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Moving forward with the digitalisation of public transport: IT-TRANS 2020 makes a virtual appearance

  • Global
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Data
  • Development
  • Electromobility
  • Future of Mobility
  • Integrated mobility
  • Intermodality
  • MaaS
  • New mobility
  • Urban mobility
  • Urban transport policy

IT-TRANS entered the virtual stage to best reflect the times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Where is public transport in the digital world? A question asked in the lead-up to the event dedicated to advancing the conversation around digitalisation and I.T. in our sector…

Going virtual for the 2020 edition (online, 1-3 December), IT-TRANS took that question on and answered it with enthusiasm!

For the seventh edition as the sector’s leading conference and exhibition focused on the future of a digitally linked urban mobility world, our event became fully digital.

We are used to gathering in Karlsruhe, the city of innovation, for our global industry gathering, every two years, jointly organised by UITP and Messe Karlsruhe.

COVID-19 has posed new challenges for many sectors and events, with public transport greatly impacted. By bringing you a 2020 edition to remember, IT-TRANS could remain a platform for global innovation, at a time when the conversation has never been needed more.

The digital world continues to develop – and IT-TRANS needed to be part of that discussion…


“What we know for certain is that the sector needs us to continue the necessary conversations to advance urban mobility – and by moving to a digital edition for 2020, IT-TRANS did this, and more. It was my pleasure to address the audience, and to see experts come together to consider what digitalisation is doing for public transport now, and in the future.”
Pere Calvet
UITP President

So, with our virtual platform bringing together exhibitors, speakers, delegates, and visitors, what was the outcome of our digital edition? 

1750 experts connected from 60 countries…with 250 participating companies and institutions

Hundreds of one-to-one meetings were arranged…and each guest attended on average four of our Conference sessions

We hosted 29 Market Updates, 45 Virtual Roundtables...and while logged on, more than 13,600 chat messages were exchanged!

“The pandemic has accelerated the implementation of new technologies, while at the same time highlighting the importance of digitising public transport…We are grateful that the IT-TRANS community has accepted the digital edition so fantastically.”
Britta Wirtz
Managing Director of Messe Karlsruhe

The impact of COVID-19 on the public transport graced the content of key sessions…

The conference sessions, which were streamed live, addressed topics such as mobile ticketing, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous driving, on-demand and shared mobility, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), data management and intelligent traffic management.

And the discussion on how to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis with the help of intelligent technologies existed throughout the programme.

With our President Pere Calvet opening proceedings, and our Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani bringing down the curtain, our conference sessions in-between reflected the times, with “Public Transport 2035: Digitalisation leading the way” and “Digitalisation in a post-COVID world”, showing our audience we have our eye on the future…

“What public transport needs is not just digital tools, but a digital transformation. That may have impacts on the provision of services, the business model, on the way we manage people and the relationship with passengers.”
Mohamed Mezghani
UITP Secretary General*

Among the many interesting participants and industry experts to feature was our Keynote Speaker, digital strategist Christoph Bornschein. Coming to us remotely, Christoph shared his seasoned advice on what is necessary for urban mobility to excel as we enable new mobility and embrace digital development.

You can hear more from Christoph in our two exclusive sit-down interviews!

On the technical side, we hosted 29 Market Update Forums and 45 Virtual Roundtables, with the 250 participating companies, start-ups and institutions presenting their intelligent solutions via video and exchanging best practice examples in small groups from cities across the globe.

Digitalisation has never been more prevalent as part of the public transport discussion than right now…

A.I, IoT, MaaS, data, ticketing and more…the increasing digitisation of the sector is leading to new developments and introductions that can strengthen passenger trust.

The coronavirus pandemic may have forced many global events online, but top names, high-level content and vital debate remained. Public transport will come out of the pandemic stronger, and digital development is key to those next steps.

A huge thank you to everyone who connected, contributed to the conversation on digitalisation within public transport – you helped to move the sector forward.

And in the words of our Keynote Speaker…the best part of technology and digitalisation is yet to come!”

Let us take that momentum all the way to IT-TRANS 2022 (Karlsruhe, 8-10 March 2022)…see you then!

Stay tuned for news on the happenings from our Taxi and Ride-Hailing Digital Conference, held in conjunction with IT-TRANS 2020.

*acting on behalf of Mohamed Mezghani SARL 

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