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2017 Awards

Every year, the International Transport Forum honours exceptional projects in transport sector by rewarding

  • Transport Achievement Award
  • Promising Transport Innovation Award
  • Young Researcher of the Year Award

The International Transport Forum Awards are open to any organisation (government and non-government), business or individual within its 59 member countries. The applications are reviewed and winners determined by a jury of selected international experts.
The prizes are awarded at the ITF Annual Summit at the Gala Dinner.
The winners are offered the opportunity to present their project to a high-level international audience of transport ministers from around the world and other global leaders from business, civil society, media and academia.

Transport Achievement Award

Guillermo Dietrich receiving the ITF 2017 Transport Achievement Award on behalf of MetrobusThe successful inner-city renewal initiative in Buenos Aires, Argentina has been awarded the International Transport Forum’s Transport Achievement Award. The Award was presented to the Transport Authority of Buenos Aires on 1 June during the global summit of transport ministers in Leipzig, Germany.

Buenos Aires has over 3 million inhabitants and another 3 million commute into the city each day. As a result, traffic in the downtown area known as “Microcentro” frequently collapsed. Strangled by vehicle traffic, citizens came to see the Microcentro as a polluted, hostile environment.

To change this, the Transport Authority of Buenos Aires in co-operation with the national government of Argentina and local stakeholders implemented Argentina’s first comprehensive urban renewal programme in which the inner-city space was reconfigured hand-in-hand with the available mobility options.

At the heart of the renewal initiative is a pedestrian priority area complemented by a new metrobus corridor. A total of 86 blocks in the Microcentro are now restricted for cars and fitted with licence plate recognition technologies. Sidewalks were extended to create shared spaces, additional bicycle lanes and 29 new bicycle sharing stations were built.

Simultaneously, a new metrobus corridor was created on the Avenida 9 de Julio, the major north-south thoroughfare adjoining the Microcentro. The Bus Rapid Transit provides high-capacity public transport as an alternative to car travel into the city centre.

As a result, the number of cars entering the Microcentro has dropped by almost 86%, from more than 15 000 to just over 2 121 every day. The metrobus 9 de Julio, used by 11 bus lines carrying 255 000 people every day, cuts average travel time along the three-kilometre corridor by 50% in peak hours. CO2 emissions from traffic have been cut by 5 612 tonnes per year.

More than 1 million pedestrians now roam the Microcentro every day. A total of 197 new businesses have opened. 52 of these are restaurants, which are now able to provide outdoor places in an urban environment that now offers a friendly setting for different activities. Rising real estate prices also reflect the improved liveability of the area. 

Metrobus 9 de Julio has become a symbol of mobility policies in Argentina. The National Government is now expanding this solution to big cities around the country. In the past 16 months, 3 new corridors have been implemented in Santa Fe, Rosario and La Matanza –the most populated district in Argentina. The Minister of Transport will launch another 7 corridors in the following cities Tres de Febrero, Neuquén, Morón, Mar del Plata, Córdoba, Corrientes y Mendoza, in order to benefit 3 million people.

The Jury of the Transport Achievement Award praised the Metrobus 9 de Julio project as “a good example of an effective cooperative framework that brings together different transport stakeholders, including national government, the municipality and transport operators”. The Jury also noted that the project has a high potential to be reproduced elsewhere.

More information on the Metrobus 9 de Julio:

The Jury of the Transport Achievement Awards gave special mentions to two other projects:

“3-Star or better” Campaign, International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) 
Improving the safety level of roads is a key way to halve road deaths and injuries by 2020, as targeted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Based on iRAP’s star-ratings for the safety level of roads, the “3-Star or better” campaign advocates the adoption of 3-star or better safety standards for all new road projects, and to maximise travel on existing 3-star or better roads. The Award Jury recognised that the initiative involves diverse stakeholders and praised the 3-star-or better campaign for its significant achievements worldwide.

Istanbul Metro Development and Integration Programme, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Turkey. The project aims to extend Istanbul’s metro system and connect the city’s European and Asian sides. The Award Jury recognised that this large-scale project with significant achievements in terms of integrated urban transport planning could serve as an example for other cities in transition economies.

Promising Transport Innovation Award

Madeline Zhu of WhereIsMyTransport receiving the ITF 2017 Promising Transport Innovation AwardWhereIsMyTransport, an open digital platform that provides information on formally and informally run transport services in emerging cities, is the winner of the 2017 Promising Transport Innovation Award. 

Launched in August 2016, the WhereIsMyTransport platform supports 20 cities in 10 countries across Africa and the Middle East in providing better information about mobility. Among the cities supported by the platform are Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, Beirut in Lebanon and Accra in Ghana.
WhereIsMyTransport centralises mobility data in a platform that anyone can build upon to provide transport information (e.g. feed digital signage at stops), develop software products (e.g. mobility apps for transport users), or analyse metrics to improve transport provision (e.g. as a tool for city transport planners). The company works with transport operators, cities and governments and with implementation partners such as Microsoft to deliver innovations that make mobility services easier to use for citizens.

Uniquely, WhereIsMyTransport includes informal transport services in addition to official public transport. In Africa, up to an estimated 80% of public transport users rely on informally run transport, and information on routes or travel times is mostly communicated by word-of-mouth. WhereIsMyTransport has calculated that transport uncertainty in South Africa alone has an annual economic cost of USD 104 billon.
Built to accept data in any format and live coordinates from any kind of device, the WhereIsMyTransport platform can integrate data on even the most rudimentary operators. With specially developed tools, WhereIsMyTransport thus mapped the informal transport sector of Cape Town in early 2017 - making it the world’s first city to have all its transport, formal and informal, mapped and the data openly available. A hackathon organised in Cape Town challenged software developers to leverage the data for tools that help citizens to simplify their mobility choices. More hackathons are planned in other cities.


Young Researcher of the Year Award

Florent Laroche receiving the ITF 2017 Young Researcher of the Year AwardDr. Florent Laroche of Lyon University received the International Transport Forum’s Young Researcher of the Year Award at the 2017 Summit of transport ministers on 1 June in Leipzig, Germany.

Florent Laroche is an assistant professor (Maître de Conférences) at the Transport, Urban Planning and Economics Laboratory, University Lumière Lyon 2. His research interests comprise the analysis of network performance, markets and strategic actors, new forms of mobility and the impact of digital technology on lifestyles.
His award-winning paper develops an innovative approach to measuring the intensity of competition on the European rail freight market by leveraging little-used data and employing novel statistical tools. Research for the paper was carried out at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, where Dr. Laroche led a team of the “brain-trains” project ( funded by the Belgian Federal Science Fund (BESPO).

His prize-winning paper reviews the impact of rail freight liberalisation in the EU in 2007. Ten years after this reform, new actors have appeared and governments are rethinking their approach to regulatory interventions. Against this background, the paper aims to answer two questions: First, how intense is competition in rail freight in the EU today? Second, what novel economic levers for regulating can governments bring to bear in an open market?

With research on rail freight in the EU scant and prior in-depth analyses limited by lack of data, the paper contributes to current knowledge in a double fashion: It provides a disaggregated analysis of the rail freight market at European level by including hitherto little-used data comprising historic actors as well as new entrants, and it uses statistical tools currently only employed in other industries.

The results show a strong intensity of competition in European rail freight since 2007. Numerous new operators have appeared, and excess profits linked to monopolistic structures have been much reduced. For the long term, however, the persistence of technical barriers to market entry could lead to the disappearance of a certain number of operators and create a risk of concentration. Yet the study finds few signs for an emerging monopoly or duopoly in Europe, as the economies of scale in the sector are moderate.

“It is a tremendous honour for me and my team at Antwerp University to receive this prestigious award. More work in this field needs to be done, and our main ambition was to demonstrate the need for an in-depth understanding of the rail freight sector and to improve the methods for its analysis,” said Dr. Laroche.
“This is a necessary condition for better economic regulation and more efficient policies to achieve modal shift in freight. One way to achieve this could be the creation of a European rail freight observatory, possibly attached to the European Union Agency for Railways.”