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ITF Annual Summit Research Sessions
held as part of the 2024 ITF Annual Summit

22-24 May 2024
Leipzig, Germany

Call for Extended Abstracts

Submission deadline extended to 05 February 2024

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), is pleased to announce the ITF Annual Research Sessions as part of the official programme of the ITF 2024 Annual Summit on Greening Transport: Keeping Focus in Times of Crisis to be held in person in Leipzig, Germany, 22-24 May 2024.

The Summit will explore the role of transport in environmental sustainability and assess the impacts of various crises (geopolitical, climate, and weather-related) on the transport sector, and discuss ways forward for increading resilience. Further, it will focus on how public authorities can balance short and long-term priorities as they plan for a sustainable future.

The objective of the Summit Research Sessions is to bring together subject matter research experts, senior-level policy practitioners, as well as decision-makers, to discuss and exchange ideas on specific Summit themes. Researchers can inform policy decisions by helping practitioners understand the increasing complexity of mobility systems; by bringing 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. This is increasingly important considering the pace at which our transport systems are currently evolving.

Format of the research-focused events of the ITF Summit
Three Research Sessions will be included in the main programme of the Summit and a research perspective will also be brought to many Panel Sessions: 

  • The three Research Sessions will promote exchanges between research experts and policy practitioners focused on the Summit themes.
  • Panel Sessions will bring together Transport Ministers, industry leaders and other stakeholders to discuss a specific policy topic. Researchers and policy practitioners will also participate in selected panels and offer insights to enrich policy discussions.

Submission of abstracts for the three Research Sessions
The following policy-relevant questions will guide discussions at the three Research Sessions

  • How can transport and energy innovations be leveraged to achieve the transport sector's wider sustainability goals?
  • How to plan for climate-change mitigation and adaptation of the transport sector in times of crisis?
  • How to shape cities for accessibility and influence people's mobility behaviour and consumer patterns, for more sustainable, inclusive and healthier transport systems?

To select the researchers who will present their work at the three Research Sessions, we invite submissions for extended abstracts of up to 1000 words that focus on one of the three questions above. The submission must be accompanied by a three (3) minutes-long video recording explaining the relevance of their contribution for the chosen submission topic. Further background on those topics can be found in Annex 1.

Abstracts and videos must be submitted no later than Monday, 05 February 2024, 11:00 PM ET (GMT-5) using the button below. 
Any submissions received after this deadline will not be accepted for consideration.

Guidelines for abstracts and videos
Abstracts can draw on quantitative or qualitative research in the fields of transport, mobility, or any other academic fields linked to transport. Abstracts must include a title, the name(s) of author(s), their organisation affiliations, and their contact details. Please also include details of any project website(s) where additional information is available, and identify which one (or more) of the three topics listed above your abstract relates to. Given that the overall goal of the Research Sessions is to foster research-policy linkages, abstracts must clearly elaborate on their relevance and potential to impact policy, as well as on how the research contributes to the processes of developing and implementing policy.

Videos must explain the relevance of a submission to the Summit theme and concisely summarise how research findings address one of the three questions set out above. In case of submissions with multiple co-authors, the video recording should be prepared by the lead author who will present the research at the Summit. Presentations can be done by using a slide-deck, but this is not mandatory. They must be submitted in an mp4 format.    

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

Selection process
For both the abstract and the video submissions, applicants will be evaluated on the following:

  • relevance of the research for policymaking in the chosen submission category(ies);
  • potential of the research outputs to improve policymaking;
  • methodological soundness of the presented work;
  • clarity of argument; and
  • uniqueness and innovativeness of the presented work. 

Based on these criteria, submissions will first be reviewed by a team of ITF and independent experts. The final selection of speakers will then be conducted by a jury composed of members of the five partner organising institutions. Successful applicants will be informed of the outcome of the selection process by mid-March 2024.

Selected authors will be invited to present their research in person at the ITF 2024 Summit, 22-24 May 2024.  The possibility to organise an article collection of papers selected for presentations at the ITF Research Sessions in Partners' Journals will be considered on the basis of the authors' interest.

As Summit speakers, the selected authors will have their Summit registration fees covered by the ITF; however, these authors will be responsible for their own travel, hotel, and any other related expenses. We recommend authors who require a visa to travel to Germany start processing it as soon as possible.  

