ITS 2021

ITS World Congress to turn Hamburg into model city

5 October 2021
City to showcase tomorrow's intelligent transport systems and smart logistics from October 11-15

UAVs that transport medical samples, quiet e-shuttles that move as if by magic, and smart traffic lights that interact with cars in a predictive manner go on show during the ITS World Congress in Hamburg under the theme of "Experience Future Mobility Now" from October 11-15, 2021. The city and its national and international partners are gearing up to present the latest trends in digitization, mobility and logistics at the refurbished Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) and at test areas across the city. Around 10,000 global delegates are expected at over 200 events with 400 exhibitors, including more than 50 start-ups, and numerous live demonstrations. Doors in the exhibition halls will open for a free public day on October 14, 2021 to give a glimpse of the future. Those interested must have registered earlier. The ITS World Congress is part of the strategy adopted by the senate in 2016 through 2030. 

Hamburg as a model of urban and digital mobility solutions

The Hanseatic city has prepared six fields of action including data and information, intelligent traffic control, guidance and intelligent infrastructure, intelligent parking, mobility as a service, as well as automated and connected driving for the congress. More than 170 ITS projects are making Hamburg a model city and laboratory of smart transport and logistics solutions: "The ITS World Congress comes at exactly the right time. Hamburg is just completing the mobility transition and is focusing on intelligent concepts for sustainable and networked transport," said Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Transport and Mobility Transition. "Our goal is to create a city with cleaner air, less congestion and a better quality of life. We need creative solutions developed by established companies and start-ups all over our city."

Forty-two mobility projects

The city has earmarked 42 out of 200 ITS projects as anchors that are particularly important for achieving these objectives. These so-called anchor projects include the Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation (HEAT) autonomous shuttle bus  and the cycle traffic counting network with thermal imaging cameras. 

HEAT: electric and autonomous public transport in future 

An automated electric minibus has been travelling through HafenCity at speeds of up to 25 km/h since 2019 to gauge whether driverless minibuses are suitable for use in public transport. HEAT is the "first research project in Germany in which a driverless bus takes to roads in the middle of a German city in real traffic conditions and with an integrated control centre," said Henrik Falk, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, initiators of HEAT. The five-metre e-shuttle travels a two-kilometre route with five stops. Passengers can travel free of charge until mid-October.


HEAT shuttle's route

Test track for automated and connected driving

Hamburg is also testing automated and connected driving in urban traffic. More than 50 traffic lights and a bascule bridge on a nine-kilometre test route through downtown Hamburg have been upgraded for infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. Data can be exchanged with passing, networked vehicles in this way. 

UAVs carrying medical goods as part of Medifly

Urban air transport will also top the agenda of the ITS World Congress. UAVs have been used to transport medical goods between hospitals across Hamburg since 2020 as part of Medifly. Until now, tissue samples have had to be analysed in special laboratories prior to surgery. All that could change with UAVs instead of ambulances and taxis transporting medical goods automatically, faster and environment-friendlier in future. The plans foresee regular urban air freight services by 2022.



HVV Switch App - transport from a single source

Hochbahn and the Hamburg Transport Association (HVV) pool public transport e.g., buses, trains, bikes, e-scooters, car sharing and basically every single mobility service on the HVV Switch app. Users simply book and pay for the transport of their choice on the app, which gives people more incentives to leave their cars at home.

Tradition meets innovation in Hamburg

Hamburg is as ideal laboratory for intelligent transport and logistics with shipping, air and land transport coming together in the city. Apart from being China's gateway to Europe, Hamburg is northern Europe's global logistics hub between Central and Eastern Europe. Business and science are working in the Logistics Initiative Hamburg cluster consisting of over 550 companies and institutions to boost Hamburg as a logistics centre. Established logistics companies are working with international and national start-ups in the Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg on digital solutions for logistics in future. Meanwhile, the Bitkom e.V. digital association has termed Hamburg the smartest city in Germany.

EU model region for Urban Air Mobility

The world's third-largest civil aviation centre has been an official EU model region for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) since 2018. The first test field for a drone airspace in Germany has been set up over the Port of Hamburg to monitor and and co-ordinate the growing number of UAV flights. Initiated by the Germany Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVI), the U-Space real lab is part of the action plan for drones and air taxis. The partners to the project include the Urban Drone Traffic Efficiently Organised (UDveo) consortium, which is developing rules and communication standards for drone traffic in Hamburg and may yet serve as a blueprint for other regions.


U-Space Reallabor Hamburg

ITS as 2G event

The City of Hamburg is hosting ITS with the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and founded ITS Hamburg 2021 GmbH in early 2018 for that purpose. The congress is organised by the Brussels-based European industry and interest group for Intelligent Transport Systems ERTICO - ITS Europe (European Road Transport Telematics Implementation Coordination Organisation - Intelligent Transport Systems & Services Europe), which is a public-private partnership. The  ITS World Congress will be held under Germany's 2G rules meaning delegates must be fully vaccinated with one of the four EU-approved vaccines (Moderna, Biontech, Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca) or have recovered from COVID-19, organisers said. The same rules apply on public day on October 14.


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