03-Dec-2020

IT-TRANS convinces with digital appearance

Digital platform enables cross-national and cross-time zone debate on the future of public transport

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".

Contact for journalists

Portrait Bedriye Siringül
Service for press (Messe Karlsruhe)
Bedriye Siringül
Press Officer
T: +49 (0) 721 3720-2305
F: +49 (0) 721 3720-99-2305