AgileAssets attended the 5th bi-annual Transport Research Arena in Paris, held April 13-17th, 2014. This conference was established in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2006 and has since continued through Ljubljana, Slovenia; Brussels, Belgium; and Athens, Greece. In Paris, at the CNIT (Center of New Industries and Technologies) nearly 3,000 participants from the three ground transport modes met to discuss innovative mobility and how to implement the on-going research and development projects into reality.
In attendance were European National Road Authorities (similar to DOTs), European Commission, Conference of European Directors of Roads, experts from the research community, politicians and international delegates, and private and public companies.
Attending from AgileAssets were Dr. Pascal Laumet, Director of European Professional Services and Mikkel Bruun, European Communications & Marketing Manager. They presented a business case from North Carolina, highlighting the benefits of integrated, cross-asset management for transport analysis and decisions. The trade-of-analysis tool has been especially useful to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, allowing them to investigate impacts on a specific transport corridor – across different assets – of various intervention strategies (plans for road maintenance).
Topics and sessions
There were many strategic and scientific sessions, ranging from electro-mobility, security, and material technology across all modes. Of special interest to AgileAssets were the sessions on monitoring, management and innovative solutions to mitigate congestion, climate change and accidents. ITS (Intelligent traffic Solutions) is a priority for reaching sustainable and safe mobility. This includes improved monitoring, direction and management of traffic. What it all comes down to are solid recommendations for deciding how to operate road network.
Another interesting focus in European transport issues is co-modality. As mentioned, the conference included rails, roads and sea transport, but also had sessions on airways and bicycles. With an increasingly urbanized world, the collaboration between transportation modes, both for persons and goods, is becoming more important. In a densely populated area, space is limited for trucks, railroads, ships, and airplanes. So smaller vehicles, preferably electric driven, are on the drawing board to be deployed in city centers for delivering goods, while trams, metro systems and bicycles are prioritized for commuting and shopping. The transport systems seem to become more complex and the usage more diverse and this requires more and better management and perhaps a higher level of user involvement. GPS, social media, smartphones and intelligent driving are some of the possible tools that are converging to bring about good co-modality. The TRA is trying to extract the research from many different fields to realize this.
The next TRA conference will be in Warsaw, Poland, April 2016.