Detroit, Mich. — Detroit will welcome more than 10,000 international members of the transportation technology industry in October 2014 as a result of Michigan’s winning bid to host the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) World Congress.

The five-day event will take place at Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center and several adjacent facilities and will be hosted by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) in partnership with ITS Michigan, the state chapter of the national group.

“We’re extremely pleased that the Motor City was selected to host this international industry gathering,” said Scott Belcher, ITS America president & CEO. “Not only does Michigan’s automotive heritage make it an ideal choice, but the region is a global leader in pioneering the advanced transportation technology of the future.”

James Barbaresso, vice president for Intelligent Transportation Systems for engineering firm HNTB and former president of ITS Michigan, is the Local Host Committee chairman for the event.

“We can’t think of a better place to hold the ITS World Congress,” Barbaresso said. “We have the highest concentration of auto companies and suppliers as well as auto-related research facilities of any place in the world. We also are home to some of the most advanced road agencies in the nation when it comes to applying ITS to traffic management, including the Michigan Department of Transportation.”

ITS Michigan represents numerous public- and private-sector organizations involved in transportation technology in the state, including auto manufacturers and suppliers, county road commissions, engineering firms, academic institutions and others.

The annual ITS World Congress is held in the Americas once every three years. Next year’s event will take place in Orlando from Oct. 16-20 2011. The event is held in Asia and Europe in the intervening years.

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The ITS Michigan Local Host Committee recruited the event to Detroit. The committee includes: the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), the City of Detroit, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan-based management consulting firm PRC Associates and engineering firm HNTB Corporation.

Larry Alexander, president and CEO, DMCVB, noted the conference and exhibition will provide a huge boost to the region’s tourism industry, generating a minimum of 4,000 hotel room nights and an

estimated $6.3 million in direct spending into local hotels, transportation companies, restaurants, retail and other service establishments.  

“Hosting the ITS World Congress will give us the opportunity to showcase Detroit’s advantages as the center of the transportation industry and as an inviting meetings and convention destination,” Alexander said.  “We are looking forward to welcoming this important conference to the Motor City.”

In addition to the ITS World Congress conference and exhibition, the event is expected to showcase the world’s first sustainable deployments and advanced applications of connected-vehicles technologies. “I think a lot of people from around the world are going to be surprised to learn that Detroit is one of the leading centers in the world for advanced transportation technology, from both the vehicle and infrastructure sides,” Barbaresso said. “This will be an opportunity to demonstrate – on the streets of Detroit – Detroit’s technological prowess to the rest of the world.”

Established in 1991 as a not-for-profit organization, ITS America fosters the use of advanced technologies in surface transportation systems and is the leading advocate for technologies that improve the safety, security and efficiency of the nation’s surface transportation system. Members include private corporations, public agencies and academic institutions involved in the research, development and design of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies to enhance safety, increase mobility, and sustain the environment.

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