Expert article
Edit 14 March 2021
by Evangelos Mitsakis, UIA Expert

TMaaS web article No 4 - Interview with Sophie Gillaerts, the TMaaS project coordinator

TMaaS web article No 4 - Interview with Sophie Gillaerts, the TMaaS project coordinator

Sophie Gillaerts is the TMaaS project coordinator, representing the City of Ghent which is the project consortium partner. Sophie has spent several years in the preparation, execution and management of the project. During that time, she gained significant experiences, which are important to be shared with other city representatives within and beyond the UIA activities. For this reason, Evangelos Mitsakis, external expert of the TMaaS project interviewed recently Sophie Gillaerts, asking about her experiences, views and lessons learnt, that will be of assistance for everyone interested in innovation projects in general, as well as in traffic management in particular.

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “Tell us how you got involved into traffic and mobility management. What motivated you to prepare the TMaaS project?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “I already worked for the Mobility Company of the City of Ghent when TMaaS started. I had been working as project coordinator for some years, local projects as well as European projects. I was not involved in the preparation phase of TMaaS, but was very enthusiastic when my colleagues asked me to coordinate it. I was new in traffic management, but found it a very interesting topic.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “How did UIA support the city of Ghent vision towards improved urban mobility and traffic management?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “For Ghent the UIA really was the accelerator to test our idea. It made us research, develop, implement and test a new solution in only three years. In a context without the UIA supporting us, this would have taken many, many years.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “Which were the moments and milestones during the project’s lifetime that you will never forget?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “In the beginning of the project we still had to set the project scope clear as all the partners had different expectations. At a certain moment everybody began to speak the same language and understanding the scope in the same way. This was a very nice moment. With TMaaS we also won two awards (the Civitas Bold Measure Award in 2018 and the Belfius Smart Belgium Award for Cities < 30.000 inhabitants), these were very rewarding moments motivating the whole team to continue the good work. The last milestone was when the citizen dashboard was finally finished in spring 2020. It took a lot of hard work to get there, and everybody was very involved in the whole process. It was very rewarding to finally see the result.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “Which are the main innovative contributions of the TMaaS project that differentiate it from previous projects?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “Citizens were involved in the project from the beginning onwards, this gave a lot of input for the developers. It was not possible to take all the suggestions and ideas into account. But it was a very interesting exercise and the input will be used in future projects as well. We now know quite well what citizens find helpful and what not, which information they need and what not, etc.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “Which would be the main lessons learnt (dos and don’ts) that you would like to share as TMaaS project coordinator with other cities towards the implementation of innovative transport solutions? From concept, political consensus and planning up to actual implementation/execution.”

Sophie Gillaerts: “Make the scope clear and narrow from the beginning, otherwise you risk losing a lot of time in the first months. Set the expectations of the different partners right. This is also very important for the local politicians: they also have to understand the scope and know what they can expect at the end of the project. Check with your involved partners whether there are limitations to their contributions IP wise. This way you can already solve some issues from the very beginning. The mix with research, industry and public partners, is very interesting but also makes it quite complicated in the end.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “The future of traffic management lies in the cooperation of public sector entities with private sector companies. How have you, as TMaaS project coordinator, manage to establish and maintain this cooperation?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “In our project many private companies were involved. This made it interesting in the sense that we as a public actor could feed them with our needs and knowledge towards developing the solution. This is a very interesting way of working together. We hope to continue cooperating in the future.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “Which do you believe are the main urban mobility and traffic management challenges that cities will face in the next 10 years?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “Traffic will continue to increase as cities keep on growing, new (autonomous) transport modes are emerging, more shared mobility solutions and all its challenges.”

 

Evangelos Mitsakis: “Which opportunities do you see for continuation and actual deployment of the project’s results both in the city of Ghent as well as elsewhere?”

Sophie Gillaerts: “We know now really well what the importance is of qualitative data to be able to communicate with the citizens in a correct and real-time way. We certainly want to continue on this: data gathering, storing and analysing the data, communicating with the citizens in order to (in the end) reach an even better modal split in Ghent. We also realised that e.g. in Flanders the solution should be implemented at a regional level as many data sources are the same and commuters travel between cities and not just in Ghent.”

Share

Other news from this project

The TMaaS Project Journal No 4

The TMaaS Project Journal No 4

The present fourth edition of the TMaaS Journal aims to provide interested readers with information concerning the project’s final achievements and re...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility

TMaaS web article No 3 - TMaaS Replicator City program Part 2: lessons learnt

TMaaS web article No 3 - TMaaS Replicator City program Part 2: lessons learnt...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility

TMaaS web article No 1 - TMaaS notifications for travellers

TMaaS web article No 1 - TMaaS notifications for travellers...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility

TMaaS web article No 5 - The TMaaS products

TMaaS web article No 5 - The TMaaS products ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility

TMaaS web article No 2 - TMaaS Replicator City program Part 1: process and results

TMaaS web article No 2 - TMaaS Replicator City program Part 1: process and results...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility
TMasS Journal 3: update on Ghent's project

TMasS Journal 3: update on Ghent's project

In the 3rd journal of the TMaaS project, the new UIA expert Evangelos Mitsakis dives into recent developments and major achievements of the project. ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

tmaas mini documentary

3 years of TMaaS in images

TMaaS launches a short film capturing the stories of the project....

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility
tmaas final conf

TMaaS Final conference

Thursday 21 January - the time had finally come for the last TMaaS conference that marked the end of an exciting process that had lasted more than thr...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility
Tmaas pic 1

TMaaS & LINK.Gent from a public transport user's behavior perspective

In his first Zoom-In, UIA TMaaS expert Dr. Evangelos Mitsakis, presents an animated story that highlights the decisions that travelers need to take on...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility
Conference is final agreement of the TMaaS project

Conference is final agreement of the TMaaS project

On 21st January the TMaaS Project will conclude with a final conference entitled “A Story of Innovating Mobility Together”. Given the circumstances, i...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility
Adoption potential survey - what's the market potential for TMaaS solutions?

Adoption potential survey - what's the market potential for TMaaS solutions?

The TMaaS project is coming to an end after a long and exciting process. LINK.Gent, the platform that was designed by the consortium, is now operation...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Adoption potential survey

Adoption potential survey

The TMaaS project is coming to an end after a long and exciting process. LINK.Gent, the platform that was designed by the consortium, is now operation...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Mintlab Kevin Sanders

TMaaS recruits Ghentians to participate in user surveys

Users have played a crucial role in the TMaaS project right from the very first day. We involved them closely in the development of the LINK.Gent plat...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Urban mobility
Meet our new interactive mobility monitoring platform: Link.Gent  webinar for cities Thursday 14th of May

Meet our new interactive mobility monitoring platform: Link.Gent webinar for cities Thursday 14th of May

Link.Gent, the multi-modal traffic monitoring dashboard developed TMaaS, was launched in April. Link.Gent offers professional traffic managers of the ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

First test phase of the TMaaS traffic dashboard a the Gentse Feesten

First test phase of the TMaaS traffic dashboard a the Gentse Feesten

During the previous edition of the Gentse Feesten a new phase of TMaaS got underway and it was finally possible to test the dashboard. ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Major trial run of the virtual traffic system during the Gentse Feesten

Major trial run of the virtual traffic system during the Gentse Feesten

TMaaS, the developer of the digital traffic platform for the City of Ghent, will be carrying out a major trial run of its virtual dashboard during the...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

TMAaS journal

TMaaS Expert Journal: Get an update on what has been happening in the last 6 months

The 2nd TMaaS Journal accompanies the project in its past half year of progress. By giving an account of the main activities and achievements of each ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

TMaaS mobility dashboard

Designing a mobility dashboard: features and considerations

When designing a mobility dashboard, you’ll to want to design something user-friendly and attractive, but above all you will want to create a tool tha...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Smart Belgium Award 2018

City of Ghent wins the Belfius Smart Belgium Award 2018 with TMaaS

On Wednesday 24 April in Brussels, the City of Ghent won the Belfius Smart Belgium Award 2018 in in the category ‘Smart Cities with a population of mo...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Replicator programme TMaaS

A webinar provides clarification about the TMaaS Replicator City Programme

TMaaS recently launched a call to cities worldwide to register for the TMaaS Replicator City Programme. This autumn, three selected cities will have t...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Ghent TMaaS zoom-in

Wider stakeholder engagement is at the heart of TMaaS

The approach adopted by the Partnership entails reaching out to different stakeholder groups in multiple moments throughout the project....

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

TMaS replicator programme

TMaaS launches Open Call for Replicator Cities worldwide

TMaaS launched a call for cities worldwide to submit their applications to join the TMaaS Replicator City Programme. In this programme, which will lau...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Journal 1

TMaaS UIA Expert Journal – Learn more on how the city of Ghent aims to better manage the urban mobility system

UIA Expert, Sofia Taborda, gives a first look on how the project is being implemented ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Civitas award

Ghent receives prestigious award for TMaaS project

Our city has been recognised, alongside eight European towns and cities, for its innovative urban mobility strategy at the 2018 CIVITAS Awards ceremon...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

TMaaS and CitiCAP projects

Ghent-Lahti: a tale of two cities

On May 24th we welcomed a delegation from the Finnish CitiCAP project, which, like TMaaS, focuses on smart city mobility. We had an interesting and u...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium

Tmaas

Getting citizens on board: the first TMaaS citizen research project

We recently launched an online call for citizens to participate in the first TMaaS citizen research project that focuses on the mobility behaviour of ...

TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service

Urban mobility

Ghent - Belgium