The 5th International Conference “Role and Place of Intelligent Transport Systems in Highway Network of the Russian Federation. Current Development Trends” (ITSONROAD) was held in Moscow in the Skolkovo Technology Park on 13-15 November 2018 and supported by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, Federal Road Agency, Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, Committee of the State Duma for Transport and Construction, Business Russia, Opora Russia, JSC “RSMB Corporation”, GLONASS Union, Skolkovo Foundation and NTI AutoNet.
Long ago this conference became one of the most important events for those interested in promotion of innovative technologies and services which are employed in the existing transport systems in the road construction industry in Russia. It is a principal forum for sharing experiences and analysis of solutions used in the field of intelligent transport system. This year organizers delivered new discussion concepts for the most pressing industry-specific topics and as well ensured a wider range of participants.
This anniversary conference organized by “Russian Highways” State Company was attended by over 400 participants from 8 countries worldwide and proved to be the best forum to discuss development prospects and implementation of state-of-the-art technologies on expressways in the Russian Federation.
Creation of expressways as public assets and stages of modification of toll collection technologies, use of intelligent transport systems to optimize budgetary expenditures born by the state in the road construction industry and improvement of traffic safety, start-ups and digital communications as a basis for mobility of people and things were discussed on the first day of this forum as part of respective workshops and sessions.
The second day of the 5th International Conference ITSONROAD started with the Digitalization and Human Capital plenary session. Not only issues related to technologies, but as well human capital, development and improvement of personnel training quality nationwide as well were brought up for the first time ever during this conference. According to its attendees, personnel remains the industry backbone in the age of digital technologies, too. Artificial intelligence cannot exclude the human factor. It modifies the scheme of interaction of a specialist with ITS and smart technologies only.
“This year it’s the 5th International Conference ITSONROAD. However, previously we never discussed the problem of human capital. We dealt with certain elements of intelligent transport systems only. But now we discuss human resources, training and acquisition of fundamental knowledge. This is only possible in the companies or corporations which are capable of delivering respective modifications, seek and do the required transformation,” explained Chairman of the Board of “Russian Highways” State Company Sergei Kelbakh.
Moreover, use of fully autonomous vehicles by the community was discussed on the second day of this conference. The importance of respective infrastructure required for operation of fully autonomous vehicles was a point of hot debate. Notably, an opinion offered by Yandex representative that a fully autonomous vehicle did not require any infrastructure resulted in a barrage of questions put by other attendees.
Both practical aspects of employment of ITS systems in the regions (presentations were made by the teams from the Kaluga and Ryazan Regions) and conceptual approaches to the problem of creation of an integrated digital urban environment were discussed as part of the Smart City as a Digital Economy Foundation session.
Furthermore, the attendees discussed the use of telematic systems in the industry and blockchain technologies in international corridors.
Summarizing the results, as part of an open mike session it was noted that the format of ITS discussion by industry participants changed greatly over recent years. A fundamentally different approach suggests that a professional community shall consider a road as an undivided infrastructure facility with ITS systems embedded in various highway formation phases starting from its design and covering all other life cycle stages, including but not limited to, interaction with highway end users and fully autonomous vehicles. This shows that in general the Russian transportation industry develops progressively and is indicative of new prospects of the road industry which are to be considered in a planning process based on transport modelling, thus bringing us back again to ITS.