Global future transport conference on its way to Birmingham
Published: Monday 16 Oct 2023
The world’s leading experts on smart transport systems will be gathering in Birmingham as the city was named preferred candidate to host the 2027 Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS).
The global event will bring thousands of delegates to the NEC Birmingham to explore, share ideas and demonstrate the latest developments in transport including autonomous vehicles, electric and zero-emission technology, 5G technology and traffic management systems.
Birmingham was announced as preferred 2027 host city during the 29th ITS World Congress in Suhzou, China. The successful bid was a collaboration between the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Department for Transport (DfT), Intelligent Transport Systems UK (ITS UK), Department for Business and Trade (DBT), Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and the NEC Birmingham (National Exhibition Centre).
This success is a sign of the West Midlands growing reputation as a hotbed for innovation and the development of cutting-edge transport technology and systems. The region was named the UK’s first Future Transport Zone in 2019 and has recently acquired further powers, under the West Midlands Deeper Devolution Deal to develop and test new transport technologies.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the West Midlands to take to the global stage once again and demonstrate our commitment to innovation and sustainability on transport.
“We look forward to showcasing our region's achievements – our ground-breaking Regional Transport Coordination Centre, our development of 5G connected and autonomous vehicle technology and the emerging Very Light Rail systems. Innovation and smart transport are a crucial part of our plans to decarbonise our transport and meet the climate change challenge.
“We will welcome industry leaders, policymakers, and researchers from around the world here to share their expertise and cement our place as a hub for transport innovation.”
Max Sugarman, Chief Executive of Intelligent Transport Systems UK (ITS UK), said: “The UK is one of the leading global centres for transport technology, so it is brilliant news that we will have the chance to showcase the sector to the world, with Birmingham as the preferred candidate for the 2027 ITS World Congress.
“Whether it’s in connected and autonomous vehicles, the latest smart ticketing systems or the use of AI and data, our intelligent transport industry is brimming with innovation, with British companies supporting greener, safer and more integrated transport not only in the UK, but across the globe.
“We look forward to working with our partners in the Department for Transport and West Midlands Combined Authority in telling the many great British success stories across our transport technology sector.”
This has been announced at the same time as the city host’s Birmingham Tech Week – a festival celebrating innovation in the region.
The ITS World Congress attracts thousands of delegates and speakers from around the world and includes seminars, exhibitions, technical visits, and outreach events. It provides a platform for the latest developments in transport technology and mobility solutions.
Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, said: "Birmingham hosting the 2027 ITS World Congress represents a great opportunity for the city and wider West Midlands, backed by UK Government funding, to show how the UK is at the forefront of developing the latest in future mobility.
“From the latest zero emissions tech to self-driving vehicles, we are working to make the UK a centre for future transport tech, helping to support jobs and grow the economy across the country.”
Donna Cunningham, sales director for conventions at NEC Birmingham, said: “At the NEC we pride ourselves on being able to bring together industries to share exciting new ideas and expertise, so we’re delighted to host the 2027 Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS).
“Both as a region and a venue we have shown a commitment to showcasing the latest in transport innovation, from becoming one of the first locations in the UK to host driverless vehicle trials on the roads around our venue, to opening the UK’s largest EV charging hub on our campus in September. This is a brilliant opportunity for our region.”
Hosting the ITS World Congress will put the spotlight on the UK's businesses, educators, public authorities, and academics working on smart transport. Delegates will gain insights into the latest developments designed to tackle the global climate challenge, improve accessibility, reduce traffic and electrify transport.
ITS World Congress is an annual event held in rotation between three global regions – the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa. Birmingham will host the 33rd event.
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