BYLINE: Hans Rat

Secretary General, UITP

MOBILITY IS about more than just getting from one place to another. Today it is considered part of our quality of life, and nowhere is this more apparent than in major cities and their suburbs. It is also here that public transport plays a particularly important role, with rail and bus providing safe, environmentally-friendly mobility for a multitude of people at a price they can afford.

Mobility is crucial to the economic well-being of cities and a driver for their future success. This one of the reasons UITP has changed the name of its exhibition to Mobility & City Transport, reflecting new developments in the market and broadening the scope from public transport to mobility providers.

All those involved in mass transit are facing tremendous challenges, but these can bring even greater opportunities. Many of these issues will be debated and discussed at the 54th UITP World Congress in London, where the full four-day programme provides a forum to debate and discuss key issues on all aspects of public transport.

Industry professionals are invited to visit the Exhibition, even if they are not attending the Congress. There will be nearly 200 exhibitors showcasing all types of mobility services filling Earls Court, making it the biggest trade event in London during 2001. Our local host is Transport for London, and the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, is giving his full support. Together we have tried to broaden the appeal to delegates and visitors, with a programme of side events to complement the exhibition and make it even more productive.

Each day will have a theme, such as Marketing & Advertising in Public Transport, with a multimedia show of best practice from all over the world. There will be a day focussing on users with impaired mobility, another on the use of design and culture and a day dedicated to encouraging women to use public transport.

Come and have ’A Fresh Look’ at London’s transport network, too. UITP and TfL gave a group of photography students the opportunity to roam the network over a single 24h period, and the results will be unveiled in this special exhibition.

All in all, the 54th UITP Congress promises to be an exciting occasion, and I look forward to seeing you all there. n

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