World Congress explores ITS and the environment | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

World Congress explores ITS and the environment

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Among the topics being explored at this year’s ITS World Congress in Copenhagen this year will be the environmental benefits of ITS including Mobility as a Service and eco-driving.

Organisers ERTICO and the European Commission, and hosts the City of Copenhagen will explore ‘ITS ­– Quality of life’, which is a topic which holds a special significance to the host city, which has stated ambitious environmental goals, aiming to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city by the year 2025.

In order to achieve this goal, Copenhagen has embraced ITS to make mobility in the city greener, healthier and safer, with Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Mayor of the Technical and Environmental Administration, City of Copenhagen saying, “Copenhagen is known as the world’s best city for cyclists. 62% of Copenhageners commute by bike and 41% of all trips to work, school and university are by bike. We have developed an extensive network of protected bicycle tracks to encourage cycling, and we are continuously looking to deploy ITS to create green mobility. To us, mobility should be greener and smarter and it is not just about technology. It is about creating a better quality of life for all Copenhageners, and ITS solutions can support us here.”

ERTICO says one way Copenhagen is furthering its green agenda is through the facilitation of eco-driving, using a combination of an onboard unit and a multimodal app designed for trucks, lorries, buses and cars. Eco-driving is an approach to driving which the City expects will improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. The app informs drivers what the optimal speed is to achieve a green wave through intersections. The goal is to achieve environmental benefits by encouraging drivers to moderate their speed and acceleration. The driver’s travel experience will also become much more convenient by using the app.

The Eco-driving project is currently under implementation, and tests will be launched as soon as the technology is up and running. Eco-driving will be available on half of the ring road in Copenhagen, which includes parts of the city centre. The app will also be available for tests for cyclists on a shorter part of the ring road.

“High on Copenhagen’s green agenda is making the city friendlier to cyclists,” ERTICO says. “With over 350 km of dedicated cycle paths and lanes, Copenhagen is already considered one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities, and they are aiming to further improve the cycling experience through the deployment of ITS.

“One initiative is the testing of variable message signs. These have traditionally been used for motorised traffic, but the city saw an opportunity to use them to help stimulate cycling as well. Signs are connected to the Central Traffic Management System, meaning that traffic data can be communicated in real-time and cyclists can be directed to less congested cycle tracks. The project hasn’t been evaluated yet, but so far cyclists seem to welcome the new signs in town.”

Copenhagen is also testing intelligent street lighting in five intersections in the city. These new lights are dimmed to 50% at night to reduce energy consumption. The lights are fitted with smart technology which turns them back up to 100% when an approaching cyclist is detected. This system is actively reducing carbon emissions while also ensuring the safety of vulnerable road users travelling at night.

ERTICO – ITS Europe is looking ahead with ‘Vision 2030’ which outlines a shared vision for the future of mobility. It says using ITS to reduce environmental impacts is a major priority, and its 2017, a position paper entitled ‘ITS for Clean Mobility’ was published, outlining how ITS can be used to reduce carbon emissions. To work towards this goal, ERTICO says it supports a number of Eco-driving initiatives throughout Europe and it is focused on ensuring the interoperability of ITS systems and working with service providers to help define regulatory frameworks and facilitate continuity of service across borders.

Speaking about the topic of ‘ITS and the Environment’, Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO of ERTICO – ITS Europe, says, “ERTICO works to reduce the impact of transport on the environment through new technology and business models. Together with our Partners, we promote electro-mobility solutions and Mobility as a Service schemes. Copenhagen has made incredible progress in creating a cleaner city through the use of public transport and bicycles, in addition to investments in road infrastructure. The adoption of cooperative ITS and automation is making the city more efficient and is setting an example for many other cities in Europe”

The ITS World Congress takes place from 17–21 September.  Copenhagen has some of the best intelligent transport systems in operation, but there is still work to be done to meet its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025. There are countless ways that ITS can benefit the environment, and although more are being discovered every day, there are just as many challenges to its deployment in cities around the world. To join the conversation and see some of Copenhagen’s green mobility in action, register here. ERTICO urges as many professionals as possible to come to the ITS World Congress.

Richard Harris

The ITS World Congress will feature solutions for cities and regions beyond these excellent environmental initiatives by Copenhagen. Mobility as a Service, the Sharing Economy and of course Electric Automated Shuttle buses that can serve the first and last mile journey requirements, helping improve air quality for all.