World's Transport Technology Leaders in Auckland
29 April 2014
ITS Asia Pacific Forum brings World’s Transport Technology Leaders to Auckland
The ITS Asia Pacific Forum opened in Auckland yesterday. Almost 400 delegates from 28 countries gathered in Auckland to discuss new intelligent transport systems, the technologies that will impact the way transport is planned and managed to reduce congestion and improve safety.
Opened by Minister Maurice Williamson, the event launched with leaders from Japan, America, UK and Australia sharing their current transportation challenges and how they plan to address them locally and in conjunction with each other. All agree that meeting the changes is vital to the competitiveness of their countries.
The buzz in the future of transport is undoubtedly the race by major car manufacturers to launch automated driverless cars and ITS organisations worldwide, including ITS New Zealand are working with governments to prepare for this.
For governments planning their road networks around the world there are massive opportunities in Intelligent Transport Systems. So called ‘Big Data’ and Co-operative ITS offer the biggest opportunities, Co-operative ITS exists when transport technology combines with other devices and networks, such as mobile phones. ITS America’s President Scott Belcher says when it comes to data, “We are still at the ‘cutting edge’ - only just beginning to optimise or utilise the data which is becoming increasingly available.”
He used the example of Smart Parking, a relatively small consideration in the ITS world, but one that is attractive to local governments as it represents a revenue stream and a high profile public asset that affects city efficiencies. He explained it is often “the tail of the elephant” in demonstrating to governments how data and automation can offer vast benefits.
According to Dr Hiroyuki Watanabe Chairman of ITS Japan and Technical Executive for Toyota, we are at the dawning of a new age, with big data and automated vehicles potentially contributing to massive change. Data from ITS can positively impact network efficiency to reduce pollution and the effects of climate change. The automated vehicles are hoped to bring significant increases in safety and the associated costs that road accidents present.
Presentations at the globally important forum are covering a wide range of ITS and transport topics, with local and international experts discussing results from rural road safety trials and smartphone apps to big picture futurist ideas. Those countries contributing technology and leadership to the ITS marketplace are diverse, as shown by the countries represented at the forum. There are global partnerships and relationships developing, the USA, EU and Japan have recently announced a tri-lateral partnership to ensure consistent international standards.
Here the ITS New Zealand organisation is already 10 years old with a membership is made up of a group of private and public experts and they are promoting the benefits of ITS and contributing to both international and local progress. The Ministry of Transport has drafted a proposed multimodal multi-agency approach to introducing ITS. ITS New Zealand’s board contributed submissions to the action plan which is due to be released in the middle of 2014.