Mohamed Mezghani is the Secretary-General of UITP (International Association of Public Transport). UITP works to enhance the quality of life and economic well-being of cities by supporting and promoting sustainable transport in urban areas worldwide. With more than 1,700 members in almost 100 countries, UITP is the only worldwide network to bring together all public transport stakeholders and all sustainable transport modes.
Mezghani writes for the International Business Times, India, on the 2019 UITP Global Public Transport Summit, the future of the sector, and the focus on people with his message of "the 4 Ps".
As Secretary-General of UITP, it is always an honour to advocate for our sector at every opportunity. UITP is a broad church that is proud to have all players as part of our global family. We must always spread the word of public transport at every turn, which is why it was fantastic to see public transport discussed last month in a UITP article here at International Business Times, India.
As an international association, active in almost all corners of Earth, we must speak from all platforms. It's important that people understand what public transport offers urban living, and recognise that it's the blood in which our cities flow.
Last month, we spoke about the work of UITP, and how we are "Redefining Public Transport" alongside our global membership. All of these ideas came to life during the recently-concluded UITP Global Public Transport Summit, held last month in Stockholm, Sweden (June 9-12), to great success! As the largest association of our kind, it's only fitting that UITP hosts the defining event in public transport and urban mobility every two years.
It was here that the sector came together to witness a world-class exhibition with more than 470 global players exhibiting their work across 40,000m2, and an exceptional conference featuring 53 sessions with 300 speakers and a total of 2,718 attendees from 81 countries. We hosted 15,000 visitors to the exhibition with almost 170 press and media delegates covering every topic. With all of the sector gathered, the path ahead was laid out.
It was a special honour for me to be able to deliver several speeches, on many different topics, and from many different platforms, during our Global Summit. What was clear to me is the red thread connecting each moment...people. It may be obvious to all of those working in our sector that what we do on a daily basis is always with the passenger in mind, but perhaps not everyone sees how much public transport belongs to the people. It's what makes our cities live and breathe: it's people's transport.
As part of UITP's vision to redefine our sector, our collaboration with BBC StoryWorks, the content-marketing division of BBC Global News, saw us produce more than a dozen mini-documentaries highlighting the many different ways public transport benefits our lives. This series was filmed across 17 cities, on 4 continents, and witnessed our members bringing the incredible work and vision they have for urban mobility to the screen. Our campaign to continue highlighting this will develop in the months ahead and I encourage every to learn more about what our sector offers through our special redefiningPT.uitp.org hub. You will be amazed at the talented people, and their artistic vision, behind each beautifully-crafted film.
It connected very well to our Summit theme for this year, 'The Art of Public Transport'. The Summit confirmed that public transport stakeholders have the capacity to make the most out of its art. With people in mind, I was drawn to the need to highlight the winning spirit and determination to lead that I've come to summarise into four main messages: 'the '4Ps'.
The first is partnerships, joining forces for better mobility and improved service. The multiplicity and the diversity of mobility stakeholders require new forms of cooperation, an evolution of our governance models with transport authorities taking a new dimension, and partnerships with other sectors to jointly advocate the benefits of public transport.
The second is about places, reflecting people's expectations in transport places. The urban space should primarily be made for people and not only vehicles. With the multiplication of modes, interchange stations will take a renewed dimension. And vehicles see their design evolving to consider specific expectations of each traveller.
The third P is for Performances, advocating public transport benefits while improving its efficiency. Public transport is demonstrating its tremendous contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals on urban accessibility - it's capacity to make cities better places to live in and business more prosper. Its efficiency and technical performances are improved thanks to digitalisation and electrification.
The fourth P is for People, putting them at the heart of public transport. Politicians must hear the new expectations of their citizens, while public transport stakeholders should redefine the services to answer the customers' requirements. Of course, this is only possible with visionary and caring management and, committed and happy staff with the need to involve more women in the sector.
If I could take one collective thought away from the UITP Summit, it would be what an exciting and positive time it is for public transport. The creativity and forward-looking vision of our stakeholders are putting the sector in a leadership position.
Public transport is imposing itself as the preferred choice in political decisions, and its focus on people embraced and implemented. Public transport is not just about operating metros, trains or buses - it's about making people happy, and it's about making an impact on people's life.