The future of sustainable mobility – transcript

Ideas to Innovation - Season Two


Ingrid: If we look at how cities are built, many cities are built around the needs of cars.

Now is the time to win back the streets, and orchestrate traffic around everyone’s needs cars; public transport, bicyclists, pedestrian, and so on. This is where we come in because it’s about rethinking mobility so that everyone wins; the people, the communities, and the environment.

Speaker 1: Ideas to Innovation from Clarivate.


Neville Hobson: Climate change, climate crisis, climate emergency, whatever you call it, we’ve seen the effects of a massive heat wave this summer with record-breaking temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius across much of Europe, and in other parts of the world, along with huge, and destructive wildfires.

While some say such manmade natural disasters are the new normal that we’ll experience more strongly and more frequently in the future, others point the way to manmade solutions that help us take care of our environment through innovative efforts like reducing traffic pollution, and the emissions that contribute to climate extremes.

Hello, and welcome to Ideas to Innovation Season Two. I’m Neville Hobson. In this episode, our guest today will put such manmade disasters in context as we consider how one company in Germany is initiating a mobility revolution that aims to protect our climate as much as it does to improve traffic safety. I’m delighted to welcome Ingrid Gogl, the vice president of marketing and communications at Yunex Traffic, headquartered in Munich, Germany. Welcome, Ingrid, thanks for joining us.

Ingrid Gogl: Thank you, Neville. Happy to be here, and [foreign language] from Munich.

Neville: [chuckles] Excellent. We’re going to talk about the future of sustainable mobility, and what Yunex is doing to make cities greener, safer, and ultimately more liveable. First, though, I want to congratulate you on Yunex Traffic, widely regarded as a global leader in intelligent traffic systems, being recognized as one of the world’s top 100 new brands in a new report from Clarivate that’s just been published. Tell us, what does this recognition mean to you?

Ingrid: This recognition as one of the top 100 new brands really means a lot to us as a company, but also to me personally, as the VP of marketing and communications, because it’s just a really good recognition for us. Before July 2021, I don’t know if everyone knows this, we were part of Siemens and known as Siemens ITS, so Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems.

In July 2021, we were carved out of Siemens mobility, and this gave us a unique opportunity to develop our own brand, and with this, our own identity. We could define what Yunex Traffic stands for, and what we wanted to be known for. We can use and choose our own channels to tell our story now. We built the brand around our purposes, so increasing traffic safety, helping combat the climate crisis, and making cities more liveable.

Also, the name Yunex Traffic is a creation that shares an association with the words unity, and connection. It’s a pretty international name. Hopefully, easy to pronounce in all languages, and has a technical and future-focused sound to it, and also the motto uniting what’s next in traffic that underlines this.

Now, since the end of June of this year, we are no longer under the Siemens umbrella. We have a new strategic owner, Atlantia, and can now continue our journey in an environment that gives us good opportunities to strengthen our position as a global leader and forward thinker in the digitalization of traffic management. This recognition just shows that we did something right in the past year, and it was really a good feeling for all of us, and good recognition.

Neville: Yes. That’s a good way you’ve explained it there because I think building a brand used to take a long time if you’re building a new brand from scratch in particular. Today, things happen a lot more, a lot quicker. The complexity and change in marketplaces, and many other things are part of the pressure to stand out. I think developing a standalone identity, as you’ve outlined it, will stand you in pretty good stead, hence the value of this award. Congratulations again on that.

Ingrid: Thank you very much.

Neville: Yes. Just to start off our conversation on this big topic that we’ve set out to talk about today, recent data from the automotive industry shows that road transport accounts for a significant majority of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions, and comprises 15% of total CO2 emissions. I read recently that your CEO, Markus Schlitt, is convinced that only green and safe cities are liveable in the long term. This vision must be realized, he said, “better today than tomorrow.” I don’t think anyone could argue with that sentiment.

How will this vision be realized, Ingrid? What exactly will you next do? If we’re talking about a mobility revolution to enable this, what does that look like?

Ingrid: Well, as I already said before, basically, our whole portfolio is about reaching exactly these liveable cities, where traffic, and this is the part where we come in, the traffic part that we can help make better, where traffic is orchestrated around the needs of those who live in the city, the people. There’s the saying, and our CEO likes to say it, and I love to say it. It’s, “the cars stole the streets from us.” If we look at how cities are built, many cities are built around the needs of cars.

Now is the time to win back the streets, and orchestrate traffic around everyone’s needs cars; public transport, bicyclists, pedestrian, and so on. This is where we come in because it’s about rethinking mobility so that everyone wins; the people, the communities, and the environment.

