IT-TRANS continues healthy growth

Global meeting of intelligent transport attracts more than 6,000 mobility experts to Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre

Larger and more international than ever before, IT-TRANS presented itself for the sixth time over the past three days. The growing significance of digital solutions for public transport is reflected in the visitor count: 6,000 international experts (2016: 5,000) came to Karlsruhe between 6 and 8 March to discuss the mobility of tomorrow. Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre was a global meeting point for the sector, playing host to thought leaders from some 60 nations. Roughly one in seven visitors came from outside Europe. All continents were represented, with marked growth in visitors from the Middle East, Africa and Australia.

As Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress GmbH, emphasised: “IT-TRANS 2018 presented a very impressive overall picture of a highly dynamic subject in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion, one of the most high-profile mobility regions in the world. Having won over the expert community with our exhibition, conference and accompanying programme, the logical next step is to expand our exhibition space to two halls in 2020.”

Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General UITP: “As co-organiser, UITP is delighted with the success of the 2018 edition of IT-TRANS. The record number of speakers, exhibitors and participants illustrates the importance of this event to the public transport industry and the ongoing debate over digital thinking. I am very happy that this year’s IT-TRANS is the most diverse yet.”

Half of exhibitors from abroad

A total of 260 exhibitors (2016: 210 exhibitors) presented digital solutions for future public transport on an area measuring 15,000 square metres. In addition to many European exhibitors, IT-TRANS featured exhibitors from Canada, China, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan and the USA. This means that the proportion of exhibitors from outside Germany has once again increased significantly, now accounting for half of the total figure.

The Volocopter welcomed visitors at the entrance hall of Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre
The Volocopter welcomed visitors at the entrance hall of Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre

This year, both the dm-arena exhibition hall and the entrance hall were fully booked. Here, twelve partners from the realms of science and research, business and the public sector demonstrated Karlsruhe’s strengths in IT and mobility at Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion’s joint stand. One of the exhibitors there was Volocopter GmbH from Bruchsal. As shareholder Stefan Klocke reports: “With our autonomous air taxi, we aim to bring three-dimensional mobility to the major cities of the world. As a company from the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion, we were delighted to meet visitors from many megacities at IT-TRANS.”

IT-TRANS has its sights set high

One area of particular focus at this year’s IT-TRANS was autonomous mobility solutions. In addition to the Volocopter, a self-driving bus attracted particular attention. The “Trapizio”, presented by exhibitor AMoTech – a company belonging to Trapeze Switzerland – took exhibition visitors on a demonstration route from the entrance to the exhibition hall. As AMoTech Managing Director Dominique Müller reports: “Having our test course right at the entrance to the hall was ideal. Many visitors took advantage of this opportunity to experience the future of mobility at first hand.”

Many visitors tested the
Many visitors tested the "Trapizio" on the demonstration track for autonomous driving

Another highlight for participants was the pilot phase of the on-demand ridesharing service launched by the moovel Group and Karlsruhe Transport Network (KVV) during IT-TRANS. Visitors and local Karlsruhe residents ordered their journey via the “KVV.mobil” app, after which a van collected them at their location and brought them to one of 100 stops served within the city – without any rigidly defined timetable. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, CEO of the moovel Group, said: “We are very grateful to the organisers of IT-TRANS for a very successful exhibition and for giving us the opportunity to present our moovel on-demand ridesharing service to their visitors. We are already looking forward to the next IT-TRANS in two years’ time.” The new mobility service is based on moovel’s on-demand platform, which uses intelligent “routing” and “pooling” to deploy a needs-oriented, flexible fleet with maximum efficiency. Routes are constantly calculated and updated, factoring in real-time data from traffic updates and the public transport network.

78.2 percent of exhibitors wish to participate in the next IT-TRANS again. This also applies for Swiss company InnoTix, which was exhibiting at an exhibition for the very first time. Owner and Managing Director Lukas Haldemann: “IT-TRANS went well beyond our expectations. Even if only half of the contacts actually lead to projects, I don’t know yet how we will cope with this huge demand. We have already booked our stand for 2020.” By the close of the exhibition, over half of this year’s space had already been booked by exhibitors for 2020.

