The morning is rush hour in both Helsinki and Barcelona. Both cities are also actively discussing, among other topics, how technology can facilitate peak hour traffic, and future urban transport solutions.

The tenth ITS European Congress was held in Helsinki, Finland for the first time. The largest Intelligent Transport Systems and Services event in Europe brought together a wealth of participants from industry, the academic world and the public sector. 2057 people from 65 countries gathered at a time when the days are lovely and the midsummer nights are short and white to focus on intelligent transport solutions. CGI was among the participants, and our event speakers held panel discussions on the lessons from over 10 years of public open transport data.

Among the number one smart transport planning objectives is a seamless passenger experience with real-time guidance services for road, weather and driving conditions. The event explored automatic systems that can issue bulletins and warnings on traffic disruption, provide real-time updates on traffic and congestion and supply information on public transport. The biggest challenge for such solutions will be the dependence on the huge amounts of high quality data required for real-time traffic planning.

In Tampere, Finland, CGI is part of European Union Streetlife project which aims to improve Tampere’s very successful real-time, multi-modal door-to-door Journey Planner. It has changed the way people find information about public transport connections. The new park and ride functionality for example, will enhance in a concrete way how intelligent transport solutions serve citizens. Passengers can choose to park their cars and use public transport by accessing information not just about departure times, but also about available parking spaces nearby.

Another particularly interesting theme at the Congress was the idea of mobility as a service. While consumers are used to paying small amounts through their mobile telephones, there is potential for larger gains if other transport services can be linked through smart transactions. So far citizens cannot link vehicle insurance, parking, car sharing, bike hire etc. within a seamless transport system that covers information, ticketing and payment. It’s no wonder that the concept has captured the interest of service providers.

The best part of ITS events is the platform it offers to exchange ideas with others facing the same challenges. Throughout this Congress representatives of governments, thought leaders, a wide range of experts and IT companies focused on widespread deployment of practical, efficient, sustainable and connected transport systems in Finland and around the world.

P.S: Check out Heikki Nikku's, Senior Vice-President, CGI Finland, ideas on intelligent transport!