2015: A year in Review

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With the end of the year fast approaching, let’s take a look back at the key defining moments of 2015.

It was without a doubt a great, busy and productive year for the public transport sector, as reflected in the number of activities UITP undertook. Here is our selection of the major moments for each month. Enjoy your read!


The year started off in Washington D.C., USA, where UITP and the World Bank agreed to collaborate on capacity building and ways to share better urban transport data in support of policy.


On the occasion of the Association’s Annual Reception, the keynote speaker Jean Christophe Victor offered an inspirational speech about rapid urbanisation around the world, its impact on sustainability and rising car ownership in developing countries.

In February, UITP opened a new office in Casablanca, Morocco, reflecting the exponential growth of public transport in North Africa.

Public transport is an investment partner and not just a big spender of public funds! To work on this message, UITP, Transport for London (TfL) and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) organised a CEO summit, the first ever meeting of its kind.


The EU-funded research project 3iBS (intelligent, innovative, integrated bus system) came to an end in March. In three years, it succeeded in increasing efficiency gains, improving the image of the bus, and identifying a five-point action plan to improve bus systems in European cities.

As part of its Healthy Mobility Campaign, the UITP foundation Y4PT (Youth for public transport) launched the “Y4PT world modal shift challenge 2015”: during two months, people used other modes than the car, then completed a survey. The results found a strong correlation between active travel and health improvements.


In April, the OSIRIS EU-funded research project, in which UITP was a key partner, came to a close.  The project helped measure and validate the energy consumption of rolling stock. Its findings are already helping European rail operators reduce their energy bills and the environmental impact of their operations.


The annual OECD event International Transport Forum is a major event for the transport sector. This year, UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch was invited to speak about regional transport problems and potential IT and community-based solutions working in coordination with public transport.

North African governments are increasingly modernising and developing their countries’ large-scale public transport infrastructure. Having recently opened a new office in Casablanca, UITP completed a tour of Tunisia and Algeria, where UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch and Deputy Secretary Mohamed Mezghani met transport ministers and heads of some of the biggest public transport companies in the two countries.


From 8 to 10 June, the UITP World Congress and Exhibition gathered 2,250 delegates from 80 countries, 130 speakers and 280 exhibitors in Milan, Italy. The event attracted more than 11,000 single entry visitors and enjoyed major international media coverage. Major activities and announcements marked the event, including the election of Masaki Ogata (JR East) as the new UITP President, a Mayors’ day joining mayors from 30 of the world’s biggest cities, the launch of the new research project EBSF_2, the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Y4PT, the UITP Awards ceremony, the launch of the new UITP Centre for Training… And last but by no means least, UITP took advantage of the event to release Public Transport Trends 2015, a new publication set to become the premier reference for the sector.


The research project ZeEUS (Zero Emission Urban Bus System) launched an e-bus observatory, which aims to follow the evolution of urban bus system electrification around the globe.


On 17 August 1885, Europe’s 50 main tramway operators gathered together in Brussels to create the “Union Internationale Permanente de Tramways”... And 130 years later, UITP celebrated its birthday under the motto - 130 years of advancing public transport.


This year again, September is synonymous with the anticipated Mobility Week rendez-vous. 137 organisations from 5 continents took part in this year’s UITP Mobility Week campaign. The week kicked off with a Memorandum of Understanding between UITP and ECF (European Cyclists’ Federation) and ended with the Final Conference of the EU-funded NODES project (New Tools for the Design and Operation of Urban Transport Interchanges). This project has produced an online 'toolbox' to assess and improve different elements of public transport interchanges.


In October, UITP continued to expand its activities throughout the globe with the creation of two new offices: one in New York, USA, and the other one in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Association now has 15 regional and liaison offices around the globe, in addition to its main office located in Brussels, Belgium.

At the EU level, the sector is marked by another event: the EU Council agreed on two proposals to liberalise domestic rail passenger services in the framework of the 4th railway package.

The key event of this last quarter of 2015 was the UITP International Rail Conference, which took place in Munich, Germany. Among the findings unveiled at the conference, a metro statistics brief reveals that Asian cities top the metro ridership worldwide ranking.


This month was marked by a string of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France. In this context, for the public transport sector, preparedness is key. UITP’s Security Commission took steps to offer different resources and prepare a workshop to be held in the first quarter of 2016.


In December, all eyes focused on Paris and the COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. UITP was present to show governments the real opportunities to scale up efforts on climate action with public transport. The sector can be a catalyst for action!

And to close the year with good news, we can announce the release of a new key tool for all mobility stakeholders: the Mobility in Cities Database 2015, to be on sale very soon. Stay tuned for more!

We wish you a Happy Holiday and a joyful New Year. Best wishes from all of us at UITP and see you next year.


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