‘SIMBA’ draws international participants to South Africa
SIMBA held the last of its 2006 Regional Priority Workshops in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 4-5 December. The EU-funded project is working to strengthen road transport research co-operation around the world. The event follows successful meetings in China, India, and Brazil.
SIMBA is coordinated by ERTICO, a multi-sector, public/private partnership pursuing the development and deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (ITS). SIMBA is playing a major role in support of international co-operation activities, with three of its European partners (ERTICO, FEHRL and ACEA) representing the key pillars of ERTRAC (European Road Transport Research Advisory Council) and the European Commission.
The workshop was hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa’s National Coordinator for SIMBA. Participants included a major delegation of Europeans from both industry and research, and a wide range of South African authorities and industrial stakeholders, led by the South Africa Department of Science and Technology.
What is ITS?
Intelligent Transport Systems and Services integrate information and communications technologies with transport infrastructure, vehicles and users. By sharing vital information, ITS allows people to get more from transport networks, in greater safety and with less impact on the environment.
The European Union supports work towards an ITS-based European network in which roads and vehicles can communicate with one another, in which commuting is more secure, reliable and comfortable, and in which businesses know where shipments are.
Marius Fransman, Minister of Transport and Public Works, Western Cape and ERTICO Chair Monica Sundström each delivered a welcome address, while ERTICO CEO Arnold van Zyl read a message from European Commission Transport Research Director Andras Siegler. Keynote speeches by SIMBA project partners provided an excellent overview of the latest research and development priorities on road transport in both European and African regions.
Combining knowledge and expertise
Crucially, the workshop enabled the two sides to exchange technological know-how and best practices. It also included fruitful discussions on potential areas of co-operation in ITS, automotive and infrastructure research.
Speaking about the event, SIMBA Project Coordinator Julia Wu said, “We've achieved another successful SIMBA workshop and taken an important step forward in EU-South Africa co-operation on road transport, especially in view of FP7.”
The next SIMBA South Africa National Event is scheduled for 7-8 June 2007.