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International Transport Forum (ITF) Pre-Summit Research Day
Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development

26 May 2020, Leipzig, Germany

Call for Extended Abstract

The International Transport Forum (ITF), together with the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI), the US Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS), are pleased to announce the holding of a Research Day on Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development. This Research Day will be held in Leipzig, Germany on Tuesday 26 May 2020, in conjunction with the International Transport Forum’s 2020 Annual Summit (27- 29 May 2020).

The objective of the Pre-Summit Research Day is to bring together top academics, researchers, and practitioners to present and discuss topics relevant to the Summit’s theme, providing highly valued input to the Summit’s core programme.

It is critically important that research results are brought into practice, especially considering the pace with which our transport system is currently evolving. The Research Day offers a great opportunity to exchange ideas with researchers, as well as with representatives from governments, cities, and other decision makers.

Submission of abstracts
While the 2020 ITF Summit on Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development will discuss linkages between innovation in transport sector in all of its dimensions, i.e., regulation, infrastructure design, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), drones, air connectivity, internet of things (IOT), algorithms, etc., and will cut across individual/passenger travel and freight logistics and supply chains, the Research Day will limit its scope to three specific topics. In particular, in order to plan their actions and investments for the coming years, policy makers need the input from researchers to provide knowledge and solutions on how to:

  • Seize the opportunities offered by micromobility and active transport;
  • Connect remote and rural areas with innovative sustainable transport solutions; and
  • Stimulate adoption of low-carbon vehicle technologies.

We therefore invite the submission of extended abstracts of up to 1000 words that address Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development on one of the above three topics. Further background on those topics can be found below.

The submission deadline for the Call for Abstracts has been extended to Monday, 16 March 2020, 23:59 EST -  SUBMIT AN ABSTRACT

The work can be quantitative or qualitative, and come from any of the academic fields linked to transport. Abstracts shall include a title, as well as the presenter’s name, affiliation and contact details. Please also include details of any project websites and a mention to one (or more) of the four above topics connected to the research outlined in the abstract.

Given the overall goal of fostering research-policy linkages, abstracts should clearly reflect how the presented research can be used to inform policy development and implementation.

Selected authors will be invited to present their research at the Pre-Summit Research Day. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the selection process on 31 March 2020.

ITF Young Research Award
Anyone submitting an abstract who is under 35 years of age is also encouraged to enter the ITF Young Researcher Award. This award, which ITF presents each year during its annual summit and carries a prize of €5000, aims to highlight the crucial importance of transport research for sound transport policy formulation and implementation, and to foster closer links between transport policy and research. The deadline for submission for the award is 21 February 2020.  More details are available on the website.

Practical Information
The Research Day will take place on Tuesday 26 May 2020, one day prior to the official opening of the ITF Summit. It will be held at the Leipziger Messe, Leipzig.

Participants of the Research Day can make use of a special registration fee of €450 that covers attendance at both the Research Day and the subsequent three summit days.

The fee covers meals (lunches and dinners, except for the evening of 26 May) and transport during Summit days (27, 28, 29 May and airport transfer). It is not possible to register just for the Research Day. Registration and venue information are available on the website.

Participants making presentations will receive a complementary pass for the research day and summit.


More information on the ITF 2020 Summit can be found at: https://2020.itf-oecd.org

Transport is considered as a key sector when it comes to sustainable development. It can add to economic growth and enhance access to opportunities, but is also associated with a number of direct and indirect externalities, such as traffic congestion, air pollution and road accidents. Overall, sustainable transport is essential in meeting several of the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda. But how can governments ensure that transport connectivity stimulates development and economic activity, while engaging with communities and being sensitive to the environment? In this respect, several issues would benefit from discussions at the Research Day:

  • Micromobility and active transport: In most markets today, micromobility refers to shared scooters and bikes (both human-powered and those with electric motors, docked/dockless). In particular, e-scooters and dockless bikes have appeared in cities in great numbers in recent years. These services have clearly resonated with consumers. As conventional bikes, they have the potential to better connect people with public transit, reduce reliance on private vehicles, and make the most of urban space, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Still, many of these services have faced resistance and backlash, especially from city governments. Moreover, it is not clear to what extent these new services help achieve sustainable development objectives or if they actually come to change the way urbanites move around cities. This raises the following questions: what are the future trends in adoption of these new forms of micromobility?; what are the impacts of micromobility on a broad set of outcomes (e.g., health, access, economic activity and emissions), and on different groups in society?; and how ready is the transport system (in terms of both infrastructure planning and regulation) to manage their increasing uses?
  • Transport innovation for rural and remote areas: As innovative mobility solutions emerge in urban contexts, access to public transportation options remains a challenge in rural areas. In the context of urban-rural divide, governments need to find a new, cost-effective way to provide services that are flexible, yet offer wider territorial coverage to ensure that people living in these areas could move about with the same freedom as populations in large towns and cities. Demand-responsive transport is seen as one of the key options to meet public transport challenges in rural areas. Nevertheless, these networks require advanced technical solutions in order to be able to operate efficiently. Morever, technology indeed has helped to solve a lot of issues with regard to route planning, navigation, communication in particular. Still, challenges, and their questions remain: what are the key ingredients for a successful deployment - from operational, infrastructural, technological and regulatory perspectives?; how to ensure that demand-responsive services are part of a broader, multimodal package of solutions, supplementing regular public transport services?; what are the most effective land-use policies and mechanisms to bring rural residents closer to opportunities?; and what are the related financing challenges and how can governments, together with the private sector, address them?
  • Low-Carbon Vehicle Technologies: Governments around the world are increasingly intervening in automobile markets to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions of CO2 from new vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) in particular are widely considered as a promising solution for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and key to a low-carbon mobility future. However, the transition to a low carbon transport will not be instantaneous and any policy or technological change implemented now will take years to have the desired effect. Policies that support the electrification of vehicles should also consider that the overall reduction in CO2 emissions will depend on the extent to which energy is decarbonised. Thus, what are the effects different incentives for reducing the generalised cost of driving low carbon vehicles?; and how can governments accelerate the development and diffusion of low-emissions innovations in the transport sector?