Melbourne’s much-admired Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) were on show as 11,500 delegates from 73 countries met at the 23rd Intelligent Transport System World Congress.
The Australian city is recognised as a leader in the ITS sector, the development and deployment of advanced technologies to deliver safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable transport across all public and private modes. Transport equipment is the state of Victoria’s second largest manufacturing industry, employing 29,000 people and contributing $3.8 billion to Victoria’s economy.
The event, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), was secured by Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and ITS Australia, with support from the State Government of Victoria, and discussed public policy, innovation, technology and advancements in the transport technology space.
Held 10–14 October 2016, the event was themed ITS – Enhancing Liveable Cities and Communities. Melbourne was recently named the World’s Most Liveable City for the 6th year running by The Economist. The city scored a perfect 100 out of 100 score for infrastructure. ITS Australia CEO Susan Harris said: “On the whole, Australia is advanced in its development and deployment of intelligent transport systems and their increased applications have seen our integrated transport network become one of the best in the world. From South Australia’s first trial of driverless vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere, to freight priority lanes in New South Wales, ITS is driving more efficient journeys, safer mobility and greater private and public transport choices.”
She added: “Melbourne has it all covered. The Port of Melbourne is the nation’s largest container and automotive port, handling 2.6 million containers per year and Melbourne has one of the world’s largest tram networks, with 75 per cent of it on shared roads. From public bicycles, and bike lanes to scooters and motorcycles, freight and air travel, the state government, agencies, local and international organisations, small business and entrepreneurs are working every day to ensure our transport routes flow.”
During the event, delegates were able to tour Melbourne’s key infrastructure centres to experience how the city keeps moving. Local emerging talent within the transport and technology sector also had the opportunity to network with international thought leaders in the field. Harris noted: “ITS Australia established a series of programs designed to champion the industry’s future innovators and foster their growth in our industry. These programs have run over the past 18 months and culminated at the Congress this week, ranging from schools based innovation challenges, to a Hackathon and student essay competition as part of the newly formed Future Innovators Club.”
While ITS 2016 generated $25 million for the economy of Victoria, MCB chief executive, Karen Bolinger was keen to stress the non-fiscal benefits of hosting association events of this scale. “It is the legacy outcomes of conferences that have a lasting impact on the local and global community,” she said. “World break-throughs and collaborations in connected cars, an MoU signed between ITS Korea and VicRoads, new traffic control and smart mobility software on show for the first time, driverless car trials around Albert Park Lake – this is the true value of conferences.”
Featured image: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre