13th ITS Asia Pacific Forum Opens
Nearly 400 guests from 28 countries gathered in Auckland’s Aotea Centre to participate in a unique New Zealand occasion – a Powhiri or Maori Blessing to mark the start of the 13th Asia Pacific ITS Forum on Monday 28 April 2014.
ITS NZ President Peter McCombs explained that the Forum theme as represented by the acronym SCORE stood for Safety, Choices, Opportunities, Results and Efficiencies. “Over the next three days we will be sharing and exchanging experiences from ITS models all around the world that are rapidly playing a part in helping improve the whole of society,” he said.
Officially opening the Forum, the Minister of Building Construction, Land Information, Customs and Statistics, The Honourable Maurice Williamson, said ITS was a growth industry for the world and the potential it offered was a dream for the consumer.
Mr Williamson said the driverless car which had huge safety factors was a wonderful example of the benefits being driven by advanced technology and were already well on their way to being accepted and demanded by motorists.
In thanks for his ongoing support of ITS New Zealand, Mr Williamson was presented a plaque by Mohammed Hikmet.
Secretary General of ITS Asia Pacific and President of ITS Japan, Hajime Amano, compared ITS to advances in seafaring technology developments of previous centuries which helped create the world’s leading civilisations. Saying that countries that invest in ITS would become the leading nations of the future.
During the Plenary Session 1 which was moderated by the President of ITS Australia, Brian Negus, the Chairman of ITS Japan, Dr Hiroyuki Watanabe, explained that he headed up a new Japanese Government framework for automated driving which was aimed at dramatically reducing fatal accidents, increased traffic efficiency and enhanced mobility for the aged
“Like New Zealand, Japan has a growing population of ageing people. We are now focusing on the social benefits of using ITS to reduce traffic congestion, traffic accidents and giving the aged greater mobility.”
President and CEO of ITS America, Scott Belcher, said transportation needed new technology-led solutions, failing which ‘we will all be working in different industries”.
He said that the smartphone had become the most important transportation tool. “It’s where you start your trip and decide whether to take your car, public transport or ride share. He said technology driven organisations like Cars to Go, a car sharing company owned by the same company as Mercedes Benz, and Waze, which was bought by Google for $1 billion with 60 million users, were pointing the way to the future, particularly in attracting younger people.
He urged delegates to stay ahead of the game as technology brought new and unlikely players into transportation citing Cisco, Wal-Mart and Domino Pizza, the last being one of the largest fleet operators in the US. “We must understand their needs and we must partner with them.”
New Zealand Transport Agency’s Journey Manager, Kathryn Musgrave, said that integrated ITS was vital to successfully providing the transport agency’s ‘One Network’ approach which had at its core seamless journeys for their customers whatever their mode of travel.
Lessons Learned as a Guide to the Future
Day two featured a Plenary Session, “Learning from the Past – Where to Next?” There is a valuable distinction to be made between lessons identified and lessons learned. Anyone who has worked in ITS looks for those organizations that seek out and apply the knowledge. Lessons learned are recognized and communicated in anticipation that they will be applied in the future. The keynote speakers were Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director, Contra Costa Transportation Authority, USA, and Paul Rose, Technical Director, Highways ITS Consulting, Rail and Strategic Highways, Amey, UK.
Technical Sessions included Value for Money, ITS for Public Transport, Safety, Evaluation and Analysis for ITS, Advanced Traveler Information System, Advanced Traffic Management System, and Future Technologies, Services, and Innovations. In the Safety Technical Session, Richard F. Beaubien, Managing Director Beaubien Engineering, USA, made a presentation outlining Traffic Incident Management in Metropolitan Detroit.
Review of The CEO Forum
Day three saw transport leaders from across the Asia Pacific region provide fascinating insights as to how they view ITS and the value they see it bringing to the transportation networks of their own countries.
Common themes were the integration of technology, growing consumer demand for real time information, greater need for collaboration and agreement on the almost unlimited opportunities technology presents to help solve some of the most urgent transportation issues.
The Vice Minister of Transportation, Indonesia, Dr Bambang Susantono Ph.D, said that Indonesia’s situation presented a formidable challenge. Jakarta alone has a population of 28 million, Indonesia has 13,000 islands and 100 cities with populations in excess of 100,000, there are also vast rural areas to consider.
City traffic congestion was growing all the time and there was a need for better transportation options. “There is also a huge demand for real time traffic information to avoid congestion.” As hand-held devices became more affordable they presented an important means of bringing about greater urban mobility. Smart phones are already popular with all demographics. Rural communities also wanted traveller information to better transport their products to the cities. “ITS provides huge opportunities to meet the public’s needs,” he said.
Ministry of Transport CEO, Martin Mathews, said his organisation’s role was to help set Government priorities for ITS to help New Zealand ‘thrive’. To this end the MoT would be advising on ITS policy, regulation and investment.
He said the Government’s ITS Action Plan, to be released within the coming weeks, would be seizing on the opportunities offered by ITS. Looking ahead he said there was a need to promoted effective leadership and to develop an ITS ‘leadership forum’. There was also a need to identify and remove legal barriers to ITS and to ensure open and efficient markets to help accelerate the uptake of ITS. “We want to create value and double performance.”This is a Text Block. Use this to provide text…
Singapore’s Land Transport Authority CEO, Chew Hock Yong, said the city state, with a population of 5.4 million and 975,000 vehicles, aimed to reduce reliance on motor vehicles by continually improving access to the public transport network. Plans were already in place to double the size of the rail network by 2030. “ITS will play a crucial role in helping us keep all of our transportation routes free flowing and safe,” he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency CEO, Geoff Dangerfield, said that ITS would have to help the agency integrate one network across New Zealand, shape smart transport choices, deliver highway solutions for customers and maximise the return for New Zealand. Smart apps and vehicle manufacturers would play an important role in helping achieve this.
Auckland Transport CEO, Dr David Warburton, said ITS would have to help realise the city’s vision to deliver transport choices where and when people wanted them. Areas where ITS would be particularly useful included event and incident management, parking, minimising congestion and helping better predict what might cause problems. Using the road network was a priority with variable laning, as used so successfully on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, a possibility. “We want ITS to help us make Auckland a more liveable city,” he said.
New Zealand Police National Road Policing Manager, Superintendent Carey Griffiths, said ITS needed to help support safer journeys, safer roads and safer speeds. “We see ITS helping manage the largely compliant drivers, so that we can focus on high risk drivers, in particular speed and alcohol. Technology could also help prove offences in the courts. He said it would be important to determine how best to handle issues related to privacy. “ITS will deliver significant benefits to law enforcement in providing better road safety and efficiency. I see an exciting journey ahead.”
President of ITS Taiwan, John Sun, said that Taiwan had re-examined the role of ITS to focus not only on transport but also to create smart cities and smart living.
In the future he saw every citizen of Taiwan with a smart card in their pocket, a Smartphone in their hand and a smartcard on every vehicle. Using the cloud platform, he saw a 100 per cent integration of information systems and 100 per cent coverage of all cities. In achieving this he saw strong partnerships between the public and private sectors. “Taiwan will be a full scale, full service, smart society.”