Neville: You see, it is interesting what you just said because that, to me, seems to be a huge topic that you see many people talking about in governments in particular, on reorganizing the urban landscape to the points you just said, away from the focus on combustion engines, and cars, and other vehicles towards pedestrianism, or pedestrianization, and cycling. Is that basically, the heart of what you’re talking about? What examples can you tell us of where that’s already in place?

Ingrid: Well, absolutely. Our traffic management systems ensure that different types of transport can be used in the way that best meets the needs of a particular situation, so public transport at one time, and then individual means of transport such as cars, bicycles, whatever. What we do is we help the cities orchestrate the traffic so that traffic light circuits and dynamic traffic signs ensure traffic flow, a green wave, and safe road crossing. This avoids not only congestion, but also accidents.

Where we do that for example, we have a big project in the City of Wiesbaden that’s called DGV, so Digitalization of the traffic in Wiesbaden. That is a very comprehensive reorchestration of the whole traffic system of the city with dynamic signs that adapt depending on traffic at a specific time, that can automatically also monitor the traffic lights and adapt- give a green wave or prioritize public transport over cars, and so on, and so forth.

We also have the clean air zones in the UK. I think many people in the UK know. Clean air zones in London, in Birmingham. Also, topics like congestion charging are a lever for this. Basically, it’s about the holistic approach to traffic management.

Neville: Okay, which of course, would include cycling-

Ingrid: Absolutely.

Neville: -the cycle lanes with traffic lights. It embraces all of that. What you mentioned about prioritizing traffic flows, so that would involve things, I guess, like certain vehicles would be able to influence the traffic lights, I guess, by their presence, so it senses picking up the position of buses, for instance?

Ingrid: Exactly.

Neville: Changing the traffic lights according to the volume and the congestion that’s building up, or not, as a case might be. Is that basically, how that would work?

Ingrid: Exactly. It works in different ways. Traffic prioritization, for example, for public transportation. Here, the bus can communicate with the traffic lights via an onboard unit, and can tell the traffic light, “Hey, I’m a bus. I’m coming to prioritize me because I’m more environmentally friendly because I can carry a hundred people.” The traffic light then goes, “Okay, hi, bus, here you go.”

The more holistic view is giving the city all the data about the traffic in the whole city, and also giving cities in their traffic management central the data about congestion, about emission levels. Then they can see, “Oh, in this area, our emission levels are going up. Let’s redirect traffic somewhere else in the city,” or, “Let’s use our dynamic signs to better distribute the traffic.” There’s different ways to reach this.

Neville: Got it. You’ve given us a good sense of where this is going and indeed what’s already in place. I can imagine that if to get to the picture you outlined, the landscape as it were, where everything is holistically done, and it’s all integrated, and we’ve got this amazing procedure in urban areas, I would imagine, A, going to take A while and, B, is going to be quite an investment for governments and cities to do this. Would that be the case? Is there quite a significant change we’re talking about, isn’t it?

Ingrid: It is quite a significant change, but we need to start somewhere. There’s also certain, very small measures that can help, like upgrading your existing traffic lights to a one-watt LED technology, that can save a lot of energy. It’s a small change that has a big impact, so if you start with many small changes, and then you can start connecting the dots.

Neville: I get that. That sounds good. Let me ask you one thing on this. Is there one particular thing about all of this that really stands out to you that you could share with us? What is it that’s the wow element to all this? All of it to me sounds quite amazing. The holistic element to it, the way in which sensors can help you prioritise public transportation versus cars with just one person in, for instance, how cycles get involved in all this, what one thing stands out to you?

Ingrid: Basically, what stands out to me is the holistic approach to this. Also, seeing the individual players in this big ecosystem that we call traffic, like the good old traffic light. We all know it. For many people, the traffic light is just a dumb traffic light that goes red, yellow, and green. A traffic light is so much more. It can be smart and it can adapt to our individual needs. For me, as a cyclist or as a pedestrian, it can recognize me. It’s not a dumb piece of infrastructure. It’s a powerful tool that is part of a larger orchestra.

Neville: That sounds a good analogy. We’ve touched on the rethinking traffic technology, I suppose. You’ve outlined the big plan, and we already see this in many cities around the world. I’ve certainly seen this where I live in the UK, new traffic lights appearing here and there that look nicer, LEDs and all that, as you’ve mentioned.

I’m thinking about some of the things coming up that I know you are involved with at Yunex Traffic. For instance, you presented some new traffic management solutions at Intertraffic 2022, that big trade fair in Amsterdam that takes place every year. Briefly, what can you tell us about these, and how would they help make cities liveable in the long term?

Ingrid: One technology is fusion. Fusion is an entirely new system to dynamically adapt and control traffic lights across an entire network to the benefit of all road users, not only just cars. This is the interesting part of it. The backbone of fusion is a digital twin that models the traffic of an entire network and all road users, and allows a holistic approach, and gives operators the possibility to easily change optimization criteria also during live operation. It’s a, I would say, one-of-a-kind system, but really, it’s a great next generation of adaptive traffic light control systems.

