CiTTi conference highlights: Day 1

On Wednesday September 27th, the CiTTi EU conferenced began with an opening address from Graham Ellis, council member, Association of European Transport. The day’s topics included sessions on emissions and emission zones, parking and cycling within cities, as well as a look at the role of artificial intelligence in traffic systems. There were also discussions about autonomous vehicles and future solutions for transport issues within cities.

Speakers on the agenda for the first part of the day included: Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager, Transport and Environment; Dr Thomas Vanoutrive, lecturer at the University of Antwerp; Nico Zornig, director of smart Cities, TNO, Cornelia Dinka, founder, Sustainable Amsterdam and Dr. Sven Maerivoet, senior researcher, Transport and Mobility Leuven.

The first three morning sessions were dedicated to talks about low emissions and air quality. Julia Poliscanova was first to speak about vehicles in Europe, covering the issue of diesel vehicles and the impact they are having on the environment. She looked at biofuels and e-mobility as alternatives and solutions to reducing our CO2 emissions in order to reach the Paris Agreement goals – pointing out the electric vehicles are this most energy efficient vehicles.

Thomas Vanoutrive built upon such points when he spoke about the benefits and necessity of congestion charging and low emission zones. He drew examples from Belgium: the low emission zone in Antwerp and congestion charging for trucks. Nico Zornig was next to speak and he introduced CO2 road mapping for traffic and transport in Rotterdam as a means of meeting CO2 targets. Zornig explained the TNO CO2 road mapping approach, noting that this would require a collective effort from cities, urban transport systems as well cooperation when it comes to the formulation and implementation of policy measures.

Following on from the morning break, a fifty minute panel discussion about the “smartest way to get around your city” took place. The panel was led by Graham Ellis as he discussed questions of “what needs to change and how do we change it?” with panellists Cornelia Dinka and Thomas Vanoutrive. Cornelia gave a short presentation about the transformation of Amsterdam’s traffic and transport over the years as the city strived for visions on modernity, liveability and sustainable safety. Likewise, she touched upon issues of space, electro-mobility and future technologies.

Sven Maerivoet spoke before the lunch break about artificial intelligence and traffic systems. He began with a brief explanation and some contextual information about artificial intelligence and how it works. Maerivoet then went on to explain how artificial intelligence can prove useful in helping to improve traffic and ease congestion which, in turn can help to shorten commutes and reduce emissions within in the city. Maerivoet also participated in a discussion but autonomous vehicles where he and Graham engaged with the audience to see their thoughts on self-driving vehicles within the city.

Post-lunch Vaclav Lukes, mobility specialist, Prague City Hall, gave a presentation about automated monitoring in paid parking zones in Prague. He spoke about the modal split in Prague, noting that in 2016 29% of residents’ preferred method of travel was by car. Lukes explained Prague’s new digitised parking management system, covering paying methods, data management, controlling methods and pricing policies. He also spoke about the financial aspects, any problematic issues and plans or the future.

Steve Coulson, CFO, JustPark gave an insight into how the company’s parking app works, pointing out that we aren’t making the most of the space available in cities. Therefore, the JustPark app allows for transparency, so that drivers know the costs they will incur before their arrival so that they can whether they wish to drive into the city. This can help reduce congestion and footfall, as well as improving public image.

To finish off day one of the CiTTi conference, Ronald Soemers, mobility manager Heart of Brabant, City of Tilburg and Lisette Hoek, project co-ordinator and researcher, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences spoke about cycling in the city of Tilburg. Their presentation covered life cycle highway development in the Heart of Brabant, which is a project aimed at increasing the use of bicycles (included e-cycles) instead of cars. The goal is to make Brabant the cycling capital of the world by 2020 and this can be achieved by building a cycle highway which will also help to lower emissions as cycling is a sustainable alternative for car use.

Read about day two here: