlsruhe, which organizes IT-TRANS together with the International Association for Public Transport (UITP). "We are grateful that the IT-TRANS community has accepted the digital edition so fantastically. We have created this trade and information centre for the industry due to our large industry network and our expertise as organisers of both real and digital events, coupled with the in-depth industry knowledge of the UITP as a global representative of public transport. The 13,600 chat messages sent out on our platform, the significant number of four-eye conversations via video call and the fact that each participant attended an average of four sessions clearly demonstrated the need for information and exchange," explains Britta Wirtz. "The feedback from all participants and their anticipation of 2022 shows that the personal experience in our exhibition halls in the IT hub Karlsruhe is irreplaceable.“

Discussions on the way out of the Corona crisis

„This year we have lived through many changes to the ways in which we connect and share with one another. COVID-19 has altered how events are held, and how we review what is happening within public transport“, says Pere Calvet, UITP President. „What we know for certain is that the sector needs us to continue the necessary conversations to advance urban mobility - and by moving to a digital edition for 2020, IT-TRANS did this, and more. It was my pleasure to address the audience, and to see experts come together to consider what digitalisation is doing for public transport now, and in the future.“

The conference sessions, which were streamed live, addressed topics such as mobile ticketing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous driving, on-demand and shared mobility, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), data management and intelligent traffic management. The focus of numerous discussions was COVID-19 and the question of how public transport can emerge stronger from this crisis with the help of intelligent technologies. UITP designed the conference programme, which was attended by acknowledged experts.

One of the 150 speakers was Michael Pellot, Director of Corporate Reputation at Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona: “I have been participating almost uninterruptedly in IT-TRANS since its creation in 2008, because it represents an international reference for information technologies applied to mobility and public transport. Despite the fact that unfortunately this year we have not been able to meet in person, the technological solution chosen by the organizers is quite complete and allows us to achieve most of the event's objectives. My perception is that everything has worked to a remarkable level. However, I hope that in the next edition we can meet again personally.”

250 companies presented themselves virtually

In 29 Market Update Forums and 45 Virtual Roundtables, the 250 participating companies, start-ups and institutions presented their intelligent solutions via video and exchanged best practice examples in small groups in cities around the globe. “Congratulations to IT-TRANS for the perfect organisation of this event in these difficult and challenging times. Although direct contact cannot be replaced by an online platform, which by the way works very well, the event was a good opportunity to present ourselves, learn a lot and make some good contacts“, says Werner Kutil, Business Development of the French supplier Cityway. „Cityway is looking forward to a successful and long-lasting partnership with IT-TRANS in the future.”

Forecast: Urban mobility in 2035

The conference session "Public Transport 2035: Digitalization leading the way" focused on urban mobility in 15 years. The common vision of the speakers: In 2035, there will continue to be means of transportation with large capacities, while at the same time on-demand services will find their place in the market. They will experiment with new sources of income, work on improving the customer experience and making the best use of travel time. Concepts such as Mobility as a Service will continue to be seen as a guiding principle. It is therefore essential that the various mobility offers are linked even more seamlessly with each other. This will reduce individual traffic and discourage people from using their own car for each journey, thus contributing to the achievement of climate targets, the five speakers predicted.

The experts from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Los Angeles and New York also pointed out that the increasing digitization of the sector is leading to exponential data growth, which makes data protection and cyber security part of the discussion. In addition, the industry will continue to focus on the nationwide introduction of central payment systems and on strengthening passenger trust and loyalty, especially with regard to the digitization of public transportation.

Joint discussion groups of all participants at After Fair

Parallel to IT-TRANS, the Taxi & Ride-hailing Conference, also a digital event, took place. The UITP had previously hosted it in Dubai and London, before it was now hosted for the first time together with Messe Karlsruhe. Both groups of experts met in the format After Fair after the end of the respective conference and lecture program for networking and discussion. Søren Sørensen, Smart Mobility Facilitator and MaaS Ambassador, SFMCON ApS, Denmark, opened a panel discussion in the After Fair: „I hosted an informal virtual get together in the format After Fair on how to create critical mass for MaaS: good attendance and inspiring input from all participants. However a digital conference cannot deliver the full experience from the physical one. I look forward to travel to Karlsruhe again in 2022.”

Looking forward to live exhibition in 2022

Project manager Jochen Georg sums up: "We are grateful to our exhibitors, visitors and partners for their flexibility in going this way with us and at the same time we are already looking forward to IT-TRANS taking place again as a Live event with digital components at the Karlsruhe Exhibition Center from March 8 to 10, 2022. Together with our exhibitors, the planning for this event has already begun".

