AET is one of the leading European organisations of transport professionals and academics. It promotes professional training, the creation of networks and the exchange of ideas on all issues of mobility and transport. The members of the association, based in over 35 countries, actively manage the association by participating in the working groups and in the AET Council, carrying out the promotion and the development of research in the sector, the international relations with other associations, as well as ordinary administration (website, marketing, contracts, administration, etc.).
The main activity of the association is the European Transport Conference, an event that for 48 years has brought together over 450 experts, academics and professionals in the sector every year, contributing to enrich the debate on mobility and transport and, at the same time, offering a great opportunities for networking and creating long-life professional relationships. The conference’s multi-seminar approach is unique in Europe for the range of topics covered.
The conference program is delivered, in fact, in 9 thematic seminars divided into parallel sessions that take place over the three days of the Conference. These cover advanced research topics, but also best practices, and supranational and national up-to-date questions. AET members can proactively participate in the preparation of the scientific content of the conference through the Programme Committees. These have the main role of identifying the topics of the conference and selecting the articles that will then be presented in parallel sessions. There are currently 9 Programme Committees dedicated to:
- Freight and Logistics
- Global Trends impacting Transport
- Intelligent Mobility – management and operations
- Local Public Transport
- Planning for Sustainable Land Use and Transport
- Rail Policy and Planning
- Transport Economics
- Transport Models
In addition, a Forum is dedicated to young researchers and transport professionals. In fact, although ETC sessions can be challenging in addressing research and transport policy issues at the highest levels, they represent an opportunity for training and professional updating for all ages and all levels of experience. It can truly be said that at ETC, research and training meet policy and practice.
“at ETC, research and training meet policy and practice”
Starting from 2013, the articles submitted to the conference, on authors’ request, can be submitted to a peer-review process and published in reputable journals of the transport sector such as Transportation Research, European Transport Research Review, International Journal of Transport Economics, and others. The success of this initiative, not only among academics but also among professionals who have the opportunity to see their most innovative works published in thematic collections edited by international researchers, has been further enriched, starting from 2018, by the launch of a new AET series published by Elsevier, the “AET books”.
2020 was going to be the first year of the conference in Italy: after London, Cambridge, Leiden, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Barcelona and Dublin, ETC was scheduled to take place at the Polytechnic of Milan, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the appointment in Milan is postponed. In fact, ETC 2020 will be held online: the organizing committee is working hard on arrangements to ensure that the online sessions maintain their usual standards and that the quality of discussion and debate is guaranteed through the virtual spaces.
As for the contents, the Conference has distinguished itself in the past for the choice of the topics, which in many cases have anticipated questions that became of global interest. I am thinking of sustainable urban mobility, wider economics impacts of investments in transport infrastructures and, more recently, the issues of equity in transport and the social value of infrastructures.
The renewed attention to long-term planning due to the disruptive opportunities offered by automation, makes researchers and professionals aware of the challenges to reconcile development with social dimensions linked to the respect of environment, maintenance and reuse of existing resources, accessibility and participation of all people in the opportunities offered by technological innovation. Some themes selected for ETC 2020 concern climate change and transport, Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, the state of implementation of Urban Plans for Sustainable Mobility in Europe, and the wider impacts of large infrastructure projects.
Finally, among the recent AET initiatives I would like to point out the “AET COVID-19 Conversations”, through which evidences have been collected on how the pandemic has changed, in recent months, our daily routines, our work and interpersonal relationships. In addition, to interviews with experts on new mobility models in Europe, the Association has organized two webinars (with more to follow) to discuss what will happen in the coming months, given the deep uncertainty in all domains of our daily life and, in particular, in mobility.
I look forward to an enthusiastic participation and feedback in these new initiatives and support for ETC this year in its new online format. Keep an eye out on our website for updates and more details as we get closer to September.