The UITP Global Transport Summit is the world’s largest event dedicated to sustainable mobility.
It takes place between 9 – 12 June and is the summit’s biggest edition yet.
Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General of the UITP, provides a preview of the event and what it will mean for the sector.
The next UITP Global Public Transport Summit will take place in Stockholm. What can you tell us about this edition?
The next UITP Summit will be the biggest edition yet. The Summit was previously held in Stockholm in 1991, where it was known as the UITP World Congress. The growth and recognition of the Summit is something truly incredible. It has become the largest event of its kind in public transport and urban mobility. In Stockholm we will have 280 exhibitors across 4,0000m2 of space. 2500 participants and attendees will join us in Sweden with more than 10000 visitors expected per day. These are brilliant numbers! What makes the UITP Global Public Transport Summit the biggest of its kind is that we cover all modes. We have mass transit and shared modes and new players all under one roof. It is also the global reach that makes the UITP Summit special. Our worldwide attendance will reach up to 90 countries. We will also have a rich programme that covers many sectoral topics and will take place across plenary sessions, lunch sessions, poster sessions and exhibition sessions. The 2019 programme will revolve around seven main topics: customer service excellence, planning and governance for improving quality of life in cities, mobility as a service and the new combined mobility paradigm, attracting new talents and skills, operational excellence, funding and finance and harvesting innovation. These will be discussed through plenary sessions and panel discussions. Taking part in these discussions will be hundreds of high-level speakers from around the world, including CEOs, political figures and innovators. So far we have leading names from France, Indonesia, China, Australia, Canada, Kenya and Saudi Arabia, to name but a few. The UITP Summit offers something for everyone, at all times.
The theme for the 2019 Summit is “The Art of Public Transport.” What does the theme mean to you personally?
The theme for each Summit edition is carefully selected. The UITP Summit always has a theme which is relevant and special to the host city. “The Art of Public Transport” is not the 2019 theme by chance! It’s inspired by the Swedish metro holding the distinction of being ‘the longest art gallery in the world’. However, the theme of the Summit is more than just the artistic aspect. We are also encompassing the craft and excellence in delivering public transport; the engineering aspect, the governance of public transport. We will also cover the latest innovations that illustrates this art. It’s also important to emphasise the key role of the people who deliver the state-of-the-art public transport around the world. Our industry colleagues, including the very talented UITP staff, are ‘mobility artists’ – working every day to showcase public transport. The theme will show and reflect their contribution to the sector. The UITP team has been showcasing their abilities as artists by taking pictures around the world with our stencils – not only does this show the global reach of our staff and membership, but also that “The Art of Public Transport” can truly be found everywhere!
This is your first Summit as UITP’s Secretary General. How does this impact your view during the Summit preparation?
It may be my first Summit as UITP Secretary General but it is my no means by first Summit! It will actually be my 11th edition in many different roles. My first Summit was in 1999 in Toronto, which was held two months after I first arrived at UITP. I was also Project Manager of the 2011 in Dubai, the 2013 edition in Geneva and the 2015 edition in Milan. I also supervised the 2017 edition in Montreal while UITP Deputy Secretary General. I was obviously very involved in the day-to-day managing of the Summit. Now I oversee developments in conveying my views and expectations to the very talented UITP team! The planning is going very well and I’m very confident in its success. In fact, the team is organising this edition so well that they won’t even need me to have a successful event!
As the biggest event of its kind in public transport and urban mobility, how important has the UITP Summit become to the sector?
UITP has more than 1600 members across the globe and the UITP Summit has become so important to the sector that our members consider it a first Tier event. This is extremely flattering as they clearly view it as an unmissable event. For exhibitors – it is the event as the UITP Summit is essential to their work. There’s the chance to premiere their innovations and to showcase to the industry. Crowds come from all over the world – transport leaders and CEOs – and visitors get to hear them speak and meet them. We also have a growing number of political figures participate, which is very important as it shows that key decision-makers view the Summit as relevant part of their calendar. The wide variety of topics on offer is also covered by the international press and media, with a very strong showing from the trade press. The first Summit was held in 1886, the year after UITP came in to being, and the numerous editions since then have built great credibility to become the best event in the eyes of the sector.