Public transport sector to meet again at IT-TRANS 2022

IT-TRANS, the international conference and exhibition for intelligent solutions in public transport, is set to resume its role as the international meeting point for the public and private transport sector for the seventh time. The event will be held from 8 to 10 March 2022 across around 28,000 square metres of space in two halls at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. It will showcase digital mobility systems that both respond to individual passenger needs and build on a flexible, on-demand combination of various modes of transportation. There will also be solutions that help transport companies with transport planning, fleet management or staff deployment. The parallel conference will feature 150 speakers in 30 sessions, including presentations, podium discussions and workshops. “Following the cancellation of IT-TRANS 2020 due to the pandemic, we are delighted to welcome back the international public transport industry”, says project manager Jochen Georg. “The event is more relevant than ever. Around 75% of the total exhibition space has already been booked, with 190 exhibitors from 27 countries.”

Future Mobility Award: Award ceremony on July 7 in Baden-Baden

IT-TRANS is not only an important platform for the big names in the industry to present their products and services. A large number of start-ups are also set to present their clever new ideas at the international exhibition. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) is supporting German newcomers’ participation through a dedicated programme. International start-ups will also benefit from special conditions.

In the run-up to IT-TRANS, organiser Messe Karlsruhe will shine the spotlight on these up-and-coming small businesses. Together with the industry publication Nahverkehrs-praxis and aen – automotive. engineering. network, Messe Karlsruhe will showcase start-ups from around the world whose innovative ideas are shaping the future of sustainable mobility. The Future Mobility Award will be presented at the Regional Conference Mobilitätswende, to be held on 6 and 7 July 2021 in Baden-Baden.

On 6 July, the finalists will have the chance to virtually pitch their ideas to an expert jury and a broad audience. The highlight of the day will be the keynote speech by Dr Till Ackermann, Head of Economics and Business Development at the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV). He will speak about digital transformation in public transport, and how government and start-ups can help. The Future Mobility Award will then be presented on 7 July, with the winning start-up receiving a cash prize of 5,000 euros and a professional coaching programme. Both the presentation of the start-ups and the award ceremony, along will all other items in the programme, will be streamed live online. More information is available at

Smart solutions for new challenges

The challenges and developments resulting from the pandemic will play a central role at IT-TRANS 2022. “Our industry will continue to feel the effects of the pandemic for many years to come”, explains Dr Alexander Pischon, Managing Director of the Karlsruhe Transport Authority (KVV). “We are working on flexible and needs-based solutions for our passengers that reflect the changes in the way we work, for example, such as more frequent working from home.” These include alternative mobility systems like mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) that respond to passenger needs for comfort and flexibility. As customers increasingly require more information, intelligent software can provide a solution.

One of the main requirements is real-time information on vehicle occupancy. Public transport companies are faced with the challenge of preventing overcrowding on buses and trains, even after the pandemic. With its MOBILEguide passenger information system, IT-TRANS exhibitor INIT delivers a staged system that lets transport companies forecast vehicle occupancy levels. This information can then be integrated into passenger display systems and used for operational management. In the first stage, the occupancy information is based on empirical values. In the expansion stage, MOBILEguide takes real-time passenger numbers into account, along with historical data on typical embarking and alighting behaviour. This allows transport companies to precisely show passengers how much space is available through an app, for example. As a result, passengers can practice social distancing or look for a suitable alternative connection.

The international trade fair, together with the accompanying three-day conference, will also focus on other key topics related to the increasingly diverse and digitalised world of urban mobility. These will include contactless ticketing, 5G and telecommunications, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and on-demand mobility services, along with data storage and management. The call for papers will be issued at the end of August 2021.

Karlsruhe: the model region for mobility in Europe

Karlsruhe is an important model region for mobility and is home to many innovations. The city’s tram-train system is known internationally as the Karlsruhe model. The regiomove project, which began in 2017 under the management of KVV, combines public and private mobility providers. It enables a combination of different modes of transport, ranging from bikes, buses and trains to cars, scooters and trams. Passengers can therefore use the various modes of transport flexibly and conveniently. The project offers a seamless mobility and service chain from a single provider. Passengers can plan, book and pay for journeys with all modes of transport via the joint regiomove app.

Karlsruhe is also Europe’s third-largest IT hub, with a high density of companies in the IT and communications sector. This has made it a pioneer in transport, with many intelligent systems for directing, managing and providing information for transport developed and trialled here, before being used around the world. With this expertise and the city’s renowned research institutes, Karlsruhe is also involved in the EU’s Urban Mobility project. Together with the European Commission, member states, experts and interest groups, the city is playing a leading role in this key topic. The ongoing expansion of the Karlsruhe tram network is attracting global attention, reinforcing the city’s role as a model region for future mobility. On top of this, Karlsruhe also acts as a testing ground for autonomous vehicles. The EVA-Shuttle project, for example, tests connected and driverless minibuses under real conditions in the city, with a safety driver on hand at all times.

The city also fulfils its pioneering role through a partnership with the UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, in the UITP Karlsruhe Mobility Innovation Partnership. This partnership is reinforced with a UITP branch office in the city, along with the UITP Regional Training Centre Karlsruhe.

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