World Congress could come back to UK in 2024

Birmingham is in the running to host the world’s leading conference and exhibition about Intelligent Transport Systems in 2024. 

Transport for West Midlands Director of Policy, Strategy & Innovation, Mike Waters told the ITS (UK) Summit in Coventry that he is very hopeful the city will be shortlisted for the ITS World Congress when the organisers ERTICO – ITS Europe have finished the first bid evaluation phase.

Mr Waters called on all the organisations present at the Summit in Coventry to get behind Birmingham’s bid. It’s planned that the event will take place at the National Exhibition Centre in the autumn of 2024 – the first time the UK has hosted the World congress since 2006 when it took place in London.

The West Midlands has been instrumental in driverless vehicle research and has also implemented one of the UK’s biggest Green Light Optimised Speed Advisory systems while supporting a major trial of Mobility as a Service solutions. As a result travellers in the West Midlands have cleaner air, reduced queuing, better information on what is happening on the roads and public transport network and a range of very personalised services ranging from guidance on where to find parking spaces to warnings about the time needed to check in for train trips or airline flights. The West Midlands is also home to Midlands Future Mobility, one of Europe’s largest real world CAV labs and the UK’S path finder Future Mobility Zone and 5G urban mobility testbed.

A transport planner for past 25 years Mr Waters said, “I realised that the transport system wasn’t really working for the way we live now, so I pitched the idea of an electric city – and seven years on we’ve gone on a learning curve. Initially there was a bit of cynicism but we’ve come a long way.”

“Transport for West Midlands has been the fastest growing area for ITS transport outside of London and for the past few years, the fastest growing in the whole of the UK,” Mr Waters told the summit audience.

On the Future Mobility Zone, Mr Waters said, “the West Midlands was fortunate enough to receive the first £22m from DfT. We have invested it in researching human centred data, working on an enhanced mobility platform – our Swift ticketing platform, transport network data, enabling data explanation and innovations showcases.”

The second annual ITS (UK) Summit, sponsored by WSP, Gaist, Cubic and SNC Lavalin business Atkins, is also discussing future mobility, the budget issues and safety, among other things, as it grapples with policy, implementation and funding issues around transport technology.

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