Lessons from ITS deployment in medium-sized cities: join the online workshop on 29 August

Register HERE for the online workshop - Thursday 29 August 15:00-16:00 CET!

The CAPITAL ITS e-learning project continues to offer additional training opportunities online and offline, with a free one-hour webinar taking place on 29 August to present the lessons learnt from ITS & C-ITS deployments in two medium-sized European cities: Helmond (The Netherlands) and Vigo (Spain).

Starting with a history of services deployed throughout the last decade, the webinar will explore the objectives behind ITS introduction and the decision-making process, then look at the concrete benefits of ITS & C-ITS services for both citizens and city governments, and conclude with an estimate of current needs and challenges, before attempting to draw plans for the future.

 

Helmond aims to be ‘the ultimate hotspot for smart mobility in the Netherlands’

With a population of just over 90,000, you wouldn’t immediately think of Helmond as a metropolis straining under traffic gridlock. Look closer and you will see a city that is part of Brainport, the country’s innovation hub and inland counterpart to the Europort district where the port of Rotterdam meets the sea.

With its roots firmly planted in the Dutch industrial heartland of South Brabant and a rich history of textile and metal industries, Helmond also boasts the innovative Automotive Campus, a technology hub that hosted on-road demonstrations during the ITS European Congress 2019.

The city of Eindhoven, just 15 kilometres away, is also the historical home of Philips electronics and DAV trucks, in addition to countless businesses and production sites across multiple industries. This density of activity, in a compact country where space is at a premium and massive traffic jams are commonplace, creates unique challenges.

‘Helmond is a very interesting case study because many cities across Europe face the same issues: directing truck traffic away from residential areas, encouraging non-motorised mobility among commuters, managing peak flows, all with limited budgets or space for new infrastructure’ says Hugo Roebroeck, Communication Officer at ERTICO – ITS Europe and Dissemination Manager for CAPITAL.

‘You would be tempted to brush off C-ITS as a solution, thinking it would be too complex or too expensive for a metropolitan area of less than 100,000 or 200,000 inhabitants – and you would be wrong!’

Some 15 years ago Helmond had to make a fundamental choice in mobility strategy to cope with increasing traffic volumes and worsening congestion.

‘Instead of choosing large-scale new infrastructure, we decided to go for the “Optimization” scenario: better use of existing infrastructure’ explains Gert Blom, Strategic Advisor for Mobility and Coordinator of the international smart mobility projects for the City of Helmond, and guest of the webinar. ‘Through a series of EU-funded projects such as FREILOT and Compass4D we have learned about possibilities, possible impact and limitations of ITS-solutions for our city.’

In partnership with Eindhoven, the city is currently engaged in C-ITS service implementation as part of the C-MobILE project, which supports large-scale deployment of cooperative and intelligent support systems and services in eight urban areas across six European countries. The range of services being rolled out this year in the two Brabantian cities focuses on safety and vulnerable users. Green Priority for Bicycles, Blind Spot Warning (covering both cyclists and pedestrians), and Emergency Vehicle Approach Warning are all expected to contribute to a safer traffic environment while lowering emergency response times for firefighters, ambulances and law enforcement. In addition, Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) and Road Works/Road Hazard Warning are expected to improve traffic flow, notably by reducing unnecessary stops on the city’s thoroughfares and ring road.

‘After a first deployment of some services, the main focus should now be on economies of scale and sustainable business models. Our main message is: upscaling, upscaling, upscaling’ Gert Blom adds – a message he will develop further during the webinar.

 

C-ITS in Vigo, from testing to deployment

With just short of 300,000 inhabitants in the city proper, and 480,000 in the entire metropolitan area, the Northeastern Spanish port of Vigo stands as the 14th most populous municipality in the country. For years the city council has been promoting the development, implementation and deployment of the latest ITS technologies, and is now active as a Deployment Site of the C-MobILE project, in partnership with CTAG - Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia, whose automotive campus and test track are nested in the hills just south of the city.

The region of Galicia around Vigo is also an important automotive industry hub, giving additional impetus to the city council when it comes to making road transport smarter, safer and more efficient. A rugged landscape rich in steep cliffs and deep forested valleys also imposes limits on the breadth of road infrastructure, prompting the city council to seek technology solutions as an alternative to costly and complex construction projects.

To this end, eleven C-ITS services are being deployed in 2019 as part of C-MobILE, building on existing infrastructure developed as part of the Compass4D project.

Participation in several projects at European, national and local level together with own initiatives of implementation and deployment of ITS systems is key to the City’s strategy towards the achievement of clean and sustainable mobility. This strategy, integrated with other actions in the fields of energy, city services and education among others, has been awarded with the national prize Smart City 2015 by the Socinfo Foundation for the development of ICT in cities.

‘The city of Vigo is pursuing a holistic approach of citizen-oriented services revolving around the Vigo+ app for mobile devices’” says Hugo Roebroeck. Dubbed “Vigo in your hands”, it allows users to subscribe to notifications and receive updates on mobility issues, public transport routes, real-time traffic updates, and parking availability. ‘Mobility services are only a part of the app environment, and combine together with paperless administration, smart energy use, open data access and participative government to deliver smart global management in all fields of municipal action.’ Thanks to this direct, two-way channel of communication with its residents, the council aims to become a model smart city at national level.

This approach will be presented jointly during the webinar on 29 August by Antonio Vivero, Manager of the Mobility and Safety Area of Vigo, and Jose Manuel Martínez from ESYCSA-ETRA. Connectivity will be addressed as a key topic in the city’s ITS deployment strategy, with a look at the current deployment roadmap; lessons learnt from the pilot projects, and C-ITS services consolidation as part of traffic management.

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