Innovation is contextual…

Alain Flausch, Secretary General UITP untill May-2017, delivery of the prize to Flávio (Addax) and Renata Verissimo (EMTU/SP)

By Renata Veríssimo – Montreal – 15-17 May 2017 – I imagined that it would be like this. Everything in the same time, lots of discussions, many ideas and possibilities of innovation in the public transport. Big Data, Open Data, Design Thinking guiding the adjustments in the managements processes, increasingly horizontal, sharing of data and the empowerment of data analysis inteligencies and their multidisciplinary integrations, are a few brushstrokes of what was said in Montreal, Canada, during the UITP Global Public Transport Summit, between 15-17 of May in this year. And the highest moment was when the Addax Economic and Financial Advisory and the Metropolitan Integrated System of EMTU/SP received the UITP world prize.

The category was the Innovative Business and Financing Models and the Public Private Partnership focused on the provision of services in intermunicipal transport – which includes the operation of LRT, the bus, the vehicle and systems supply – in the nine municipalities from Baixada Santista, considered by UITP a world innovation. Article in Portuguese, if you prefer


In the scope of Latin América there were also awarded prizes from Brazil, the Via Quatro, the operator of Yellow Line of Metro of São Paulo, was considered the best practice of Promotion, Communication and Urban Mobility which its project Crowded Train, In which the technology crosses a series of real-time information to inform the user the most empty doors to board before the train even reaches the platform.

Autopass also received Latin American recognition in the Communication category, with the campaign made for the BOM Card, “More than 6 million cards. And thousands of stories, “in celebration of the brand of 6 million cards issued.


Demand versus velocity

Societies really demand speed and adaptations to the public transport ecosystem. Some may even be disruptive, but if they are not okay provided they improve people’s daily lives, OK. “Innovation does not have to be a change of game … solutions as innovation are contextual,” said Leon Daniels, director of Transportation for London (TfL), the company responsible for the London transport network, in its presentation at UMii – Forum of UITP Innovation, during the international event. Truth!

What has turned out most in this world was the conceptual changes of how to manage a business with vast similar characteristics around the world. The moment now is to apply new methods that seek solutions to challenges within the institutions themselves, in conjunction with society to improve these managements, with greater speed, less investment and a high acceptance rate of customers.

An example of this is the TfL that since opening its operational data (Open Data) has managed to reach amazing numbers of this interface with society. Around 8,200 developers freely obtain company data which has already contributed to the creation of 500 Urban Mobility Apps. And see … more than 40% of London users benefit from this information available. No wonder some of the company’s slogans are “Keeping London moving” and “Every Journey Matters” and for that it uses 32% of every pound it receives for future actions.

tfl e logoWell, but the star was even such autonomous cars – vehicles without driver, artificial intelligence at the service of public transport. Undeniable reality. Question is no longer if they will come, but when will be available anywhere. The French company Navya, which specializes in electrical and autonomous transport systems, has made available to the participants a model of the autonomous, already in operation in several places, including Sion, a small town of 30,000 inhabitants in the Swiss Alps.


Clean energy, on demand and with excellent results in the first and last parts of an everyday trip. This sustainable option is closer than we imagine. Google, Uber, Samsung and other companies already test with them. In Sweden there are even self-propelled garbage trucks in operation. . What more is coming soon?

The challenge of changes

And in fact, it is difficult an embracing new technologies in this monstrous sector, either by volume of data or by number of transported, without us having the young. And to know that EMTU / SP contributed with the sending of two of them to the world Hackatona that happened in Montreal was extraordinary. The Sales brothers – Gustavo and Mateus – won the 1st Metropolitan Public Transport Hackaton of Brazil, organized by Metra and EMTU / SP in March of this year. “Here we open our minds as well as a mobile application. Here we understand more about the mobility business, “said Gustavo Salles in Montreal. They left Canada with more gas for the [E] Lab – Experiments in Transport that will start operating in June-17 at the São Bernardo do Campo unit of EMTU.


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“We did not build walls, we build bridges.” The mayor of Montreal, Canada, Denis Coderre, ended his participation in the UITP Global Public Transport Summit with this phrase that raised the audience of more than a thousand people. He was obviously referring to the president of the United States and to the bridge that the city is building now and which will serve the future VLT, the first in the city in two years.

But it makes us think that public transport should not be limited, divided, segregated, but rather to integrate people and create paths that lead them wherever they wish, always offering usable alternatives in a timely manner and with democratic access to their use. This task is sometimes complicated, costly and with numerous political interference. That’s how it is here, it’s like that in Dubai, that’s how it is in Montreal. The technological and behavioural changes of the society, faster and faster, are far removed from the adjustments that the public sector of mobility should do to accompany them. Challenges to be overcome for those who have a passion for this sector.

The next avenue will be in Stockholm, Sweden, on 9-12 June 2019.

I was in the UITP Global Public Transport Summit on behalf of the president of EMTU/SP, Joaquim Lopes Jr, and with a big honour I brought to Brazil and to Latin America the world recognition award.

Grateful for the experiencie!


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