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Speakers 2024

Adam Cohen

Chair, Standing Committee on Emerging and Innovative Public Transport and Technologies, Transportation Research Board (TRB) and Senior Researcher, TSRC, UC Berkeley

Adam Cohen is a research expert in innovative and emerging transportation technologies, has completed more than 50 research projects on mobility on demand, mobility as a service, shared mobility, shared micromobility, shared automated vehicles, and advanced air mobility. He has over 18 years of experience as a researcher with the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and 15 years of experience as a researcher with the Mineta Transportation Institute of San Jose State University. Adam currently chairs the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Standing Committee on Innovative Public Transportation Services and Technologies. Previously, he co-chaired TRB’s standing subcommittee on the Equity of Innovative Mobility Services and Technologies AP020(3). He currently serves as Vice Chairman of SAE International’s Shared and Digital Mobility Committee and is the co-sponsor of SAE JA3163 which establishes standard terms and definitions for shared mobility, mobility on demand, and mobility as a service. Adam also co-teaches a UC Berkeley Extension course on Airport Systems Planning and Design. Adam also serves as an expert contributor and board member for the Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI), a non-profit founded to support the responsible integration of advanced air mobility into communities through education, communication, and collaboration. Finally, Adam is spearheading the International Association of Transportation Regulator’s development of model regulations and best practices for implementing emerging transportation technologies such as shared automated vehicles. 
Previously, Adam worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Information Technology and Telecommunications Laboratory (ITTL) at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).


Urbanist-in-Residence, Cornell Tech

Dr. Anthony Townsend is an internationally-recognized expert on the future of cities and urban technology. He is the author of two critically-acclaimed books, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for A New Utopia and Ghost Road: Beyond the Driverless Car.
As Urbanist in Residence at Cornell Tech in New York City Anthony’s work focuses on forecasting development in artificial intelligence, assessing infrastructure innovation, and
developing research partnerships for aging and climate adaptation technology. He works globally with government, philanthropy, startups, and investors on urban tech foresight, strategy, policy, and planning through his consultancy Star City Group.

Ben Plowden

Chair, Transport Planning Society (UK) and former Director Strategy and Network Development, Transport for London

Ben Plowden is an Associate in the Transport team at PA Consulting.  Prior to joining PA, Ben worked for Transport for London in a number of senior roles, including programme sponsor for Surface Transport’s multi-billion pound investment programme, founding Director of the Smarter Travel Unit, MD of Corporate Communications and Director of Borough Partnerships.  Prior to TfL, Ben was a leading environmental campaigner, including being the founding Chief Executive of the national charity Living Streets and Senior Campaigner on Energy and Natural Resources at the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.      He is a Visiting Professor at UCL, a Senior Associate at LSE Cities and Chair of the Transport Planning Society.


Carlos Acha Ledesma

Director of Technology and Innovation, EMT Madrid

Carlos Acha Ledesma holds a Master of Science by Civil Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and a Master in Business Administration by the Instituto de Empresa (Executive MBA).

He is currently Director of Technology and Innovation of the EMT of Madrid, position he holds since July 2023, leading digital transformation of the company at all levels, promoting the provision of services in an efficient, digital and connected manner.

From 1999 to May 2023, he has developed his professional activity at ALSA, working on several management areas of the passenger transport business of the group, participating in its growth and internationalization processes. He has served as Managing Director of ALSA Chile between 2001 and 2004. Appointed Director of Organization and Corporate Services of ALSA in 2004 for 10 years. From February 2014 to January 2021, he held the role as COO. In January 2021 he was appointed Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at ALSA. Since 2004 he has been part of the ALSA Executive Committee.

In June and July 2023, he has collaborated in the development and growth of the Startup Meep, specialized in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) applications, as Chief Growth Officer (CGO).


Christian Bauer

CFO & CCO, Volocopter.

Christian Bauer has more than 15 years of experience in the mobility sector. He worked for Daimler in various functions including Business Development and M&A, where he participated in merger, venture, fundraising and IPO projects including Airbus, myTaxi, HERE Technologies, Renault/Nissan and others. Before joining Volocopter he was heading a department for High-Tech cooperations at Mercedes-Benz, pushing to bring innovations to series maturity.

An economist and information technologist by training, Christian is responsible for all commercial aspects at Volocopter and making Urban Air Mobility Services an integral part of transportation systems across the globe.

Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss

Founder & CEO at Dance

Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss is Founder & CEO at Dance, an e-bike subscription service founded with the purpose of having a positive impact on health, sustainability and livable cities. Prior Eric founded SoundCloud in 2007 and served as CPO for 12 years.

Florian Lennert

Florian Lennert, co-Founder Disrupting Mobility and Klaus-Töpfer Fellow, Research Institute for Sustainability, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam

Florian has engaged with sustainable innovation and development for 30 years and advises research institutions, governments, municipalities, businesses, and technology ventures internationally on sustainable mobility, technology and urban development.  He co-founded Disrupting Mobility and is Klaus-Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam. Florian is a member of the advisory board of the Austrian Ministry for Mobility, Climate, Technology, Energy and Environment and a member of the advisory board of Volocopter. Florian was Head of Mobility at  NEOM from 2019-2023,  and led on overall mobility strategy and systems.  Prior to joining NEOM, Florian co-led the Innovation Center for Mobility (InnoZ)  and focused on sustainable urban innovation and the design and implementation of the EUREF Campus, a smart city district and living lab for smart mobility, renewable energy and future city design in Berlin. He served as chair of the European Commission expert group for smart mobility systems and services and as a member of the EU Commission expert assembly on smart and sustainable cities. Previously, Florian co-founded the Grantham Research Centre for Climate and Environment and the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics (LSE) and was Director of Corporate Relations for LSE. A native of Berlin, Florian has in the past worked at the German Institute for Urbanism (DIFU) and the German government privatisation agency during the unification of East and West Germany.

Gereon Meyer

Head of EU & Intl Biz Dev, VDI/VDE-IT, Berlin

Dr. Gereon Meyer is a physicist, author, and innovation policy consultant with expertise in digital technologies and the sustainable, resilient, and user-centric transformation of automobiles, urban mobility, and transportation systems. He leads the Department of European and International Business Development at VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, a research funding agency and consulting firm based in Berlin. Meyer has edited 25 books and numerous future studies and roadmaps, such as the European Commission's “Electrification of the Transport System” (2017) and “Connected and Automated Transport” (2019). Since 2009, he chairs the International Forum on Advanced Microsystems for Automotive Applications (AMAA), coordinates the Transportation Working Group of EPoSS, and is the editor of the Springer series Lecture Notes in Mobility.

He is holding positions in several expert panels including the advisory board for the mobility innovation strategy of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, the EU's CCAM and 2Zero partnerships, SAE International, and the World Electric Vehicle Journal. He's chairing the Planning Committee for the 2024 7th EU-US Transportation Research Symposium on transportation decarbonization. Meyer, a Ph.D. graduate from Freie Universität Berlin and a fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, has a background as a research associate and visiting scientist in the US, including roles at Stanford University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, before joining VDI/VDE-IT in 2007.


Jonas Schorr

Co-Founder and Partner, Urban Impact

Jonas Schorr is Co-founder and Partner at Urban Impact, a Berlin-based consulting boutique and investment firm focused on bridging the gap between the world of cities, startups and financing.

Despite all efforts, implementing change in cities still happens too slowly. Jonas believes that truly transformative change in cities can only happen if fast-scaling innovators and established players work hand in hand to enable what he calls "conscious disruption".

Jonas has over a decade of experience working on some of the world’s leading city innovation projects. He studied business and global communications in Germany, the UK, Singapore and China. He is an elected member of Berlin’s Chamber of Commerce (IHK Berlin) and was elected in 2024 speaker of Berlin’s Smart City Network. He's also a member of the BMW Foundation's Responsible Leaders Network, a global community of impact-driven change-makers.

Karen Vancluysen

Secretary-General, POLIS

Karen Vancluysen was appointed as Secretary General of POLIS in September 2014, after having been the network's Research Director for 10 years. Prior to that, she worked as network manager at ACCESS-Eurocities and as project manager at Langzaam Verkeer, a Belgian centre for mobility management. Since 1998, Karen has been involved in European urban transport networking and policy activities, and EU research and innovation projects covering a wide range of urban mobility topics. She has been a speaker and moderator at many high-level events in Europe and beyond, on a wide range of urban mobility themes approached from the perspective of cities and the governance of innovation. POLIS is the leading European network of cities and regions on urban transport innovation. For over 30 years already, members have been working together to develop and deploy sustainable and innovative urban mobility solutions for the city of today and tomorrow. 

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann

Creative Director, The Urban Idea and former General-Secretary, ICLEI

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann works with city governments, local stakeholders, academic institutions and NGOs on innovative projects in the field of urban mobility and transport. He initiated the formation of a global alliance for ecomobility and the series of EcoMobility World Festivals, and he developed the concepts and coined the terms of Ecomobility (Umweltverbund) and Fine Mobility (Feinmobilität).
Mr. Otto-Zimmermann’s former positions include: Chairman, Urban Agendas of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (2013-2016); ICLEI Secretary General 2002-2012; ICLEI Deputy Secretary General and Regional Director for Europe 1992-2002; Division Head for Environmental Planning at the City of Freiburg/Germany; and Section Head for Environmental Planning at the Federal Environmental Agency in Berlin/Germany.
He authored, edited, or co-edited about 25 books and numerous articles, and initiated congresses on, sustainable cities, urban environmental planning and management, Local Agenda 21, ecomobility, sustainable urban transport, eco-procurement, urban resilience to disasters, and cities’ adaptation to climate change.
Mr. Otto-Zimmermann holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning (Technical University of Hannover/Germany) and a Master in Public Administration (University for Public Administration, Speyer/Germany)

Laura Schediwy

Head of DACH @what3words

Laura leads the what3words team in the DACH region across multiple industries such as automotive, logistics and e-commerce. Her success in raising what3words’ profile in Germany, Austria and Switzerland was recently recognised with a nomination for the Brightest Star award by the Women Automotive Network.

Laura joined what3words from TOA, where she led one of Germany's largest technology conferences, and is well connected within the DACH startup & tech ecosystem. She is originally from Vienna but has lived in Berlin since 2017.

Marc Ludwig

Global Head of Mass Transit Rail Automation at Siemens Mobility

In his role as Global Head of Mass Transit Rail Automation at Siemens Mobility, Marc Ludwig has been responsible for rail automation and signaling for mass transit rail systems in urban areas since 2019. As the head of the business segment, he dedicated his work to making cities a better place to live by connecting people efficiently and comfortably whilst minimizing the environmental impact.
Marc Ludwig began his career at Siemens AG in 2000 as an engineering graduate and went through various leading roles for mobility projects worldwide.

Mark Seeger

Founder, Glydways

Mark Seeger founded Glydways in 2016 to develop a form of public transit that can move more people than rail, using less than half of the space, which costs 90% less to both build and operate. Most crucially, this solution can be delivered with commodity technology leveraging existing supply chains. Born in the Netherlands, Mark has spent equal parts of his life in Holland, Singapore, and the United States, giving him insight and experience into regional opportunities and challenges that exist to dramatically change how we as a society move.

©Valeria Petkova

Max Schwitalla

Founder, Studio Schwitalla

Max Schwitalla, born in 1980, fell in love with architecture and cities through skateboarding and studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart and ETH Zurich from 2000 to 2006, graduating with a diploma/MSc ETH in architecture. From 2004 to 2005 he worked for Rem Koolhaas/OMA in Rotterdam and New York, and from 2007 to 2011 as a freelance architect for GRAFT in Los Angeles and Berlin, and for HENN in Berlin. As a design architect he was responsible, among other things, for major projects in China.

In 2012 he founded Studio Schwitalla in Berlin with a focus on design and research for future urban mobility and urban development. He has undertaken cooperative projects with urban-planning departments of various municipalities as well as research partners and mobility experts such as Schindler Elevators, Audi, e.GO Mobile or the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

His other activities include lectures and workshops in Germany and abroad, publications and the development of experimental dome films.

Mitch Joachim

Founder, Terreform One

Dr. Joachim is the Co-Founder of Terreform ONE and Associate Professor of Practice at NYU. Mitchell upheld noteworthy leadership roles as a University Senator and Co-Chair of Global Design NYU. Formerly, he worked as an architect at the professional offices of Frank Gehry in Los Angeles, Moshe Safdie in Massachusetts, and I.M. Pei in New York. He has won many awards including: Fulbright Scholarship, LafargeHolcim Acknowledgement Prize, Ove Arup Foundation Grant, Architect R+D Award, AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, 1st Place International Architecture Award, Zumtobel Award for Sustainability, Architizer A+ Award, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time Magazine Best Invention with MIT Smart Cities. He is a TED Senior Fellow and has been awarded fellowships with Safdie Architects, and the Martin Society for Sustainability at MIT. Mitchell was featured in numerous articles: “The 100 People Who Are Changing America” in Rolling Stone, “The Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To” in Wired, “50 Under 50 Innovators of the 21st Century” by Images Publishing Group, “The NOW 99” in Dwell, and “Future of The Environment” in Popular Science. He co-authored four books, “Super Cells: Building with Biology” (TED Books), “Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned” (Prestel, 2014), “XXL-XS: New Directions in Ecological Design” (Actar 2016), and “Design with Life: Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities” (Actar 2019). His design work has been exhibited in numerous locations including MoMA in New York, DOX Center for Contemporary Art in Prague, MASS MoCA in North Adams, The Building Centre in London, DAZ in Berlin, OCAD in Toronto, NAI in Rotterdam, Seoul Biennale, and Venice Biennale. Previously, he was the Frank Gehry Chair at the University of Toronto and faculty at Pratt, Columbia, Syracuse, Rensselaer, Washington (St. Louis), Cornell, Parsons, and EGS. He earned a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MAUD at Harvard University, M.Arch at Columbia University with honors. 

Nikhil Goel

Chief Commercial Officer at Archer Aviation

Nikhil Goel is the Chief Commercial Officer at Archer. After starting at Uber as a product leader on the emerging markets and rider experience teams, Goel co-founded Uber Elevate. Working alongside NASA and Uber executives, Goel helped spearhead the vision for Uber Elevate which has, in turn, inspired the approach to commercializing the industry. In 2020, Goel helped spin off the Uber Elevate business in a strategic sale to Joby Aviation. Goel has been a Senior Advisor to Archer since 2020 and prior to Uber held roles at McKinsey & Company, Google, Microsoft, and NASA. He attended Vanderbilt University and earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a double major in computer engineering and economics.

Prof Kent Larson

Director, City Science, MIT Media Lab, MIT

Kent Larson is the Director of the City Science group at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing urban interventions that enable more entrepreneurial, livable, high-performance districts in cities. To that end, his projects include advanced simulation and augmented reality for urban design, transformable micro-housing for millennials, mobility-on-demand systems that create alternatives to private automobiles, and Urban Living Lab deployments in Hamburg, Andorra, Guadalajara, Taipei, and Boston. 

Larson and researchers from his group received the “10-Year Impact Award” from UbiComp 2014. This is a “test of time” award for work that, with the benefit of hindsight, has had the greatest impact over the previous decade. 

Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City, with design work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, The New York Times, A+U, and Architectural Digest. The New York Times Review of Books selected his book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks (2000) as one of that year’s ten best books in architecture. 


Prof Susan Shaheen

Director, Transportation Sustainability Research Center, UC Berkely

Susan Shaheen is a pioneer in innovative mobility strategies. Her research focuses on sustainable transportation, social equity, behavioral dynamics, public policy, shared mobility, electrification/alternative fuels, and advanced air mobility. She is a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and Co-Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center of the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS)-Berkeley. She also directs the UC ITS’ Resilient and Innovative Mobility Initiative. In January 2023, she was appointed to the California Air Resources Board by Governor Gavin Newsom. In 2022, she became the Chair of the Subcommittee for Planning and Policy Review for the TRB Executive Committee. She also joined the California Transportation Foundation Board in January 2022 where she serves as Co-Chair of the Scholarship Committee. She served as Chair of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Executive Committee in 2021and Vice Chair in 2020. She has a Ph.D. from UC Davis and a M.S. from the University of Rochester. She has authored 92 journal articles, over 160 reports and proceedings articles, 36 book chapters, and co-authored and -edited three books. She received the 2017 Roy W. Crum award from TRB for her distinguished achievements in transportation research. In May 2016, she was named one of the top 10 academic thought leaders in transportation by the Eno Transportation Foundation. 


Prof Philipp Rode

Executive Director, LSE Cities, London School of Economics

Dr Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professor (Education) at the School of Public Policy. He is Co-Director of the LSE Executive MSc in Cities and Visiting Professor at University of St Gallen’s Institute for Mobility. Dr Rode has been leading interdisciplinary programmes in urban development and transport, sustainable urbanism and climate change, and city policy and governance at the LSE since 2003. Across his work, he is interested in multi-dimensional aspects of global urbanisation, sustainability and urban change.  

The focus of Dr Rode’s current research is on government systems, integrated policy making and emergency governance in cities, and on sustainable urban development, transport transitions and new urban mobility. His research has been published in Transport Policy, Journal of Urban Affairs, Transportation Research Part A, Environment and Planning B, Land, Journal of British Academy, Urban Science, and Applied Mobilities. His recent books include ‘Governing Compact Cities: How to connect planning, design and transport’ (Elgar 2018) and co-editing ‘Shaping Cities in an Urban Age’ (Phaidon 2018). 

Dr Rode is co-founder of the Urban Age Programme, manages its global engagement efforts and co-chairs the Addis Ababa Urban Age Task Force. He is LSE lead for the Emergency Governance Initiative for Cities and Regions organised in partnership with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Metropolis. Between 2016 and 2021, he served as Steering Committee Member of the Coalition for Urban Transitions led by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the World Resources Institute. He co-led the UN Habitat III Policy Unit on Urban Governance which informed the UN’s New Urban Agenda (2016) and co-directed the cities workstream of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate in the run-up to the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. 

His current and past work with public, private and third sector organisations further includes OECD, UNDP, UNEP, ICLEI, GIZ, European Environment Agency, National Ministries in the UK, Germany, India, Ethiopia, Colombia, Chile, Peru, France and the Netherlands alongside over 50 city and metropolitan governments from across the world. Rode is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and a Member of the Science of Cities Knowledge Council of the World Cities Summit. Dr Rode holds degrees in transport systems (Dipl. Ing., TU Berlin), city design and social science (MSc, LSE) and cities/urban governance (PhD, LSE). He was awarded the Schinkel Urban Design Prize 2000. 

Prof Wolfgang Gruel

Director, Fraunhofer KEIM

Wolfgang is a professor of Intelligent Mobility Concepts at the Esslingen University and Head of the Fraunhofer Application Center KEIM. He is passionate about digital innovation and mobility. His work focuses on creating more sustainable mobility systems that make use of new technologies and change the way we travel.  
Wolfgang worked as an entrepreneur and as a manager in Daimler’s Business Innovation unit. There, he worked on shared mobility concepts like car2go and initiated moovel, a mobility platform that offers customers the best options for traveling from point A to point B by combining diverse modes of transportation.  
He has worked on shared autonomous mobility systems as Head of Autonomous Mobility Services at car2go, as a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, and as a professor at the Stuttgart Media University where he co-founded the Institute for Mobility and Digital Innovation. He has investigated different aspects of business models, service design, user behavior, and fleet organization in mobility-as-a-service models. 
Wolfgang holds a Ph.D. in Innovation Management from the RWTH Aachen University, a Master’s Degree in Information Systems and he graduated in Business Administration. 

Sandra Wappelhorst

Senior Researcher, ICCT Europe

Sandra Wappelhorst is a Senior Researcher on the ICCT Europe team and Cluster Lead on transport equity for ICCT. Her research focuses on city- and national-level fiscal and non-fiscal policies to enhance electric vehicle adoption, with particular emphasis on an equal, inclusive, and just transition toward zero-emission vehicles. Further research areas include national and sub-national internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle phase-out targets and regulations as well as city-level goals and policies regulating vehicle access such as low- and zero-emission zones. Her work covers the global, European, and Indian markets, as well as city-level work. Prior to joining the ICCT, Sandra worked for various organizations where her tasks included citizens’ participation in urban planning processes and research on the adoption of innovative electric mobility services and their user acceptance. She holds a diploma degree as an engineer in Spatial Planning (Dipl.-Ing.) from the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany) and a doctor’s degree (Dr.-Ing.) from the University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich (Germany).

Shantha Bloemen

Founding Director of Mobility for Africa

Shantha Bloemen is the Founder and CEO of Mobility for Africa, a social enterprise that wants to bring green shared mobility solutions to rural women.  She was driven by her early experiences living in rural Africa where women carried the enormous burden of walking long distances carrying goods, water, and children. Inspired by the potential of the electric vehicle revolution she had witnessed while working for UNICEF in China, she decided it was time to put women in the driving seat in rural Africa. Leveraging her twenty-five years working in development assistance in Africa and Asia, she set up Mobility for Africa in 2019.  From an initial pilot test in one rural community in Zimbabwe, the company has grown to now operate fleets of E-tricycles using an off-grid battery swapping system and bespoke batteries that she aims to scale to every rural community in the continent. With her hands on experience in testing electric three-wheelers and her new passion for everything related to electric mobility, she helped develop the EV policy in Zimbabwe, and been asked to speak at many African transport and energy conferences, where she gives voice to the importance of gender in this male dominated sector.

Shantha has a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honours in African history from the University of Western Australia and a Masters’ Degree from Columbia School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA).  She is the proud mother of an 18-year-old son, called Sankara, who shares her love of visiting new places and meeting new people.

©DB Cargo AG / Oliver Lang

Sigrid Nikutta

Member of the Board, Deutsche Bahn and CEO DB Cargo

Dr. Sigrid Nikutta has been the Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn AG responsible for freight transport since 1 January 2020. She also acts as the Chairman of the
Management Board of DB Cargo AG. As Europe's largest freight railway, DB Cargo is active in 17 countries. And, as a company with 30,000 employees, it forms a strong part of the
backbone of the European economy.
Previously, she served for almost ten years as CEO of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), leading the company into profitability for the first time. From 1996-2010 she held various
management positions at Deutsche Bahn AG. Dr. Sigrid Nikutta studied psychology and received her doctorate from the LMU Munich in 2009. She also Member of the Executive
Committee of the Association of Berlin Merchants and Industrialists (VBKI), Chair of the Board of Trustees of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and member of the
Supervisory Board of Knorr-Bremse AG.

Sabina Kusmin-Tyburski

CIO, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG)

Sabina Kusmin-Tyburski is CIO of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) and has headed the information and sales technology department since February 2024. The 43-year-old has many years of IT expertise, including consulting on international IT projects. Most recently, as IT manager at DKB Service GmbH, she was responsible for the IT operations of the entire banking group. At Germany's largest local transport company, she is expected to further advance the BVG's digital transformation. From mobile ticketing to the intelligent networking of mobility offers to “classic” corporate IT with passenger information systems and on-board computers: the IT department with around 450 employees plays a key role in actively shaping the mobility transition for the metropolis of Berlin.

Sven Rutkowsky

Partner and Managing Director, Kearney

Sven Rutkowsky is a partner and managing director in Kearney and coordinates the European Mobility team of the global top management consultancy. For more than 25 years, Sven advises leading mobility companies in rail, public transport and logistics, as well as private and public infrastructure developer and managers on topics of strategy, M&A and strategic operations. Sven works both in Europe and in the middle East and is a subject matter expert to projects around the world. Among others, he developed mobility companies and innovative solutions as executive team member in charge of passenger transport in Rhenus (now part of Keolis and Transdev), and as program director for developing the public transport system in Riyadh. Sven currently engages in the build-up the Center for Integrated Mobility in the Ruhr Area in Germany as part of Kearney’s engagement in the Initiativkreis Ruhr in order to foster public-private collaboration for moving the region to the forefront of smart urban mobility development for people and goods.


(c) Christian Thomas

Thomas Willemeit

Founding Partner, CEO, GRAFT

Thomas Willemeit studied architecture at the Technical University Braunschweig, where he graduated as Dipl.-Ing. Arch. in 1997, and partook the masterclass for architecture and urban planning at the Bauhaus Dessau. Besides his successful career in the architectural field, he won numerous national prizes as a violin player and a chorister. He was a visiting professor for architecture at the RWTH Aachen and at Peter Behrens School of Art in Düsseldorf and has been a visiting professor at the TU Delft in 2017/18.

In 1998 Thomas Willemeit established GRAFT in Los Angeles together with Lars Krückeberg and Wolfram Putz. With further offices in Berlin and Shanghai, GRAFT has been commissioned to design and manage a wide range of projects. GRAFT has won numerous national and international awards and earned international reputation throughout its existence.

In 2009 the GRAFT founding partners co-founded Solarkiosk AG together with Andreas Spiess, which affiliate companies are incorporated in ten countries worldwide today. With GRAFT Brandlab Thomas Willemeit, Wolfram Putz, and Lars Krückeberg established a branding agency together with Linda Stannieder in 2014. The agency operates at the interface of architecture, design, and branding.
Since 2015 GRAFT offers sustainable housing systems in modular design in order to quickly construct accommodations for refugees. The company called Heimat2 was founded together with three other companies working in project development and communication.

Thomas Willemeit, Lars Krückeberg and Wolfram Putz together with Marianne Birthler curated the German Pavilion in Venice at the Architecture Biennale 2018.

Uma Subramanian

Managing Director, Surya Ventures

Uma Subramanian is the Managing Director of Surya Ventures, a mobility advisory firm. From 2019 through 2023, Uma was the CEO of Aero Technologies, a next generation air carrier for the experience economy. Prior to launching Aero, Uma was the founding CEO of Voom.Flights, an Airbus company, which ran on demand air taxi services in Sao Paulo and Mexico City.
By way of background, Uma holds an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Uma is passionate about flight and has spent the majority of her career working in aerospace and aviation.
Uma believes that this is an extraordinary time in the industry, and looks forward to building the future of flight.

Program 16 May 2024


Welcome and Introduction

Ute Weiland, CEO, VBKI Berlin

Joachim Breuninger, Director, Stiftung Deutsches Technik Museum Berlin

Helmut Scholze, Senior Partner, Kearney


Mobility Disrupted? Recap & Lessons Learned 2015-2024

Susan Shaheen, Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California at Berkeley

Philippe Crist, Senior Adviser, Innovation and Foresight, International Transport Forum, OECD

Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Kent Larson, Director, City Science, MIT Media Lab         

Wolfgang Gruel, Director, Fraunhofer KEIM

Adam Cohen, Senior Research Manager, Transportation Sustainability Research Center, UC Berkeley

Moderation: Florian Lennert, Klaus Töpfer Fellow, Research Institute for Sustainability


From Providing to Enabling: Orchestrating Sustainable Mobility Ecosystems

Karen Vancluysen, Secretary-General, POLIS

Sabina Kusmin-Tyburski, CIO, BVG Berlin

Carlos Acha Ledesma, Director of Technology & Innovation, EMT Madrid

Marc Ludwig, Global Head of Mass Transit Rail Automation, Siemens Mobility

Sven Rutkowsky, Senior Partner, Kearney

Moderation: Florian Lennert, Research Institute for Sustainability


Coffee & Networking


Transformative Communities

Kent Larson, Director, City Science, MIT Media Lab


Human-Centric Mobility

Sandra Wappelhorst, Senior Researcher, ICCT

Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, Founder & CEO, Dance

Naroa Coretti Sanchez, Researcher, MIT Media Lab

Ben Plowden, Chair Transport Planning Society (UK)

Moderation: Philipp Rode, LSE Cities




Future Transit

Thomas Willemeit, Founding Partner, CEO, GRAFT

Mark Seeger, Founder, Glydways

Moderation: Wolfgang Gruel, Fraunhofer KEIM


Future Car

Gereon Meyer, Head of EU/International Business Development, VDI/VDE-IT

Knut Hechtfischer, Founder, Ubitricity and CEO, Decarbon1ze

Chris Berry, Chief Strategy Officer, EV8 Technologies

Laura Schediwy, Head of DACH, What3Words

Sabine Spittler, Partner and Managing Director, Digital & Analytics, Kearney

Moderation: Wolfgang Gruel, Fraunhofer KEIM


Coffee & Networking


Advancing Air Mobility

Christian Bauer, CFO/CCO, Volocopter

Nikhil Goel, CCO, Archer

Uma Subramanian, Aviation expert

Moderation: Adam Cohen, UC Berkeley


From Multi-Modal to Multi-Dimensional: Design & Infrastructure for Sustainable Future Mobility

Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the Board, Deutsche Bahn and CEO DB Cargo

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Creative Director, The Urban Idea

Anthony Townsend, Urbanist-in-Residence, Cornell Tech

Jonas Schorr, Partner, Urban Impact

Moderation: Kent Larson, MIT Media Lab


Disrupting Mobility for an Urban Age

Mitch Joachim, Co-Founder, Terreform ONE

Max Schwitalla, Founder, Studio Schwitalla

Moderation & Closing: Florian Lennert, Research Institute for Sustainability

From 17:30