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International Transport Forum

17 May 2022
In-Person Meeting in Leipzig, Germany

Held in conjunction with the 2022 ITF Annual Summit

Call for Abstracts

UPDATE:  We apologize for the delay in notifying applicants on the status of their submissions. Due to the extension of the submission period, we will notify applicants by Friday, April 22, 2022.

The International Transport Forum (ITF), together with the European Commission (EC), 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 Pre-Summit Research Day on “Transport for Inclusive Societies”.

The Research Day is being planned as an in-person event in Leipzig, Germany, on Tuesday, 17 May 2022, as an Annex event to the 2022 ITF Annual Summit. Should the evolution of the sanitary situation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic set a barrier for holding an in-person meeting, the Research Day will be held virtually in conjunction with the ITF Summit.

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. It is 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 not only between researchers, but also with representatives from governments, cities, and other decision makers.

Submission of Abstracts
The 2022 ITF Summit on “Transport for Inclusive Societies” will discuss the role of transport policies for fostering an environmentally-friendly, people-centric world that leaves no-one behind, notably as regards vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of persons. It will highlight linkages between transport and inclusion in all of its dimensions: how to design inclusive transport governance frameworks and decision-making processes; how to foster access for all to essential goods and services, and economic opportunities in a sustainable way; how to design transport systems that everyone can use; and how to ensure that the transport labour market is as open and inclusive as possible. To this end, the Summit discussions will cut across passenger and freight transport activities while providing a multi-modal perspective. The 2022 Summit will also discuss the role of the transport sector in generating a green, safer, more secure, more equal and healthier world in the wider context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pre-Summit Research Day will limit its scope to four specific topics as listed below. In order to plan their actions for the coming years, policy-makers need the insights from researchers to provide knowledge and solutions on how to:

1)      Mitigate and adapt to climate change with environmentally-friendly, inclusive and equitable transport solutions;

2)      Involve everyone in transport policy decision-making and pro-actively reach out to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;

3)      Make digitally enabled transport innovations part of accessible and safe systems for all;

4)      Fund public and active transport for all in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We, therefore, invite the submission of extended abstracts of up to 1000 words that address “Transport and Inclusive Societies” with regard to one of the above four topics. Further background on those topics can be found in Annex 1 to this note.

Abstracts must be submitted by Friday, March 18, 2022 11pm (GMT)

Abstracts can refer to both quantitative or qualitative research and be a part 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 22 April 2022. The possibility to organise an article collection of papers selected for presentations at the ITF Pre-Summit Research Day in organizing partners' journals will be considered on the basis of the author's interest.


Annex 1: Background on Topics

Equitable transport services are at the backbone of inclusive societies. Passenger transport activities grant access to essential opportunities, such as workplaces, education and health centres. Freight transport activities are also required to feed global supply chains and deliver essential goods close to where people live. Yet, not all transport services are accessible, nor designed in a way that ensures that mobility activities benefit all user groups. How can governments make sure that transport services leave no-one behind, regardless of geographical location, socio-economic background, or physical or mental characteristics? Starting from this main question, four main issues will be at the heart of discussions at the Research Day:

1)      Mitigate and adapt to climate change with environmentally-friendly, inclusive and equitable transport solutions: Transport activities are at the centre of the climate change challenge. With current policies, passenger and freight transport activities are set to more than double by 2050 compared to 2015, increasing CO2 emissions by 15%. Transport activities are also responsible for increasing health hazards in cities around the world, through local pollutant emissions. Policy measures need to be taken to reflect the environmental and public space consumption costs of using vehicles and support the switch to clean and zero-emission ones.  Policy measures are also needed for adapting transport infrastructure and services to potential disruptions from climate disasters and extreme weather events. Some of these measures will disproportionately and negatively impact historically underserved communities and lower income groups. How can policy makers implement more ambitious mitigation and adaptation measures without burdening vulnerable users? How could transport policies deliver co-benefits for underserved communities while mitigating and adapting to climate change?

2)      Involve everyone in transport policy decision-making and pro-actively reach out to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups: engaging citizens in the proposal, development and evaluation of transport policies improves the public acceptance of measures and delivery of projects. It can also be an effective way to design and implement transport services that address the needs and concerns of all users, particularly the most vulnerable or disadvantaged ones. Nonetheless, there are various challenges. How can authorities set up institutional arrangements and decision-making processes that include citizens’ voices in a meaningful way? How can they make sure that all user groups are represented and have the financial and time resources to participate effectively? Which instruments, such as surveys, discussion roundtables or social media engagement are most effective for ensuring a fruitful citizen engagement? Another important role for research is documenting the value of meaningful participation processes in facilitating project delivery on time and on budget to administrations sceptical about their value.

3)      Make digitally enabled transport innovations part of accessible and safe systems for all: Digital transport innovations have provided solutions that could help bridge access gaps and include previously excluded users into transport systems. Demand-responsive app-based services, for instance, could help reduce transport ‘deserts’ in geographically distant and lower-income communities. Yet, challenges remain. How to make sure that these services are affordable and can be used by all transport users, such as those without access to smartphones, internet connections or the unbanked, lower income population as well as those with low digital skills?  How can these services be designed so that they can be used by all users, no matter their cognitive, sensory or physical conditions? And how can authorities regulate services such as forms of app-based shared mobility so that they are safe and accessible for all users, including those with physical, cognitive or sensory impairments?

4)      Fund public and active transport for all in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic: During the Covid-19 pandemic public transport services have been reduced in many cities around the world, either because of movement restriction measures or because of a financial hardship due to decrease in ridership. Emerging complementary shared mobility services (e.g. shared e-scooters, shared bikes, shared vans, etc) have also been put in jeopardy while at the same time the demand for active transport modes (walking and cycling) has increased during the pandemic and brought many cities to adapt temporarily their infrastructures to those needs. The situation has shown how essential public transport is for granting access to essential opportunities, particularly for lower income groups. It has also reflected how vulnerable many networks are to major shifts in public finances, in a context of major budget decline. It has further highlighted and enhanced investment needs for guaranteeing environmentally-friendly, suitable, accessible and healthy rides for all users. In many cities, the need to make emerging active mobility infrastructures permanent has also increased funding needs. How can public authorities guarantee funding for maintaining and eventually expanding zero-emission public transport services and new forms of active mobility? Which alternatives do public authorities have for increasing the resilience of sustainable transport public finances? And how can public and private stakeholders cooperate to keep emerging and complementary forms of shared mobility alive in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic?