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Adding “co” to your mindset has a higher impact than just adding “co” in every other word.

This year's ETC started with a very insightful plenary session with Prof. Rosário Macário from IST, Lisbon. It was, without a doubt the perfect start for the 2023 European Transport Conference (ETC).

Without knowing, I believe, Prof. Macário (pictured above) set the tone for the entire conference. By simply shifting the centre of transport problems to the real problems of real people, she showed the importance of creating an environment for everyone having a voice in transport planning.

Prof. Macário demonstrated how adding just two letters to every other word does not impact people if you do not act accordingly. Adding “co” to your action plans does not really mean you have a collaboration between actors. The literature has lots of references to co-creation, collaboration, co-operation, co-design, co-planning, but in the end, are we really developing bottom-up strategies?

Curiously, the topic of actor engagement was present in sessions from several programme committees (e.g., IMMO, GTiT, Freight). In the last day of the conference, there was time for special sessions dedicated to the TRIBUTE Interreg Project, which stresses the need for citizen centred approaches.

In the end, it was once again confirmed that AET is committed to go forth in the transport research and development, bringing different stakeholders together and collaborating to improve the transport sector. ETC is a place where these two letters are alive!