Urban Transport 2014
20th International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment
28 - 30 May 2014
The Algarve, Portugal
The 20th International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment took place in The Algarve, organised by the Wessex Institute, represented by the Conference Chairman, Prof Carlos A Brebbia.
The meeting which started 20 years ago in Southampton continues to attract delegates from all over the world and is well established as the premier event of its type.
Transportation in urban areas and in particular their efficiency and convenience is one of the most challenging areas of research and development in our society. Transportation is one of the largest consumers of energy, particularly hydrocarbons, and has a considerable share of the economy in governments, industry and households. As the world continues to develop towards a global economy, the importance of transportation grows and, consequently, the need to find new solutions.
Transportation in urban areas, with its resulting environmental and social impacts, is a topic of significant concern for both policy makers and governments, as well as most citizens who need efficient and effective transport systems.
Opening of the Conference
The meeting was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who explained the importance of the conference series to fulfil the objectives of WIT, ie to act as a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge at an international level.
Carlos explained that the strength of the Institute activities centred on its existing network of associated institutions and industries around the world. WIT – Carlos said – has a substantial number of links with organisations in many different countries. This contributes to making the Institute much more relevant and up to date.
Another activity in which the Institute has achieved worldwide recognition is the application of advanced computational techniques to solving complex engineering problems. WIT has developed new computational tools based on original research which is now applied through BEASY (Boundary Element Analysis Systems) computer code.
The other important by-product of WIT’s research and training activities has been its publishing arm, WIT Press, the publisher of the conference volume. WIT Press has grown into a considerable size since starting as a unit for publication of WIT conference books. It now produces many other volumes in addition to conference books and continues to launch a series of new Journals focusing on interdisciplinary research.
Carlos ended his welcoming address by thanking all participants for their presence at Urban Transport XX and wishing them a very successful conference.
The Conference attracted a substantial number of publications, grouped under the following topics:
- Transport strategies
- Public transport systems
- Intelligent transport systems
- Experiences from emerging countries
- Transport safety and security
- Environmentally friendly transport modes
- Environmental impact
- Land use and transport integration
A series of invited presentations by well know colleagues helped to highlight topics of current interest:
- “Intermodel transportation perspectives in South Africa: a case study of its application within the GautengProvince and lessons learned for other metropolitan areas” by Carel Schoeman, North West University, South Africa.
- “Bus Rapid Transit: what can change in travel strategies?” by Maisa Tobias, Amazonia University, Brazil.
- “Replanning public transport services in the case of budget distraction” by Luca D’Acierno, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.
- “The comparison of regional and urban transit bus driver distraction” by Kelwin D’Souza, Hampton University, USA.
- “The environmental and economic effects of innovative measures in urban parcels delivery” by Stefano Ricci, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, Italy.
The Conference offered plenty of opportunities for the delegates to interact and get to know each other better. In addition to coffee breaks and complimentary lunches, there was a specially arranged banquet.
The Conference banquet took place in a typical Portuguese restaurant located in a beautiful village near the hotel where the meeting was held. The main dish consisted of lamb cooked in a Portuguese style and accompanied by excellent wines. A special programme of fado folklore-music was arranged. The singer was accompanied by Portuguese and classical guitar players and she went through a range of different pieces. At the end of the meal Carlos toasted to the success of the meeting in the hope that it will help to strengthen links between delegates from so many different countries. He also distributed a piece of ceramic to each participant. They were made and hand painted in a local pottery that retains the original designs and craftsmanship, an art that is being rapidly lost. Carlos hoped that the souvenir will help them to remember the happy occasion and the very successful conference.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee met during the Conference to discuss ways in which it can be improved in 2016, taking into consideration new research directions and future trends on transportation. The need for further integration and international transport studies was highlighted, as well as having to respond to the evolving energy production and management situation. New members for the Committee were also nominated, some of which will be approached when preparing the 2016 Call for Papers.
Closing of the Conference
Carlos closed the meeting reminding the presenters of the possibility of submitting an extended version of their paper to one of the WIT Press journals and hoping that they will consider participating in Urban Transport 2015, which is to take place in Valencia from 3-5 June 2015.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 138 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com