New Columnist: Kevin Borras
Smart mobility

New Columnist: Kevin Borras

Thursday, 9 November 2017

I thought it appropriate if my first contribution to this e-Newsletter began by thanking the organisers of Intertraffic Amsterdam for inviting me to foist my thoughts upon their readership at regular intervals. This is the first of seven, leading up to the event in March where, for the first time in the Smart Mobility Hall, there will be a Thinking Cities Pavilion. This will feature 16 mini-booths from smart city practitioners, together with a central V-shaped console from where we will host TC Tech Talks - our twice-daily chat show-style sessions featuring the thoughts of cities, consultants, solution providers and smart mobility experts. There will also be morning seminars on the Wednesday and Thursday plus the return of the popular roundtable discussions. The central theme for all of this activity is Connected Mobility.

In my foreword for the August 2016 issue of Thinking Highways I posited the theory that perhaps ITS was no longer a suitable term to describe what it is we (and by "we" I mean that intelligent transport industry) do. When it was first adopted in the early 1990s (having previously been IVHS, the VH being "vehicle highway") it was perfect. But in the 19 years that I've been reporting on this sector the landscape has altered drastically. If you examined the exhibitor list from my first ITS World Congress (Toronto in 1999) with that of this year's event (coincidentally also in Canada - Montreal this time) it would illustrate my point all too well. I'll estimate that 75 per cent of those companies preparing to take their places on the exhibition floor in Quebec were not present in Ontario at the tail end of the last century. A lot of them didn't even exist back then - the sector of the industry in which they ply their trade didn't even exist. Things change, hence my suggestion that maybe it's time for the name of the sector to follow suit. Connected Mobility seemed to fit the bill a year ago but in all honesty I hadn't given it a huge amount of thought.

My point a year ago was this: "We’re all striving to be connected with things; things are striving to be connected with us. We all have a need to be mobile, or at least to have the choice of being mobile or not at any given time. The aforementioned smartphones (other devices are available) give us the opportunity to discover whether or not being mobile at that given time is feasible, or even wise, and if it is they can tell us what mode of mobility is the optimum choice. Drive, take the train, take the tram, cycle, go by bus…or don’t go anywhere and work at home."

If anything, that point is now more salient. The Smart Mobility Hall will be rife with companies offering solutions to problems that didn't exist five years ago, let alone 19. The TC Tech Talks will feature people who are leading some of the initiatives that we've been covering lately - Mobility as a Service, Internet of Things, Connectivity, Data Analytics. The Roundtable Discussions will focus on Predictive Analytics, FIWARE, V2I and Smart City Procurement to name only a few. How many of these topics were on the agenda of Intertraffic 2012?

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world," wrote Mahatma Ghandi. I'd like to think he was talking about Connected Mobility.

Source: Kevin Borras, H3B Media


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