IT-TRANS 2018: the future of mobility starts here!

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We’re writing to you live from Karlsruhe, Germany, where we’re here in the midst of IT-TRANS International Conference and Exhibition 2018! The first day of the conference kicked off spectacularly, with an inspiring opening ceremony with speeches from our keynote, Olivier van Duüren, UITP President Pere Calvet, Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani, Winfried Hermann MdL Minister of Transport for Baden-Wüttemberg and Dr Frank Mentrup Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe. An impressive exhibition is already bustling with visitors, and day two is finishing up as another successful day.

The exhibition centre itself is surely a highlight in our opinion. An award-winning exhibition centre, the architectural phenomenon of the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre surpasses all expectations with its large windows filling the space with natural light, and beautiful, high wooden ceilings.

Exhibitions include smart ticketing solutions, autonomous vehicles (AVs), solar panel charging infrastructure, virtual reality, face-recognition and many other ground-breaking new technologies revolutionising the public transport sector. Hats off to all exhibitors!

The programme for this year’s conference is filled with exciting hot topics in digitalisation. We’re very happy to report that this year at IT-TRANS, there are no men-only panels, and 31% of our speakers are women. We are proud to be advancing gender equality in public transport.

The topics from the conference sessions range from discussing enablers and drivers of digitalisation, to account-based ticketing solutions, to AI (artificial intelligence) in public transport. Mobility as a service (MaaS) is a trending transversal theme throughout the presentations, and each panellist seems to agree that the focus for public transport businesses should be on customer experience.

We're also happy to see so many old and new faces from all over the world, including catching up with our 2017 UITP-Busworld keynote, Alok Jain, who's here as a moderator for multiple sessions. The IT-TRANS family is certainly growing.

We have so much to share from our experience here at IT-TRANS, but for now, we will leave you with a list of the top five highlights for us here so far:

  1. Here on the exhibition floor is the first-ever air taxi: the Volocopter! That’s right— helicopters are entering the public transport market of the future, and we’re here taking a seat in the first one ever. This is real history in the making.
  2. Find your sparkle: our keynote speaker, Olivier van Duüren, delivered a passionate speech, sharing insights about his own career and how to make companies “sparkle”. He shared his views on data, AI, MaaS, AVs and more. The audience was fully engaged as the man behind ‘The Dualarity’ shared his thoughts: “Data is the new oil. AI is the new electricity. Every company is a software company. That's the future”, said van Duüren.
  3. An autonomous shuttle, powered by Trapeze and AMoTech, takes visitors from the entrance hall to the exhibition centre, and to the bistro at the back of the exhibitions. Electric-powered shuttles are taking visitors directly to and from their hotels. Furthermore, new digital player in Karlsruhe, Moovel, is also the talk of the conference, as they offer on-demand ride-sharing through their integrated mobility app KVVmobil.
  4. Karlsruhe itself is home to one of INIT’s latest projects, RegioMOVE which integrates as many mobility services in the city as possible, from bike rentals to bus and rail connections. This project aims to bring together all service providers into one single planning and booking platform.
  5. The mayor’s panel of the opening session, moderated by Olivier van Duüren, included a scintillating discussion with honoured guests Lord Mayor of host-city Karlsruhe Dr. Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Santander Gema Igual Ortiz, and Roland Ries Mayor of Strasburg. The conversation answered the question: how is information technology transforming city governance and mobility?

We hope you’re enjoying IT-TRANS as much as we are! For constant updates in news, quotes, pictures and videos straight from the event itself, please check out our dedicated Twitter feeds at @UITPnews @UITPpress and @IT_TRANS.

If you’re a UITP member, don’t forget to log in to MyNetwork where you will find full daily reporting from the event itself, and can contribute your own thoughts, insights and opinions as well!

See you at the UITP stand—don’t forget to come by tomorrow morning at 10:30 for International Women’s Day where we will be launching the PT4ME campaign worldwide. Join us in raising awareness for more safety in public transport for all!

Check out our two part interview with our keynote speaker here: part one & part two!

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