The 22nd International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment took place in Crete, organised by the University of Naples Federico II, represented by Prof Luca D’Acierno and the Wessex Institute of Technology, represented by Professor Carlos A. Brebbia.
The Conference, which started in 1995, continues to attract delegates from all over the world. Over the years, the meeting has evolved and now covers a wide range of topics of fundamental importance for urban transport systems. These systems require considerable research and development in their design, operations, maintenance and safety.
The issue of providing efficient urban transport systems, poses a challenge, with financial, political and environmental constraints which need to be taken into consideration to deliver high quality transportation demanded by the public.
Modern systems are also designed taking into consideration the mitigation of any negative environmental impacts. This requires developing an interdisciplinary approach in which all these factors can be assessed and their interaction optimised.
Urban Transport, with its related environmental and social impacts, is a topic of concern for policy makers in government as well as all citizens who need to have efficient, effective and environmentally friendly transportation.
Opening of the Conference
The Meeting was opened by Professor Carlos A. Brebbia who welcomed the delegates in the name of his Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT). The Conference programme, Carlos explained, is particularly important to achieve the main objective of the Institute, ie the global dissemination of knowledge.
These Conferences and the resulting series of volumes and special issues provide a rapid and efficient way to disseminate knowledge. All papers presented at WIT Conferences, for instance, are permanently archived in open access format in the eLibrary of the Institute (witpress.com/elibrary) from where they can be freely downloaded. This has resulted in an ever increasing readership for WIT papers which reflect well on the work of the participants and the high standing of the conferences.
WIT’s other activities in addition to conferences and publications relate to the dissemination of new ideas among the international community, in particular to industry. One of WIT’s achievements has been the idea of developing a novel computational tool (the Boundary Element Method, BEM) for the solution of a wide variety of engineering and scientific problems.
The research and development work associated with BEM continues to this day and has resulted in the method becoming a practical engineering tool. The application of the technique in an increasing number of applications requires constant evolution of the research work done at the Institute. The validation by industry of these developments is a source of special satisfaction to WIT.
Carlos presented a series of case studies ranging from bioengineering to aerospace applications; demonstrating the wide acceptability of the Method and the way in which the research has developed.
Finally, Carlos thanked the delegates once again for participating in the Conference and hoped that those who have not been in the New Forest Campus of WIT will consider visiting it to better appreciate the work done by the Institute.
The Conference programme included a series of invited presentations, as well as papers classified into sessions. The session headings were:
- Transportation planning
- Charging systems
- Emission studies
- Monitoring and measuring
- Environmental impacts
- Emerging strategies
The invited presentations given by well known colleagues helped to highlight some of the most relevant research carried out in different parts of the world. They were:
- “A neighbourhood search algorithm (NSA) for determining optimal intervention strategies in the use of metro system failures” by Luca D’Acierno, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
- “Spatial planning, transportation planning and environmental management policy informing strategic planning in support of modelling as integrative instrument in developing countries” by Carel Schoeman, Northwest University, South Africa
- “Vehicle exterior noise quality evaluation in different elastic track sections based on psychoacoustic parameters” by Li Li, Tongji University, China
- “Failures in interaction between powered two wheelers riders and other road users in urban accidents” by Pierre van Elslande, IFSTTAR, France
The Meeting was characterised by the high degree of interaction among the participants. There were numerous discussions during the sessions as well as outside the conference rooms. The delegates enjoyed the extended coffee and lunch breaks, which allowed them a better degree of interaction.
The outstanding hotel facilities and location, right on the sea front, created a climate of cordiality and promoted interaction among the delegates.
The Conference dinner consisted of a series of typical Cretan dishes, including lamb prepared with rice and other roasted meats. The wines and other dishes were also for the Island and of excellent quality. The evening ended with a variety of Cretan sweets and the Island’s formidable raki. The right programme included music and singing during the dinner and the presence of a local group which performed different types of Cretan dancing. At the end, the bravest delegates joined the dancers in a friendly atmosphere.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Conference met over dinner to discuss several points related to the forthcoming conference to take place in Rome from 5 to 7 September 2017 and define the objectives of the 2018 Conference.
The list of topics was discussed and updated, taking into account the most recent developments. Several nominations for the ISAC were discussed as well as possible locations. There was general agreement that the remarkable longevity of the Conference is due to its ability to evolve continuously.
Urban Transport 2017 was also the occasion of launching the new International Journal of Transport Development and Integration, the first copy of which has been widely distributed around the world. This Journal – as with all other publications of WIT Press – is published in digital and paper format, with the digital version being permanently archived in the eLibrary of the Institute (www.witpress.com/elibrary). This is a major initiative undertaken by WIT’s publishing arm to achieve maximum dissemination to the papers presented at all WIT Conferences.
Close of the Conference
The Conference was closed by Carlos who referred to the nice atmosphere that the meeting generated, leading to friendly exchanges and informal discussions. In this regard, the meeting has been highly successful.
Carlos concluded by expressing his appreciation to the members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee who helped to review abstracts and papers. Moreover Carlos wanted to express his appreciation to his Co-Chairman, colleague and friend, Professor Luca D’Acierno from the University of Naples Federico II for his collaboration.