Going then further to the holistic, to the traffic management part, there we have Symphony. This is our next-generation traffic management software. With Symphony, we can analyse real-time and future traffic condition and actually execute measures to avoid critical traffic or environmental conditions. As these complex challenges cannot be solved by one authority only, it helps also to orchestrate the ecosystem of all players in a city.

Neville: Got it. That is very interesting. Particularly thinking about that software, you mentioned Symphony a real-time, predictive modelling and sharing that data, it makes me think of this as part of the huge challenges facing society at large, frankly, with regard to this big topic of climate and the elements that contribute to change that we see all around, including emissions and pollution in urban environments in particular. This is probably a very big question to ask you Ingrid, but what can society at large, businesses, and governments do to speed up, accelerate these efforts that are just starting? What can they do to do that?

Ingrid: I believe in terms of society, so every one of us, it’s about a change of behaviour in the end. We all need to change how we travel. We need to take into account the emission of a specific mode of transport, but very often we just don’t know it. I wouldn’t know how much CO2 it emits to take a car from A to B, and how much I would save to take the train or the tram or whatever from A to B. Information is one part to be able to change behaviour

For businesses, I really think it’s time to team up and create ecosystems rather than ego systems and working together rather than against each other for the greater good. Governments and what can happen here, they all can start focusing on holistic and sustainable mobility solutions and not only singular cases. To do this cities and municipalities need financial support and incentives to encourage environmentally-friendly forms of transportation.

Neville: Got it. Let’s apply a bit of predictive modelling of our own just thinking about everything you said, and particularly that last part about society, business, or governments. What we’ve talked about so far paints a picture of what companies like yours are doing today is part of broad efforts to build better, more sustainable tomorrow.

Let me put this question to you, Ingrid. If 2022 is indeed a marker, as I mentioned at the very beginning of our conversation, for more extreme climate changes in the next few years, and I’ve seen quite a bit of talk in the past few weeks about this is the- literally the start of what we should be expecting literally almost every year for the coming years, these extremes of temperature in particular and fires all this stuff going on, are all these efforts enough?

What Yunex Traffic is doing, what governments are doing, et cetera, that we’ve highlighted, is it enough? Is it happening quickly enough? I’m thinking 2030 is only seven or eight years away. What do you think?

Ingrid: Oh, it’s a big question, Neville. One can say it’s never enough, but doing nothing is probably the worst. We have a chance to do right by future generations now. I believe we have a responsibility to do that, but time really is running up. This is what our CEO also keeps saying is we do not have time for a digital evolution in traffic management because here, digitalization is delivered to make traffic management better. We don’t have time for an evolution here. We need a revolution, and it needs to happen now. Time is up here. If we don’t act now, it’s–

Neville: Too late.

Ingrid: It might be.

Neville: Yes, maybe.

Ingrid: I hope not.

Neville: No, it is.

Ingrid: In the end, it’s never too late. Every step we take now is one step we won’t need to take in the future.

Neville: That makes sense to me. I’m thinking what we’re facing and what you just said, in fact, is a huge challenge for everyone, that group of three I mentioned, society, business, and governments. If it requires individual change, it requires organizational change, it requires governmental change, I wonder sometimes if there’s the will behind all of these things, as there are, as we know strong political and environmental pressures to accelerate the evolution of cars from internal combustion engines to electric. For example. Some countries are aiming to end the sale of new non-electric vehicles by 2030, again, seven or eight years away.

If that’s our backdrop, the landscape picture we’re facing, what would sustainable mobility look like in 2030, do you think?

Ingrid: I believe the future of sustainability is one that is shared, electric, to some part autonomous, and above all, connected, because really, it’s about connecting all the individual dots. As I said in the beginning, it’s about giving the cities back to the people, and giving them the freedom to really choose their own door-to-door mobility mix. This is really the future I see, that is the future of more freedom for people to- when it comes to their mobility.

Neville: Okay. That’s excellent. Thank you very much, Ingrid, for sharing your insights and helping us understand how sustainable innovative mobility solutions can ultimately make cities more liveable. Thank you very much for that.

Ingrid: Well, thank you, Neville. It was a pleasure.

Neville: Your insights have given us a good view of how significant this will be for millions of people worldwide when innovation in sustainable mobility leads to real change. You can find more information about the topics Ingrid speaks about at For information about the Clarivate top 100 new brands report visit and search ‘Top 100 new brands’. Season wo of Ideas to Innovation continues with our next episode in a few weeks’ time. Visit for information. Thanks for listening.


Speaker 1: Ideas to Innovation from Clarivate.


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