Autonomous shuttles and feedback from users will take the spotlight at this year’s ITS European Congress, to be hosted by Strasbourg on June 19-22.
“Driverless technology is important, of course, but we mustn’t forget the expectations and reactions of users,” says Catherine Trautmann, vice president, Strasbourg Eurométropole.
Part of a Franco-German initiative to promote electric and digital mobility, the Congress is organising a ‘Challenge’ open to all designers and manufacturers of autonomous shuttles. Each pre-selected candidate will run their vehicle on the same
Running solely during the Congress, these temporary driverless services will be supervised by Strasbourg’s public transport operator CTS, with operating permits to be issued by the French and German transport ministries.
“What’s important about this Challenge is that it is tackling the question of how to build a real economic and technical business model for autonomous technology that is focused on public, rather than individual transport,” points out François Poupard, director, DGTM (infrastructure, transport & fisheries), French transport ministry.
The call for expressions of interest were launched on February 3 by Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau, in cooperation with the Eurometropole of Strasbourg, the City of Kehl, and the Ministry of Transport of Baden-Württemberg.
ITS – reaching out
As well as driverless vehicles, the theme of the Congress – ITS beyond borders – encompasses aspects such as the interoperability of transport systems in a cross-border region, transport bottlenecks, and intelligent ports.
“I’m convinced the Congress will serve as a catalyst, showcasing how ITS can play a key role in integrating territories, developing cross-border transport, multimodality, and mobility as a service,” says Ms Trautmann.
The agglomeration of Strasbourg boasts some 560km of cycle paths, together with adapted mobility services. In 2015 it was voted the world’s number four bike-friendly city. It also has a strong tram culture, with its 55km network carrying 300,000 riders daily. In 2017, this mode will cross the German border, linking Strasbourg to the city of Kehl over the river Rhine.
See also ‘Aboard Transports Publics 2016’