Lyon, 6 June 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

it is my pleasure to be here on the first day of an interesting week in Lyon for all of us, looking for smart solutions to mobility challenges.

In this closing of the second edition of the European Commission’s conferences on Intelligent Transport Systems I want to stress again the importance of ITS for transport and mobility; This is my strong personal conviction and also a main theme of our European Transport Roadmap to 2050, set out in our new Transport White Paper.

I am convinced we were able to show you today that the European Commission – in close relationship with the different stakeholders – is working hard to implement the ITS Action Plan and started the process of specifications under the ITS Directive.

Last year I attended the first ITS Conference in Brussels and some of you might remember that I expressed a challenge to industry and stakeholders to come up with real European journey planners. I am very pleased to be able to take this challenge one step further and present you today a new website which we will launch on this issue.

Challenges and Innovation

Transport and mobility are at a crossroads. In our Roadmap to a more competitive and resource efficient transport system we say clearly, that curbing mobility cannot be an option. But we need to give convincing answers how to deal with multiple challenges, such as:

  • An increasing oil price and persistent oil dependency
  • A deteriorating climate and local environment
  • Growing congestion and poorer accessibility

Innovation is one of our hopes to move to the future transport system and tackle the challenges on the way. Europe has an extraordinary potential for innovation, not the least in the transport sector.

Smart Mobility

One very concrete way to innovate is to make the transport system as intelligent as possible. Here, I do not only mean technology but also making it, to the largest possible extent, capable of coping with new situations (such as traffic congestion, ash clouds, security). We need to link, at any time, its knowledge of the network events with available information from all sources of transport data and all relevant modes.

I am convinced that the deployment of “smart mobility” solutions …

  • within and across all modes of transport (air, road, rail, water)
  • for passengers and freight
  • for urban, regional and long distance journeys

will play a central role to bridge the gap of meeting the challenges and keeping up a high level of mobility.

With the ITS Action Plan and the ITS Directive, as you discussed throughout the day, we have a strong framework in place to make an extra step to accelerate the deployment of ITS throughout Europe. With your support we are now in the process of making it happen.

  • The ITS Action Plan is advancing well. It is not only about the right solutions for EU-wide ITS services – it is also about bringing the stakeholders closer together, both public and private. And it has sparked debate on ITS in many Member States.
  • With the ITS Directive we take a substantial step towards harmonised use of ITS while leaving full freedom to deploy systems locally, regionally or nationally as appropriate and necessary. The core work on functional, technical and organisational specifications is now starting, with first priorities of traffic and travel information, eCall and intelligent truck parking. We will harmonise for these services how deployment is done, but we will not prescribe whether it is done or how the systems work in detail.

Smart Mobility Challenge 2011

Smart mobility is about applying information and communication technology for transport needs; information on all modes, in real-time; for everyone, is at the heart of the agenda.

An example: Smartphones are constantly achieving double-digit growth rates. The industry is telling us that we can expect sales of beyond one billion units worldwide by 2015. Let’s make use of the momentum to enable EU-wide smart mobility services.

It is one of our ten main goals in the White Paper to establish the framework for a European multimodal transport information, management and payment system by 2020. This vision of passenger travel with integrated information and reservation systems as well as smart ticketing is very close to my heart.

The first step to make this vision become reality is of course true multi-modal travel information to enable seamless and informed travel from door-to-door.

    What is the situation today?

    I see very good examples of multi-modal travel information at the local, regional or national level. I see several customer portals on air travel. I also see positive developments, for example the new Agency for multi-modal information and ticketing of the French government or innovative private companies acting increasingly as independent mobility information brokers.

But very few of these include a “European” or “cross-border” end-to-end multi-modal dimension. I cannot yet plan or book my journey through Europe — switching from air to rail or sea, to urban or road transport — in one single go and online.

Important barriers to such European multimodal planning remain:

  • How to solve the dilemma of cooperation among competitors (e.g. on data sharing)
  • How to enhance data availability and data quality
  • How to improve the business case for a European solution.

My services have started addressing some of these issues, notably through the ITS Action Plan, the ITS Directive, and the TAP-TSI specifications for rail. We need to get stakeholders excited to work on solutions. We will propose concrete measure to lift the barriers to the access and the sharing of travel data.

Today, I would like to use this assembly of European ITS expertise to renew my call to support the vision of integrated multimodal Europe-wide travel services.

    It’s time to get practical, – I would like to open the Smart Mobility Challenge 2011:

I invite you – industry and stakeholders – to present to the public concrete and workable “European multi-modal travel planning tools” as well as “new bright ideas” how to make such tools become reality.

And I invite you – interested public, transport professionals, IT experts, travellers, daily transport users – to test the models and ideas presented and cast a vote to elect the most promising and innovative solutions.

Concretely, over the summer until 9 September 2011 we invite planners, researchers, established companies or young start-ups to send us their proposals to be published on this website. In mid-October we launch a public voting to choose the best and most innovative of the proposed European multimodal travel planners. A competent jury will in parallel have a look at the “best idea for future innovative planner”.

The winners of the Challenge will be invited to present their tools and ideas at the Commission’s stand at the next ITS World Congress in Vienna in October 2012.

You can access this challenge at the address As you have seen earlier you can click through some of the national journey planners we know of – the heart of the website is a European map with links to about 20 journey planners.

In addition to this challenge, there will also be a Commission workshop on the subject in Brussels on 20 June 2011. It will discuss the status and vision towards a European Journey Planner.


Ladies and Gentlemen, new mobility concepts cannot be imposed. Better mobility planning and changes in behaviour have to be actively encouraged by practical, convincing tools and services. The potential of intelligent transport systems can only be fully realised in Europe if we move from a limited and fragmented approach to a coordinated one.

The EU will not develop monolithic solutions on its own. We want to support industry and stakeholders by creating the right framework conditions: agreed policy priorities, legal certainty, standards, interoperability, and by agreement on a clear timetable.

The technology is ready – now we need enhanced co-operation and the joined up willingness to get things implemented.

It is my pleasure to close today’s conference – only to move a step further and open another one. It is a very welcome sign of cooperation that I can invite all of you to the Opening Session of the 8th European ITS Congress. Thank you.

Source – European Commission.


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