Sustainable Bus System for Smart Cities Conference was held at Istanbul Expo Center, Turkey on 5-6 March 2020, in partnership with United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA), World Resources Institute Turkey (WRI) Sustainable Cities, Busworld Academy, HKF Trade Fairs, Association of All Private Buses (TÖHOB), the United Nations Center for Regional Development (UN-CRD) and UN-Habitat. Based on the Turkish and international experiences, the event brought together municipalities, bus companies, civil society organizations, academics and relevant stakeholders to share their insights on the implementation of future-oriented bus systems.
The sessions started with the opening speeches of Jan Deman, Director of Busworld Academy; Mustafa Yıldırım, Chairman of the Turkish Road Transport Sector Council; UN-Habitat representatives Debashish Bhatacharjee and Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty; and Mohamed Saadie, UCLG-MEWA President. In this context, UCLG-MEWA President Mohamed Saadie emphasized that each of us had roles in planning a future with zero emissions. On the second day, the session on “Urban Mobility Models by Local Governments” took place with the participation of members of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility as well as speakers from the UN-Habitat. The session, which attracted great attention, started with the speech of Jan Deman, Director of Busworld Academy, who underlined the importance of cooperation between UCLG-MEWA and Busworld. – Later on, Dr. Wolfgang Backhaus, representing Rupprecht Consulting, delivered his key note speech where he touched on all processes of Sustainable Urban Transport Plans and presented examples from European cities. Following the opening speech of UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman, who moderated the session, on the importance of Sustainable Urban Transport Plans, İbrahim Orhan Demir, Deputy Secretary General of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, delivered his presentation. Later, Eser Atak, Deputy Secretary General of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, stated that Izmir became entitled to IPA 2 fund for the SUMP process conducted in line with the goal of sustainable transport. Can Hallaç, Head of Transportation Department of Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality, and Ahmet Çelebi, Head of Transportation Department of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, both drew attention to the importance of an integrated, inclusive SUMP study to ensure sustainable transport during their presentations. Afterwards, Debashish Bhatacharjee, Urban Mobility Expert of UN-Habitat, stressed the importance of future cooperation to be made between UCLG-MEWA, UN-Habitat and Busworld. In addition, during the sessions which lasted for two days, topics such as the development of zero-emission bus services, network systems for electric transport, efficient cooperation between local government and public transport authorities, and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) were discussed.
Since 2014, the Busworld Academy Conference has organized biannual editions in cooperation with several partners in different cities such as Istanbul (Turkey edition), Brussels (Europe edition), Moscow (Russia edition), Shanghai (China edition), Colombia (Latin America edition), Bengaluru (India Edition), Almaty (Central Asia edition), Jakarta (South East Asia edition) and Omaha – Nebraska (North America edition). The Conference consisted of bus and coach exhibition, academic sessions and networking session on market and mobility analysis of buses and coaches in the MEWA Region, especially in Turkey.