"I believe public transport needs to become more entrepreneurial"

Alain Flausch, UITP Secretary General

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(UITP Direct Editorial January)

"First of all I would like to begin by wishing you a very Happy New Year from all of us here at UITP.

I hope you all had a restful break and like us are ready and raring to go to advance public transport in 2016.

Last year ended in a victory at COP21 with the signing of a historical climate agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees. The noble ambition to save the planet can only be achieved if we bridge the gap by translating words on paper into action on the ground with public transport.

We are not lofty idealists when we say that private car traffic is a large part of the pollution problem leading to climate change. And that we already have the solutions at our fingertips if politicians are brave enough to take the right decisions and act upon them. The solutions are prioritising and investing in public transport as the rational alternative to the overwhelming use of private cars in our cities.

We will continue the advocacy push to convince local and national governments to take action in favour of more and better public transport

With the momentum built up at COP21, UITP and I will continue the advocacy push to convince local and national governments to take action in favour of more and better public transport by investing in public transport infrastructure as a means to safeguard our collective future.

In parallel, in these tough economic times and with public budgets coming under increasing pressure, it will also be essential for our sector to secure more dependable and diversified sources of financing and revenue. These could include operational excellence, costs reduction or secondary revenue development such as advertising and retails in stations and hub, as well as creative funding mechanisms such as earmarked taxes, land value capture and private partnerships.

I expect these topics to be priorities issues for this New Year as we also plan to publish two reports on the economic benefits of public transport engaging with businesses and land value capture value in June.

Furthermore, new players have entered the mobility scene and are trying to become integrators of these new ecosystems. So one of the real challenges today is for the public transport sector to remain the backbone of the mobility system whilst also leading the transition. As the natural integrator, it is logical that we provide our citizens with door-to-door mobility solutions by partnering with other modes of sustainable transport.

One of the real challenges today is for the public transport sector to remain the backbone of the mobility system whilst also leading the transition.

I believe public transport needs to become more entrepreneurial, anticipating the changes, having more appetite for risk and being more agile: these are the skills we need to develop every day within our organisations in order to help develop a citizen-centric mobility system that is a fundamental part of our sustainable communities and cities.

I am also looking forward to the many unmissable events set to shape 2016, from IT-TRANS in Karlsruhe, Germany, from 1 to 3 March, to our MENA Congress in Dubai from 25 and 27 April, without forgetting the SITCE "Innovating Transport For Liveable Cities" event in Singapore from 19 to 21 of October. That same month I will be attending the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, to continue the forward motion built up at the COP21 in Paris.

All in all, the New Year will be a busy one with a view to making public transport ever more successful."

Alain Flausch

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