CAPITAL interview: ITS knowledge sharing community for local authorities

Knowledge sharing in the Netherlands happens in many organised and spontaneous ways. Networks such as the Smart Mobility Campus, the Smart Mobility Embassy and the Smart Mobility Community for Practises and Standards have proven to be of value for national and international operations. At European level, there are also many other networks.

Expertise within the field of ITS is very different from region to region. Where countries in Western Europe might excel at one topic, countries in other parts of Europe may be looking to utilise this specialised knowledge. This goes both ways, with each region possessing different expertise and challenges. In order to facilitate knowledge sharing and strengthen European development, the European Commission set up a call within the Horizon 2020 programme. With that funding, ERTICO and 11 partners across Europe set up the CAPITAL project.

Manuela Flachi (project manager): ‘We are building a network which shares and translates knowledge into practical courses for local authorities, so that this knowledge can be implemented anywhere in Europe’.

CAPITAL stands for Collaborative cApacity Programme on ITS Training educAtion & Liaison. The aim of the CAPITAL project is to build a collaborative capacity community and deployment programme to support public and private stakeholders in the implementation of (C-)ITS. They do this by offering training courses and educational resources for people to use to learn about the benefits of ITS deployment. Manuela Flachi, speaking on behalf of the CAPITAL project, tells us more about the project.

Building a Knowledge Sharing Community

‘We actually have two objectives” says Flachi, "one is building a stakeholder network so we can understand their needs, knowledge gaps, and the differences experienced across Europe. The other objective is to create training courses to help educate people on how ITS can be used to solve their specific transport challenges. By identifying stakeholders’ needs across Europe, we can develop bespoke training materials tailored to specific mobility changes. We believe this specialised approach really separates us from other knowledge sharing networks as we are putting peoples’ needs first.’

ITS Training for Local Authorities

‘The training courses we are developing are aimed primarily at local authorities because we believe they are the key audience we need to address if we are to foster ITS take up across Europe. Therefore raising awareness is one of our primary goals.’

Throughout Europe there are many local authorities still unaware of ITS and its potential benefits, so the challenge to raise awareness and interest is substantial. ‘We have started by approaching our own network, and those of our partners, and we have been expanding from this foundation to reach out to new audiences. One of the pilots we are currently working on is in Turin, Italy, led by our consortium partner responsible for local implementation (TTS Italia). We are also looking for other pilot locations in Spain or Portugal to help make the project more representative for Mediterranean regions. The other regions we have identified have been put into the following clusters: the Nordic region, the central European region and the Eastern European region.’

Regional Approach

 ‘There are so many differences within Europe. It’s not just the differences between east and west but there’s also a lot of differences between north and south. Even on specific topics, the awareness and knowledge of ITS differs per region. At the European ITS Conference in Strasbourg, CAPITAL organised a debate on this, where we tried to illustrate the differences between countries such as the Netherlands and mid-eastern companies and looking at what is happening, and what their needs are because they will likely be very different.

A mobility end-user, a driver or a fleet operator, also has a major role to play in this, as a result we are also targeting them. We need to know what the end user wants in order to be relevant for local authorities. If we want to convince a city to join the CAPITAL community, we need to understand what’s going on there.

One of the main challenges we have found is the language barrier. English is a commonly used language in some countries but not all of them. In some regions we will develop training courses in other languages so that we maximise the reach and impact of what we are doing in the CAPITAL project.’

CAPITAL Training in the Netherlands

One of the pilot training sessions will be held at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, representing Western Europe. ‘In this region we’ll start the training sessions at a more advanced level because we see that the countries involved have already built up some expertise on ITS.  For less experienced regions we start with ‘what is ITS’ while for the more experienced countries we start with more in-depth sessions.’

The training in Helmond is open for all readers of Smart Mobility Stories and is free to participate in.

‘We have invited parties from the Benelux but also from France and Germany and it would be good to connect these parties, to learn together, and share experiences.’

More information and registration is available on the CAPITAL website.

More information about the CAPITAL project and its training sessions in the Western Europe region are available from Gert Blom.