Dublin Congress put the citizens and users needs in the spotlight

06/12/2013

In all four main topics of this congress, participants took part in lively discussions on smarter cities of the future, electromobility developments, smart road networks, new data sources and management techniques, and deployment best practice. 

A feeling of what was in store for congress participants was given during the opening reception on Tuesday evening, when Guinness was served in the exhibition area. It was clear that the many exhibitors were showing the latest technologies and services, which really set the scene for the next four days.

In  the area of connected vehicles, safety was a central point in the debate. Many European projects  and initiatives are currently working on safety aspects, such as creating cooperative services able to warn vehicles of potential collisions, congestion issues, or to give information on bad weather conditions and advise drivers what to do. Many sessions of the event focused on this aspect and how to make vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure technologies and services a reality.

The discussion on open data was also highlighted on several occasions, with Eric Sampson - Senior Adviser for the Congress programme, summarising it in his final remarks at the Closing Ceremony: "Dublin papers and Special session discussions described new complex chains of information handling, beginning with new types of sensors, both 'hard' physical devices and 'soft' sources such as social media material, which generate new data streams". The combination of these data with other information flows can provide new real-time information to get new or improved services for users. "Discussions here uncovered an odd paradox regarding Open Data with its implication of a deregulated environment for availability, because it looks as if the most sensible way to persuade reluctant Member States to open their doors and release what they hold is some form of Directive or Regulation setting down a series of data format standards," he continued.

The user perspective was in general a key aspect of the discussion - in and outside the official sessions. An invite to include end-user needs when thinking about solutions and implementing services was emphasised by the invited speakers at all three Plenary sessions.

These were only a few of the topics addressed, particularly relevant as the discussion on open data, smarter urban mobility, users services and connected vehicles will be continued at the 10th ITS European Congress in Helsinki in June next year.

In addition to the many sessions, visitors witnessed some of Ireland’s state of the art ITS solutions presented by Minister Kelly and Lord Mayor Naoise O’ Muiri in a sunny Dublin. In particular they had the opportunity of testing ESB (electric) ecars, responsible for the roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country. Also Siemens and T-Systems demonstrated their solution for tolling services. Several technical visits took place over the 4 days. These included the Dublin Port Tunnel, IBM Smart Cities Technology Centre and the DCC Traffic Control Centre.

"The whole focus of this congress has been on the here and now, on the needs of our citizens today and what can be achieved in the short to medium term. It's been said more than once that the technology is there, and from speaking to many people and touring around the exhibition, let's face it, it's true, we have what we need, all that remains is for us to work together to link it up and plug it in".  Minister of State for Public and Commuter transport Alan Kelly stated in his conclusions to this 9th ITS European Congress.

Photos (c) AustriaTech