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From Stockholm to Melbourne: we bring you ‘Mobility for Life’

Exactly one year ago (6-9 June 2019), the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 edition was coming to a close.

This Summit saw the gathering of over 2,700 attendees from almost 40 countries in Stockholm, Sweden, where we spent four days in fruitful knowledge exchange under the theme ‘The Art of Public Transport’.

We closed the 2019 Summit under the impression that we knew the biggest challenges that were facing our sector, and with a clearer idea in our minds of how to tackle these challenges head-on…

It’s amazing how everything can change in one year.

Over these past few months, our sector, like many others, has been in crisis mode, dealing with the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world. This situation has caused an unprecedented “pause” in daily activities, while cities and countries took drastic measures to control the spread of the virus.

Throughout this period, public transport stepped into the front lines to keep essential services running, despite the biggest drop in ridership many cities have ever seen.

As life gradually begins to return to some semblance of normalcy, it’s time to think about recovery and how best to prepare for the future.

We must turn our focus from dealing with short-term emergencies and deal with the much broader crises that have not disappeared. The issues of rapid urbanisation and population density, the ongoing climate crisis, and larger questions about health and safety must remain of utmost concern.

Above all, our central question must be: how can we protect, grow and enable life in cities?

These last few months have taught us that it’s easy to take many things in life for granted: our ability to move, to connect with others, to go about our daily activities, to live on this planet and breathe clean air.

Public transport is a healthy, sustainable way of life for all. We choose ‘Mobility for Life’ every day.

This is the theme for the next UITP Global Public Transport Summit to be held in Melbourne, Australia, 6-9 June 2021.

One year from now, we will explore how to meet customer expectations and ensure we are truly providing a lifelong mobility solution with services that can always be depended on.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, there is much to learn from this experience about providing ‘Mobility for Life’ in the most challenging of circumstances.

Especially, as we begin the long process of rebuilding our cities, we must use this opportunity to build back better, and this we cannot do without thinking about ‘Mobility for Life’.

It seems there has never been a more crucial time for a UITP Summit, to bring the international community of public transport together and face these enormous challenges together.

We look forward to seeing you next year!

Interested in taking a bigger role in the discussions this year? The call for abstracts is open until 17 July 2020. Head here to apply!