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United Nations Holds High Level Discussion on Sustainable Transport and the Adoption of New Information and Communications Technologies

The Inland Transport Committee (ITC) will hold its 78th session from 23 to 26 February 2015.  The session will begin with a high level policy segment entitled, “Innovations for Sustainable Inland Transport with Special Attention to Information and Communication Technologies” that foster connectivity and access. The ITC is the only permanent body in the United Nations specialised in the development of inland modes of transport in a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly way.  The ITC is serviced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Sustainable Transport division.

Transport is a key economic sector that makes social inclusion possible, by providing access to work, health, education and other public services. It also provides access to markets and supply chains for exports and imports.   Therefore the transport sector is essential to achieving social progress including poverty alleviation and, ultimately, sustainable development.

However, the rapid technological advancement in transport and communications technologies, have not been implemented evenly in all societies.  There are still large portions of the population who are excluded from access to transport services, simply because policies and investments do not favour public transport or do not prioritize access of rural population to transport services.   On a larger scale, there are still too many countries whose economic sectors, from manufacturing to trade and tourism, are undermined by lacking unimpeded access to global markets because they are land- locked and suffer from transit and border crossing bottlenecks.

In conclusion, there are numerous types of exclusions that undermine the realization of the aspirations of the global community enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals. These exclusions are nowhere more exemplified than in landlocked economies (internationally), in the rural- urban divide (community level), and in the case of people with special mobility needs (domestically).

These are the questions of access, and connectivity that will be addressed in the Policy segment of the ITC. The policy segment is broken into three sessions.  The first, entitled, “Access for all: The role of Governments in harnessing the full potential of transport innovations,” will include Mr. Bart van Bolhuis, Director for International Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment speaking on Dutch EU Presidency priorities as well as Prof. Elmar Fürst, from the Institute for Transport and Logistics Management, Vienna University of Economics and Business speaking about providing access to transport for the sight impaired.

The second session entitled, “Connecting the dots: Connectivity and access for tomorrow’s passenger mobility,” will feature International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Secretary General Alain Flausch speaking about urban public transportation as well as Mr Leon Rizzi, VP Sales EMEA, INRIX who will speak about using crowd sourced data to improve mobility, and Hervé Richard, Director “Door to Door” SNCF who will speak about the integration of shared-mobility service.

The third session entitled “Connecting the dots: Connectivity and access–the logistics dimension” will feature the Director, Swiss Federal Office of Transport Peter Füglistaler who will speak about new railway base tunnels in Switzerland including the June 2016 opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel which is a milestone of worldwide significance and the longest railway tunnel on earth.  The session will also include Mr Claude Pfauvadel, Chef de la Mission du Transport des Matières Dangereuses, who will speak about using telematics in transport of dangerous goods, and Mr. Wim Van Gefen, Nestlé Global Head of Physical Distribution who will speak about international distribution.

In addition there will be a number of exhibits including

  • A display of electric cars by Tesla Motors,  including a car on the Palais des Nations ground that delegates can sit in and experience the technology first hand.  
  • There will be a display of new revolutionary first generation type approved light moped helmets and new modern e-bikes.  Delegates will also have a chance to try on the helmets and ride some of the e-bikes on the Palais grounds.  
  • A poster display on “The Future Inland Transport We Want” and the work of the ITC.
  • A poster display on Sustainable Mobility as part of the launch of the new UN Study “Transport for Sustainable Development - The case of Inland Transport”
  • A photo collection showing 50 years of TIR trucks on the Silk Road
  • An International Union of Railways (UIC) display on sustainable Rail Transportation

The 78th session of the ITC takes place from 23 to 26 February.