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ITF Annual Summit Research Sessions
held as part of the 2023 ITF Annual Summit

Transport Enabling Sustainable Economies

24-26 May 2023
Leipzig, Germany


Call for Abstracts

The International Transport Forum (ITF), together with the European Commission (EC), the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI), the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS), is pleased to announce the ITF Annual Summit Research Sessions as part of the official programme of the ITF 2023 Annual Summit on Transport Enabling Sustainable Economies, to be held in Leipzig, Germany, 24-26 May 2023.

The objective of the Summit Research Sessions is to bring together subject matter research experts, senior-level practitioners, as well as policy-makers and strategists to discuss and inform decision-makers on issues relevant to the Summit's themes. This is increasingly important considering the pace at which our transport systems are currently evolving. Researchers can inform policy decisions by helping practitioners understand the increasing complexity of mobility systems; by raising awareness about the latest innovations that could be critical for a sustainable future; and by critically assessing the potential and the impacts of current and burgeoning policies.  The ITF Annual Summit Research Sessions offer an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas.

ITF Summit Format
Three research sessions will be included in the main programme of the Summit and a research perspective will be brought to some of the other Summit panels:  

  • The three research sessions will promote exchanges between research experts and senior-level policymakers and strategists focused on themes stemming from the Summit.  Each session will include a senior-level policy official to participate in the discussion and interact  with the audience;
  • Panel sessions will bring together transport ministers, industry leaders and other representatives from diverse stakeholder groups on a specific policy topics. Key researchers and policy experts will participate in selected panels and offer insight on how research-based evidence factors into policy discussions.

Submission of Abstracts for the Three Research Sessions
The 2023 ITF Summit on Transport Enabling Sustainable Economies will explore the role of transport as an enabler of economic growth while supporting environmental and social sustainability.  To this end, depending on the abstracts received, it may also explore questions that are either similar or linked to the following topics: 

  • how to promote inclusive transport access policies to leave no one behind, especially underserved communities?,
  • how to foster economic growth and stability through transport systems that increase the connection between people and access to goods?,
  • how to enhance safety and resilience, as well as sustain the environmental health of transport systems?, and
  • how to facilitate the design, funding and implementation of more resilient sustainable transport networks?

Summit discussions will cut across passenger and freight transport activities while providing a multi-modal perspective. The Summit will also explore how authorities can balance short- and long-term priorities as they plan for a sustainable future while preparing for recurrent shocks to transport systems.

In planning their actions for the coming years, policymakers need knowledge and insights from researchers and other policy experts.  As such, the Summit Research Sessions will focus on the following three specific topics:

  1. Financing transport climate adaptation to enhance systems' resilience and sustainability;
  2. Capturing accessibility and road safety benefits in passenger transport planning and funding in and outside of cities; and
  3. Promoting (circular) transport systems as critical components of a circular economy.

Therefore, we invite researchers and policy analysts/strategist of varying levels of expertise to submit abstracts of up to 1000 words that address Transport Enabling Sustainable Economies, focusing on one of the three stated topics. Further background on those topics can be found in Annexe 1 of this annoucement.

DEADLINE EXTENDED:  Abstracts shall be submitted by Tuesday, 28 February 2023, 11 pm (UTC-05:00) on link. 


Abstract Submission and Selection Process
Round 1 - Submit an abstract:  Abstracts can refer to quantitative or qualitative research from both transport and mobility, as well as academic fields linked to transport.  Abstracts must include a title, the name(s) of author(s), agency affiliation, and contact details.  Please also include the details of any project websites and identify how the abstract's research connects to one or more of the three topics listed above. Given the overall goal of the Summit Research Sessions to foster research-policy linkages, abstracts should clearly elaborate on their relevance and potential to impact policy, and discuss how the research contributes to the processes of developing and implementing policy. Successful abstracts will advance to Round 2 of the selection process.

Round 2 - Submit a recorded presentation:  Selected abstracts authors will be invited to record and submit a brief 5-10 video presentation based on their submitted abstract.  Following their review and judging, selected authors of selected presentations will be invited to present their research at the Summit Research Sessions.  Authors invited to submit a recorded presentation must indicate their willingness to travel and present their research in person.  Authors are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses.  Applicants will be informed of their selection by the third week of April 2023.

Abstracts and presentations can be submitted in both English and French, the two official languages of the International Transport Forum. 


Annexe 1: Broader Description of Topics

  • Financing transport climate adaptation to enhance systems' resilience and sustainability:  Climate change-generated disasters and changes in weather conditions affect and will keep on affecting infrastructures and operations of passenger and freight transport networks. Local and national authorities, private stakeholders and international organisations worldwide need to find ways to assess adverse impacts and target limited resources towards projects that will guarantee networks' capacities to sustain, adapt to and overcome future disruptions.  Nevertheless, various challenges exist, in particular:  how to properly assess short- and longer-term climate-based disruptions's risks for infrastructure assets, operations, supply chains and impacted communities?; how can risk assessments inform the identification and prioritisation of funding needs across various transport modes;  how can risks and investment needs be shared among multiple stakeholders?; and which emerging instruments could help stakeholders to meet funding challenges, both in developed and developing contexts?  
  • Capture accessibility and road safety benefits in passenger transport planning and funding in and outside of cities:  Passenger transport activities are a means to increase people's well-being by allowing them to access essential opportunities safely. Yet, accessibility and road safety benefits of transport projects are not always integrated into networks' appraisal, planning and financing, neither in cities nor outside of them. Various reasons contribute to this. First, in multiple contexts, transport planners seek to increase people's mobility – especially by private motorised modes - instead of focusing directly on providing accessibility gains that respond to user's needs. Second, even when safe accessibility is a focus, it can be difficult to determine and measure the levels of access that users want and need.  Integrating these values and road safety levels into traditional cost-benefit analysis processes can be methodologically challenging, especially when considering aspects, such as people's physical and socio-economic characteristics.  Third, even when authorities can integrate comprehensive access and road safety metrics in their decision-making processes, these indicators can be hard to communicate to policy makers, making them hard to operationalise. This topic focuses on how authorities at all levels can overcome these challenges to create mobility systems that put access and road safety at the centre of planning and funding decisions.  Specifically for cities, it considers how to assess ways of reinforcing links between mobility planning and management in order to develop sustainable mobility systems with people as the main focus.
  • Promote (circular) transport systems as crucial components of a circular economy:  The circular economy as an economic paradigm aims at maximising the use of existing assets to decrease waste, pollution and resource extraction as much as possible.  Ways of doing so include fostering the sharing, refurbishing and repurposing of existing resources in a way that extends their lifecycle and decreases the need for producing new items.  Little attention has been given to how to promote circularity within the transport sector, as well as to the broader role of freight transport in promoting a circular economy.  Authorities could find value in research answers to the following questions:  how to foster circularity in materials linked to transport assets, including transport infrastructure and vehicles?; how to promote sustainable circularity regarding second-hand vehicles going from developed to developing economies?;  how to foster the circularity of electric vehicle battery materials?; what is the role of urban and non-urban transport logistics in enhancing the circularity of systems?; and with increases in e-commerce, how to manage reverse logistics flows stemming from end-users and integrate them into sustainable circular freight transport systems?