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Don’t worry, you’re not alone in your thinking…we agree that it’s been a year like no other.
For UITP, these past twelve months have had the capacity to feel as if a year has been lived worthy of many more torn pages off the calendar.
It’s not always been easy for so many people as the coronavirus pandemic changed so much of what we have known to be.
Public transport, like many international sectors, has been no stranger to disruption and change. The ways in which we interact and move have shifted across the globe.
But from this international crisis, public transport has flexed its muscles and shown its might.
As COVID-19 forced us apart, it has in many ways, brought the sector together.
Our news, our events, our webinars and our entire connection here at UITP has taken place within our new normal: the digital world.
So if you don’t mind staying virtually connected to us for just a moment or two more, it would be our pleasure to take a little trip down memory lane to see what has captured your interest and kept your focus, with our top ten news articles for 2020.
We have produced a great deal of content on COVID-19 this year, and the presence of the pandemic is certainly felt in our statistics, but alongside our commitment to bringing you content on coronavirus, we’ve had many releases on various topics across the board.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
Bringing up the rear of our list is part of our commitment to working towards healthier cities. Urban mobility plays a vital role in helping cities prosper, and with serious issues such as air pollution and unnecessary deaths on our roads, there is a high bar to be reached for what needs to be tackled. Climate, health, social inclusion, road safety and the economy are all connected to public transport, and driven by innovation and service quality, our sector is a vital part of the solution to making our cities healthier. There’s a few big asks in there, but we’re dedicated enough to bring forward that change! Get familiar with our Policy Brief on making sure Cities are for the People. It’s even online in Spanish. Excelente!
Let’s get technical. We cover a lot of topics here at UITP, and it’s often over to our European projects to give us an in-depth insight into what has got the sector buzzing. Data is everywhere, and data is right here with the launch of one of 2020’s new EU-funded projects: Data4PT. Coordinated by us, the project works to enhance data-sharing practises within the public transport sector. AVs, MaaS and AI…you’re living through a digital transformation right now, and with mobility habits evolving, the impact of data can drive these behavioural changes. How do you solve a problem with data? Leave it to us and get yourself connected to Data4PT!
From a European project, to a European letter. An open one to be precise – and one addressed to the European institutions from our European Department. UITP works closely with the EU bodies throughout the year, and to be best reflect, in three parts, where the current situation stood on the coronavirus impact and the opportunities for resuming services, we put pen to paper to bring about action. One of the important lessons from the pandemic is that early action is essential and by showing a clear focus, we could make the case for our European membership to those decision makers who will drive change. A serious focus for serious times. Our European outreach is available no matter where you are in the world right here.
We love our statistics here at UITP…and clearly the feeling is mutual. On track at number seven is our Statistics Brief on the evolution of light rail transit (LRT) in Europe from all the way back in January! In late 2019, we heard all about the ‘remarkable renaissance’ of LRT on a global level and to ring in the rail year, we issued the latest stats on the progress of LRT across Europe. Clearly this sector update stayed with you as almost twelve months later, it’s still on track. 2021 is shaping up to be an important year for rail, and as clean, silent and space-efficient, thesmall railways certainly do not play a small role in the sustainability of European cities. And they feature big in your readership levels!
Number six is all about the future. Here at UITP, we’re always ready to look towards the times ahead, and our favourite way is to do that together. We’ve worked hard to keep the sense of community strong within our sector this year, and it seems we’re not the only ones with an eye on the times ahead: your collective vision goes all the way towards the end of next year! Good to see you’re ready move to the next stage with us. We made the decision this year to relocate our next Global Summit from June to December, to allow us that extra bit of time to build an even better edition for the world of urban mobility. It’s the largest gathering of its kind within the sector, don’t you know! Now landing in the middle of Melbourne’s summer, this gives everyone involved the chance to enjoy the full Australian experience – and we thank our local host the Department of Transport in Victoria for their ongoing partnership. We hope 2021 puts us all on the path towards another brilliant Summit together. Better mobility can be here to stay.
We’re half way to the finishing line in our countdown of the year, and marking the half way point is news on another UITP pillar event: the Mena Transport Congress and Exhibition. Known for innovative developments within urban mobility, the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) has been inspiring other parts of the world for some time. We may not have had the chance to gather to discuss the fundamental transformation of the landscape, but it’s good to see that your interest in the next edition of the MTCE has remained. Moving to next March, the upcoming edition promises to showcase those innovations, no matter the format. Find out more on the dedicated website.
From MENA to the EU, we’re looping back around to Europe for our number four stop. Continuing their important outreach advocating for public transport to be a key sector within the European recovery plans, UITP Europe brought together more than 80 CEOs and city representatives from almost 20 countries to show the importance of the local (urban, sub-urban and regional) public transport sector for the European economy. We know that it plays a key role in fulfilling many of the EU’s policy objectives and Sustainable Development Goals. Now that sounds like a collaborative effort we can get behind! Can we be signatory number 81?!
Where do we begin with this one? Our number three spot is taken by our unsung heroes: the people who never stopped going, in order to keep us moving. There are shining lights in many sectors, and it takes a time of crisis for those lights to shine the brightest. During the pandemic, our public transport workers were essential, and we used this opportunity to place the spotlight on them to thank them for their dedication to urban life. There are many “unsung heroes” in difficult times, and we recognise that our public transport professionals and international membersare among them. They drove the bus while you attended school. They were behind the wheel while you got to your medical appointment. They were in the driver’s booth when you needed to take groceries to your grandparents. They were there. Over a period of a few months earlier in 2020, we showcased many examples of our members hard at work during the pandemic helping to keep their cities moving. No matter the part of the world, we were there (virtually) with our pen and paper ready to take notes. Did you see what your local Guardian of Mobility was up to you during 2020?
We promised you more statistics in our top ten, and you’ve had to wait a few slots for them…but boy do they deliver. Pulling up at the side of the road for our number two spot is our collaboration with the World Bank in our look at the impact of COVID-19 for bus operators in India.By providing an overview on the specific challenges faced by the sector and practical solutions needed to address them, our survey looked at the role of the bus in India now, and in the future. Buses offer affordable access to livelihoods and services for the vast number of low and middle income families across India, making this special look alongside the World Bank at what has happened during the pandemic, extra important.
Coming in at number one on our top ten list of your UITP news favourites is an important and special pick. When the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year, UITP got straight to work to see how we could best respond to the serious issues facing our sector. Before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, we worked with our members to issue a new Factsheet on how best to address an outbreak impacting public transport. Our collective viewpoints were well received within the sector and after translations into nine languages, our Factsheet was acknowledged and cited across the board as a ‘go to’ insight for operators and authorities. The first of our COVID-19 releases led to an entire series of publications in 2020 focused on the pandemic. Thank you to all of our members and audience who participated in, and engaged with each and every one of these releases. It’s important to share expertise and this year has shown us the power of participation when it comes to sharing vital information. Thank you!
Well there you have it. Our Top Ten most viewed news stories of 2020.
It’s been quite the year for us at UITP; a different year. But one full of dedication, hard work and an always growing sense of responsibility that together we can make a difference to urban mobility around the world.
It’s make a lot of sense to us that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would feature in our countdown. Our COVID-19 output has been detailed and extensive and we thank all of our members for their partnership in this content.
It also shows the sector reach, and your recognition of it, that our top ten features a variety of topics and releases. Stats, data, policy, events…it’s all there to see.
Much may remain uncertain in the world, but what we do know for sure is that we’ll still be staying close to you next year and beyond.
Join us in 2021 for even more news, releases, position papers, webinars and events…
From everyone at UITP, we wish you a happy holiday and a joyful New Year.
Stay safe and we’ll see you soon!
Please note that the UITP headquarters in Brussels, Belgium will be closed from 25 December 2020 to 03 January 2021 included.