Maria Bratt Börjesson President of ITEA

Personporträtt Maria
Maria Bratt Börjesson. Photo: Camilla Cherry

Professor Maria Bratt Börjesson of VTI has been elected by the members as President of ITEA, the International Transport Economics Association. The international organisation brings together researchers in transport economics. Although it means some additional commitments, she is looking forward to the assignment.

“It is a great honour and will be fun. I was the local organiser for ITEA in Stockholm in 2011, which at the time was organised by VTI and KTH. Since then, I have been to all of the ITEA conferences, even when they fell during the Midsummer holiday,” says Maria Bratt Börjesson.

Many of the most prominent researchers in transport economics internationally have been extremely generous with their commitment, ideas, advice and support over the years, she says.

“For me, this is what ITEA should be about: disseminating knowledge, innovation, inspiration, networking and supporting fellow researchers in a warm and supportive environment. In my role as President, I want to continue working to welcome new generations of transport economists. I want them to benefit from the network and its conferences.”

Maria Bratt Börjesson is the successor to Professor Sergio R Jara-Díaz of the Universidad de Chile. ITEA brings together many of the world's best transport economists from five continents. Its outreach includes its journal Economics of Transportation: Journal of the ITEA and its annual conferences. Each conference begins with a three-day summer school, where top researchers teach PhD students.

“I have also taught the summer school for several years. It's also important because it creates connections and is fun. The idea is for younger and more established researchers to meet over dinner or a cup of coffee.”

Quite a few of the people doing research on transport economics at VTI are members of ITEA, and many have attended the summer school. This year's conference brought together mainly researchers from Europe, as there were still difficulties with longer journeys due to the Corona pandemic.

“It was actually a bit special because we had not gotten together physically in this way for two years. It is particularly important for the younger generation, who are in the process of building their networks. In this time of climate change, pandemics and general unrest in the world, a truly global research community like ITEA is more valuable than ever. This is because ITEA tackles key issues with a scientific and empirical approach, building bridges between people, countries and continents.”

The conferences provide good opportunities to meet the big names in the research field, to mix PhD students with professionals, says Maria Bratt Börjesson. Among the countries that have a lot of research in transport economics and usually participate, she names the Netherlands, Spain, the USA, Canada, Chile, China, Italy, France, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Denmark and the UK.

There are other reasons for taking on the presidency, says Maria Bratt Börjesson.

“It's important to contribute more female role models. There are quite a few female PhD students in transport economics, but few female professors. Generally speaking, I haven't experienced any disadvantages in being a woman, it is mostly an advantage. The experience of being at the top of an organisation like this is probably also instructive. Perhaps it can mean a deeper and wider network of contacts. With a bit of luck, it might also help with things like citations and making it easier to apply for international projects.”

ITEA – International Transport Economics Association External link.

Text: Gunilla Rech

Translated by: CBG Konsult & Information AB

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