For further information, please contact:

Annex 1: Three policy-relevant questions for abstract submissions

How can transport and energy innovation be leveraged to achieve the transport sector's wider sustainability goals?  Innovation can help policymakers achieve greener, more resilient, inclusive, and financially sustainable transport systems. At the same time, innovation can bring potential disruption in transport as well as challenges, in particular with respect to safety and data privacy. A sustainable mobility future will need to leverage innovations stemming from transport and other sectors, such as energy. In this context, the abstract submissions on this theme should focus on a selection of the following aspects of this topic:

  • Which technologies can best support the transition to more sustainable transport? What is the most likely contribution of energy-related innovations for achieving transport decarbonization objectives?
  • And what are their implications for future energy demand and supply across different sectors of the economy?   
  • How should transport systems be re-designed under new constraints of renewable energy resources and carriers?
  • How can potential costs and benefits of different energy and transport innovation be assessed and incorporated into long-term planning strategies?
  • In the context of limited resources, how can public authorities decide which innovations to support and how to foster them?
  • Which supportive policies are needed to accelerate the convergence between transport and energy systems in a way that is mutually reinforcing?
  • To what degree and how should public authorities regulate emerging technologies to harness their potential while countering potential negative externalities?                                                                                                      

How to plan for climate-change mitigation and adaptation of the transport sector in times of crisis? With transport responsible for around  a third of global CO2 emissions, addressing the climate-change imperative is one of the most important goals facing transport policymakers.  Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts have disrupted the transport sector and supply chains, further contributing to an energy crisis and environmental challenges. The abstract submissions on this theme should focus on how policymakers can work to achieve the long-term decarbonization objectives for the sector in an era of uncertainty, focussing on a selection of the following aspects of the topic:

  • What do horizon scans tell us about where policy focus should be for climate-change mitigation and adaptation in transport?
  • What have recent experiences with the Covid-19 pandemic and various geo-political and economic crises taught governments about responding to short-term needs while staying on track for achieving longer-term goals? 
  • What governance frameworks can help achieve better plans for future climate-change mitigation and adaptation in transport? What is the value of cross-sectoral approaches to planning, especially in uncertain times, and how to promote governance frameworks that include such approaches?
  • How to incorporate resilience into decision-making frameworks guiding investment in transport infrastructure?
  • How can national and local governments foster public acceptability for transport decarbonization considering its possible costs, for example higher fuel prices? What mitigation strategies can be put in place?

How to shape cities for accessibility and influence people's mobility behavior and consumer patterns, for more sustainable, inclusive and healthier transport systems? As the world becomes increasingly urban, the ways in which cities are designed and the interactions between urban space and passenger and freight transport will continue to define the health and quality of life of urbanites. Among other factors, urban design, space and its interactions with transport determine accessibility and influence the mobility behavior and consumer patterns of people and freight movements in cities. The exact ways in which these factors influence mobility is context specific, especially in the global south urban contexts, where informal or paratransit services exist in parallel to government funded public transport. They extend the reach of public transport and in some cities carry the majority of passengers.  The abstract submissions on this theme should focus on a selection of the following aspects of the topic:

  • How to measure the positive and negative health impacts of urban passenger and freight transport? How can health considerations be incorporated into the decision-making frameworks of transport planners (i.e. Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) in urban settings?
  • How to measure and plan for better access to daily needs?
  • How to select and operate transport mode types offering healthy and affordable options for users?
  • How can informal (or paratransit) transport, in particular, contribute to better health, inclusion and sustainability outcomes in cities?
  • What urban form and spatial design patterns should be the basis of more sustainable, inclusive and healthy urban transport activities? How can authorities foster them while taking into account the needs of all user groups, including those on lower-incomes, children, persons of various genders, the elderly, asylum seekers, migrants and people with disabilities?
  • How can authorities manage transport demand and foster permanent changes of the preferences and choices of transport users, consumers and companies for more sustainable passenger and freight activities?
  • How can authorities (better) take into account the needs of transport operators bringing people and goods to cities?
  • Which methods work best to engage with the public when addressing infrastructure and urban design?