Review of IT-TRANS 2016
IT-TRANS 2016 Ends with Record Figures
Public transport will remain the backbone of urban mobility. In order to ensure its sustainability, it will need to develop inter-modal platforms that are able to integrate new services and mobility players. Mobility is increasingly becoming a service that is tailored to individual customer needs. Custom-made transport solutions are made possible by growing digitization and access to real-time data. These are key messages from IT-TRANS, International Conference and Exhibition on IT Solutions for Public Transport, which was held from 1 - 3 March at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre.
The fifth IT-TRANS ended with record figures. Around 5,000 opinion leaders in the field of public mobility met in Karlsruhe, denoting a 36 percent increase compared to 2014. The event has also become a lot more international. Visitors came from over 60 nations (2014: 51 nations). Aside from other European countries, there was a particularly high level of attendance from Asian countries. The visitor nations included India, Japan, Hong Kong, China as well as Iran, Brazil, Chile and Nigeria. A foreign proportion of more than 70 percent made the IT-TRANS conference particularly international. The number of conference participants rose to 488. The exhibition was also bigger and more international than ever before. There were 210 exhibitors (2014: 162) from 34 countries (2014: 26) presenting digital solutions for the passenger transport of tomorrow.
“We are very pleased with this year’s IT-TRANS. The record figures pertaining to visitors, exhibitors and internationality illustrate that the fifth edition of the event has firmly established Karlsruhe as a global hub for digital solutions in public transport”, said Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress-GmbH. This year, the conference increasingly addressed new target groups with topics such as smart cities and smart mobility. “This is the most diverse IT-TRANS ever. Now we have people who have not all been in mobility that are taking an interest in this topic”, said Alain Flausch, Secretary General of co-organizer UITP (International Association of Public Transport).
Visitors and exhibitors satisfied once again
Satisfaction among visitors and exhibitors at IT-TRANS remains high. Ninety percent of visitors gave top marks for the quality of the event. Likewise, 90 percent intend to revisit IT-TRANS in 2018 at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. For many visitors, IT-TRANS is the most important source of information; 45 percent (2014: 33 percent) stated that IT-TRANS is the only
event they visit regarding digitalization in public transport. More than 90 percent would recommend attending IT-TRANS (2014: 78 percent).
More than 80 percent of conference participants gave top marks, and nearly 100 percent praised the conference center facilities at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre.
The exhibitors were also satisfied with IT-TRANS 2016. They particularly emphasized the high quality of visitors and the compact format of the exhibition which facilitated targeted interaction with relevant target groups. Two thirds of the exhibition space has already been booked for 2018.
Top themes in 2016: Focus on the customer, intelligent mobility in intelligent cities
Mobility as a customer-specific service and the emergence of new players in the mobility sector were some of the key themes at the IT-TRANS 2016 Conference and Exhibition. Concepts such as shared mobility, integrated mobility options and multimodality are set to shape mobility. As a result, customer expectations and needs play a key role.
“Shared mobility and public transport are the future.” This was emphasized by US mobility expert and this year’s keynote speaker, Gabe Klein, who made reference to the increase in global urbanization and resulting transport problems. He also noted that autonomous vehicles were no longer remote prospects. “They are inevitable.”
Digitalization will contribute towards making public transport more user-friendly and flexible. The prerequisites are access to big data and real-time information. “Big data gives us the opportunity to create environmentally-friendly, customer-oriented mobility services”, said Rose Lim, a researcher at the Stuttgart Fraunhofer Institute for Labour Economics and Organisation (IAO). However, resulting data protection issues remain to be resolved.
“Data protection and digitalization need to be closely coordinated”, said the Transport Minister for Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Hermann, during his tour of the exhibition on the second day of IT-TRANS. “Both are necessary and both are possible.”
Hermann also participated in a forum by the Karlsruhe Transport Authority (KVV) which took place for the first time as part of IT-TRANS. Around 70 business partners and departmental heads from the transport district came to listen to Rafael Cuesta, an expert for local transport at Transport for Greater Manchester, who spoke about innovation in the sector. His prime example was an autonomous minibus which can be ordered via smartphone and collects the passenger from outside their front door.