Seize the ITS World Congress Moments: Making Your Trip Worthwhile

Andrew Chow

Co-Chairman, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress 2019

Andrew Chow is also President, Intelligent Transportation Society of Singapore (ITSS) and President, Singapore Business, Electronics, ST Engineering

In a recent dinner with various transport practitioners, we marvelled over how technology and transport solutions have evolved over the past ITS World Congresses, and exchanged ideas on we can best help visitors make the most out of this coming ITS World Congress to be held at Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore from 21-25 Oct 2019.

Since then, the impending thoughts of sharing my experience, both as an ITS veteran and as a host in Singapore, prompted me to pen this blog.

ITS World Congress 2019 is in its 26th run. It was first held in Paris back in 1994, and it is rotated across America, Europe and Asia Pacific cities in a three-years cycle. Copenhagen was the host in 2018, and many cities bid to be host of this prestigious transportation event. This year marks the first ever for the congress to be hosted in Southeast Asia, and I take pride and am excited that it will be held in Singapore, my home and host city.

With typically over 10,000 delegates in attendance, the 5-day congress will be a vibrant exchange for the global transport authorities, enterprises and academia across the ecosystem to embody the latest intelligence and innovative services for safer, more co-ordinated and smarter use of transportation technologies. Rightfully, our theme this year is “Smart Mobility, Empowering System”

Over the five days, we have gathered more than 900 global speakers over 200 sessions from the Plenary, Executive, Technical, Scientific and Special Interest Sessions. There are more than 300 exhibitors showcasing the latest, innovative, ideas and solutions to solve today’s traffic woes. There are also the live demonstrations at the Floating Platform, Youth Leadership Programme, Technical Tours and Social Events to indulge in the uniquely Singapore experience.

The BIG question is how can visitors navigate this behemoth and make the most of their time at ITSWC 2019 over the 5 days.

Knowing Your Game Plan to Gain More

Today, more cities are embracing intelligent transport systems to enable informed and sustainable transportation.

In recent years, more showcase and discussions at ITS World Congress are increasingly focusing around digitalisation. The convergence of artificial intelligence, analytics, communications and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, paves the way for multi-modal transport management and an ecosystem of connected infrastructure and mobility solutions. Autonomous vehicle is also shaping the transport system to improve city’s liveability. The setting of standards and policies is an on-going concern.

Prior to the visit, it is vital to identify your intended business and organisational outcomes to make it meaningful for you. You may want to take a candid approach to assess where your organisation or city is at today, think about the near future transport challenges and opportunities, and map out possible solutions or emerging technology that will best fit your transport and infrastructure needs.

With priorities set, it is easier for you to stay focus, pre-select and narrow down on the rightful speakership sessions to attend. Along with an open mind, you may also stumble upon new innovative ideas and spark conversations and opportunities whilst networking.

To facilitate the ease of selection, this year’s ITSWC 2019 mobile app, made available in IOS and Android, categorises all speakership sessions across the 5-day into eight topics of interests. From Intelligent, Connected & Autonomous Vehicles to Sustainable Smart Cities, from Safety for Drivers & Vulnerable Users to Multimodal Transport of People & Goods, from Innovative Pricing & Travel Demand Management to Policies, Standards & Harmonisation, and Crowdsourcing & Big Data Analytics to Cybersecurity & Data Privacy, you may want to mark out those that most applicable to answer your needs, and you can select by type, time, track etc. All sessions are located at Suntec Convention Centre level 3, whilst the exhibit halls are on level 4. If you are attending as a Conference delegate, do remember that you need to be registered first.

Looking out for Applicable Ideas at the Exhibits, Demos and Tech Tours

Many a times, visitors will also roam through the strong line-up of exhibits and demos. To avoid missing out what matters, I would suggest that you get hold of the exhibition and demos directory via the app, so you can locate the desired ones. You may want to make a stop at the various home-grown international organisations and the Singapore Pavilion to find out more about how the local start-ups contribute to the ITS sector here. A must-attend are the demos at the Floating platform on the Marina Bay, a. 10 minutes walk from Suntec Convention Centre which include the autonomous vehicles and even a Voloport and a Volocopter on display. A free shuttle bus service is provided between Suntec and the Floating Platform every few minutes.

Image courtesy of NTU Singapore

To gain insights on how Singapore stays on top amidst rising transportation demands and changing mobility landscape, visitors can register a range of back-of-house tours designed to provide the insights and perspectives on Singapore’s best-in-class transportation systems. Unfortunately, most of the popular Technical Tours are already sold out.

My top favourite will be the ITS Operations Control Centre, the nerve centre that manages entire traffic in Singapore. It operates 24/7 throughout the year and has an overview of traffic flow along our expressways and roads. You can also gain insights into the concept of road traffic operations and our incident management systems.

The other not to be missed is the Singapore Mobility Gallery, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Land Transport Authority plans, designs and builds our land transport system. Another tour takes participants to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) depot of Singapore’s North East Line (NEL). The gallery offers a glimpse of Singapore’s dynamic and complex land transport system, challenges in balancing efficiency, liveability and inclusivity and how new technologies are harnessed to create a user-centric, future ready land transport system.

Apart from gaining the insights and networking, for our overseas friends, I would urge all to find time to join our social experience programme. Have fun networking and immerse in our multi-racial atmosphere, the rich tapestry of arts and culture, and the diversity of our culinary experience.

In advance to the congress, I welcome all our delegates and I am confident, if you plan ahead, you will have an enriching and memorable time at the 26th ITS World Congress.

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