Top scores awarded by visitors

Visitors to IT-TRANS were also extremely positive about their exhibition experience: 95.8 percent gave top scores, 92.8 percent intend to return and one in two visitors only attended IT-TRANS and no other exhibition in this sector. For 70.1 percent of visitors, IT-TRANS is an important basis for investment decisions. Dr. Jürgen Greschner, init SE Management Board: “IT-TRANS has the perfect location in Karlsruhe. After all, it meets a uniquely innovative ecosystem here. Representatives from research, industry, transport companies and policymaking all join forces in Karlsruhe’s Cluster for Transport Excellence, forming the perfect basis for the world’s leading event for intelligent transport solutions.”

High-calibre conference with internationally renowned experts

A total of 159 speakers shared an estimated 47 hours of concentrated, hands-on knowledge. The increasing relevance of the topics being presented resulted in a marked increase in participants: 580 participants (2016: 488) from 47 different countries came to find out about cyber security, ticketing and payment, autonomous vehicles and mobility-as-a-service. The conference programme was supplemented through market update forums held by exhibitors in the exhibition.

A total of 159 speakers shared an estimated 47 hours of concentrated, hands-on knowledge.
A total of 159 speakers shared an estimated 47 hours of concentrated, hands-on knowledge.

IT-TRANS was also the venue for numerous parallel events. Delegations of high-ranking representatives from governments and municipalities of the European Union (EU) came together to discuss the future of urban mobility. In addition, associations and institutions made use of IT-TRANS for constructive get-togethers. For instance, the “Women in Mobility” network met for the second time at the exhibition. KMK Managing Director Britta Wirtz feels that the representation of women at the event is still too low at 11.7 percent and is delighted that UITP will be devoting a special session to this very issue at the next Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm.

The next IT-TRANS will be held from 3 to 5 March 2020 at Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre.

Further exhibitor statements:

Xavier Arrufat, founder and CEO of Awaait in Barcelona: “I was here in 2016, initially as a visitor to gain an impression of the exhibition. I spoke to many exhibitors back then. Thanks to their positive feedback, we are here this year with our own stand. Even small stands like ours enjoy good visibility. Apart from this, what I particularly like about IT-TRANS is that it is a combination of exhibition and conference. I myself have also spoken on the use of artificial intelligence in public transport.”

Amos Haggiag, co-founder and CEO of Optibus in Tel Aviv, Israel, exhibiting for the second time: “I have been at many trade fairs. I really like the way IT-TRANS is structured, with its open and clear layout. As well as this, the connections to the Central Station and the shuttles provided to the hotels are great. Great organisation!”

Matthias Hoffmeier, Senior Sales Manager at Hella Aglaia in Berlin: “We have been at IT-TRANS since the very beginning. This year, I noticed that far more visitors are no longer simply interested in finding out information but instead are there with a view to making purchases. We have had talks with visitors from Russia and South America. These are markets in which we have not been active at all – until now.”

Martin Timmann, CEO of HanseCom: “I have been at many trade fairs in various sectors. However, the scope for interacting with key sector players is exceptional at IT-TRANS. I find it very impressive that board members take an hour out to visit our stand to find out more about us. IT-TRANS is a real sector get-together – and we will be back.”

Daniel Ackers, press spokesperson at VDV eTicket Service: “As always, IT-TRANS was impeccably organised with a clear, uncomplicated programme. For us, it is important to remain in contact with transport companies and manufacturers – and we did so here to great effect. One thing we noticed this year was that the international component among participants was even greater than before.”

Annette Weisser, Corporate Communications team leader at IVU Traffic Technologies: “The trade fair was a resounding success for us. Everything worked wonderfully and the organisation was excellent. We were also very satisfied with the visitor figures at our stand.”

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Portrait Verena Schneider
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