Masaki Ogata reflects on two-year UITP presidency

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Masaki Ogata’s two-year presidency of UITP will come to an end with the conclusion of UITP’s Global Public Transport Summit in Montréal. Mr Ogata, elected two years ago at the last Summit in Milan, has put a strong emphasis on the importance of innovation in public transport during his mandate. Here he reflects on his time as UITP President and highlights some key moments before handing over the reins to his successor who will be voted in at the General Assembly in Montréal.

Mr Ogata, you've been UITP President since June 2015. Have you enjoyed being the President of UITP?

Of course, I’ve enjoyed it much because I have been able to meet and talk with lots of our UITP members all over the world.  As UITP President, I’ve enjoyed many opportunities to discuss current issues in the public transport sector with many enthusiastic colleagues and friends.

What were the best moments of your presidency?

There were lots of wonderful moments which made me excited. If I pick one among them, I could say it is the time when my company, East Japan Railway Company (JR East), hosted the Policy Board meeting in Tokyo last year. I was really glad to be able to welcome our board members who came all the way from their home countries. I was very happy to have great outcomes in the meetings there.

During your mandate, did you learn about best practices in the world that inspired you for JR East?

The management and technology of public transport differs from one country to another, and from one city to another depending on geography, the history of development, national policy and so on. However, it is always important to learn from each other about the difference and strengthen the similarity.

I have been trying to support worldwide exchange of information and opinions

What do you consider as your main achievements during these two years?

I am the first UITP President who is not from Europe or Africa. I have been trying to support worldwide exchange of information and opinions. I believe that our relationships have been strengthened among UITP members all over the world through many opportunities like the Policy Board meeting in Tokyo. And we have been discussing our common topics in the current world with rapid globalisation. For example, I have been emphasising the idea of innovation, which has been taken up as a project theme. Through discussion of such common topics, I felt we are moving forward together in the same direction.

In an interview in June 2015, you mentioned that social innovation was a priority for public transport. What is your opinion today about that? Have things changed? Are there other priorities?

Before becoming UITP President, I already had my idea that ‘innovation’ was key for the public transport sector. And after I was appointed in my current role in UITP, I have continued to talk about the importance of innovation for us. It is not easy to develop innovation quickly in our sector in the short term; however, I believe that we are getting on the right track to innovate ourselves, raising the mobility of people and the quality of life and thus to innovate our society. In particular, open innovation is continuously the key to the further growth of public transport.

Open innovation is continuously the key to the further growth of public transport

According to you, what are the next big things for public transport? 

I would like to make a movement to lead public transport activities which could utilise exponentially developing information and communication technologies (ICT). Originally public transport is very suited to the utilisation of ICT, and to the application of artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, robotics and so on. Getting along with such development and the utilisation of ICT, I’d like to continue to spread one of my important concepts, STTT model (Shortest Total Trip Time), which I’m emphasising here and there. This model is based on a concept of genuine door-to-door mobility and smooth intermodal cooperation.  

After the end of your mandate, will you continue to be active at UITP?

Of course, yes. I have been very comfortable as President of UITP surrounded by many excellent people. As long as I am in our public transport sector, I will be very happy to continue to contribute to UITP. Actually, after my mandate, I will join an inner committee of UITP and would like to contribute to UITP activities deeply with some role.



UITP President Masaki Ogata on the 2017 UITP Summit's theme: "Lead the transition"

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