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Driving Innovation

Richard ButterIntertraffic’s domain manager for worldwide events, Richard Butter, picks his highlights of 2016’s Amsterdam show, and predicts how smart transportation technologies will transform the industry in the coming months and years.

Amsterdam is the biggest event in the Intertraffic calendar. What particular highlights should attendees be looking out for this year?

We will be focusing on more innovations than ever before. One exhibition hall will be designed and equipped to show them off to their full extent. It will have a Start-up Pavilion and an Experience Lab. The hall will also focus on smart urban-mobility solutions with a massive daily conference program on the show floor. The layout and conference program will be based around the themes of Transportation & Traffic Efficiency; Customized Mobility; Ecomobility; and Safety. Other highlights in 2016 will be the demonstration area, which will feature automated driving, in addition to hosting the European Truck Platooning Challenge.

On the educational level, there will also be several workshops from the IRF (International Road Federation) and a big ITS Summit on April 4, organized by ITS Netherlands (Connekt). During the week of Intertraffic Amsterdam, a lot of events will also be driven by the fact that 2016 sees the Netherlands assume the EU presidency.

It’s two years since the last Intertraffic Amsterdam. Over that time, what do you think have been the biggest changes in the industry?

The fast developments around connected, cooperative and autonomous driving. It’s an interesting time, where all kinds of different industries are beginning to merge: automotive, car manufacturers, ICT, telecoms, traffic management, big data. ITS (intelligent transportation systems) offer us a great opportunity to team up with all those industries and involve them more and more in our show. It is our key to new industries.

The big issues surrounding autonomous vehicles include working out who’s responsible in the event of an accident, improving overall safety, and building new insurance models around this. Also, the fact that cars will be communicating with each other in real time will have a significant impact on how we manage mobility. The old-fashioned ways are fast disappearing.

What other Intertraffic events are happening around the world? Why has it been decided to launch an Intertraffic show in Mexico this year?

Intertraffic Istanbul has been a great show; last May (2015), it grew significantly and proved that it is playing an ever-more important role in Eurasia and especially in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Intertraffic Mexico is very interesting. It came up as a potential growth market after extensive market research. Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, and the 14th economy in the world. Goldman Sachs predicts that Mexico’s economy will be the 5th in the world by 2050. To fulfill this ambition, there has to be an upgrade in the transportation infrastructure, something the Mexican government understands and is committed to. Our big international clients also see the opportunities and we want to bring business to them.

We had a very good show last March in Shanghai, China. The number of visitors was higher than expected and although the market is still emerging, we see a lot of opportunities popping up with specialist matchmaking programs.

What lessons does the city of Amsterdam itself have to teach the wider world of transportation?

In Amsterdam, there’s a lot going on with smart mobility apps to make getting around easier. Also some smart projects have been started by the city of Amsterdam to influence the flow of commuter traffic. There’s also a €2bn (US$2.2bn) infrastructure investment planned at the Zuidas [Amsterdam’s business district]. It concerns the complete south area, a project where business, living and leisure meet each other; and where a big highway will go underground for 1km (0.6 miles).

What are your predictions for where the industry will be when we reconvene in another two years for Intertraffic Amsterdam 2018?

I’m convinced that we will grow our network especially in the automotive, big data, ICT and telecoms fields. From that point on, we will build and push forward on smart mobility. It’s where the innovation is. That doesn’t mean we forget about our traditional segments. They are smart enough. The CEO of Borum Industri just said to me that for secure autonomous driving you have to have excellent road markings, which is a great point. Smart systems won’t work unless they are built on solid foundations.

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To learn more about the Intertraffic brand, which hosts a major traffic event every other year in Amsterdam plus boasts two very successful satellite shows, one held every two years in Istanbul, Turkey, and the other taking place annually in China alternating between Shanghai and Beijing, visit