Strasbourg round-up: SIS 32 - (C)ITS for public authorities

The session brought together public and private C-ITS stakeholders to discuss existing European initiatives dealing with the C-ITS deployment challenges. The session was organised by CAPITAL project coordinator Manuela Flachi, moderated by Pedro Barradas from the European Commission (DG MOVE) and aimed mainly at raising awareness of initiatives focusing on C-ITS education, such as the CAPITAL project.

The first speaker was Gert Blom from the City of Helmond, a member of the CAPITAL consortium, who explained that ITS and C-ITS can only be successfully deployed by people familiar enough with the technologies. Mr Blom explained that the CAPITAL project aims to provide public authorities with C-ITS and ITS training. The training will focus on users’ needs and takes into account the perspectives of ITS-newcomers and other user groups. It is hoped that, as a result of this training, public authorities will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to deploy ITS and C-ITS services effectively.

Graham Hanson, from the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport (DfT) and also a member of the CAPITAL consortium, discussed the transitional state C-ITS currently finds itself in. At the moment there are varying visions for the future of the ITS sector while the main users lack the understanding to take advantage of the technology, said Hanson echoing Mr Blom’s comments.

Mr Hanson also presented a collaborative approach to traffic management developed by the UK Department for Transport whereby investments are made at different levels of C-ITS deployment as part of a learn-by-doing method to find the best strategy for C-ITS deployment. This approach is aimed primarily at building a community of interested ITS stakeholders by promoting the large-scale dissemination of C-ITS benefits.

Martin Böhm, from AustriaTech (the Federal Agency for Technological Measures Ltd.) and another member of the CAPITAL consortium, discussed the harmonisation of ITS deployment. Mr Böhm presented the CROCODILE initiative as an example of harmonised ITS deployment and the benefits it can bring such as developing C-ITS data exchanges and boosting deployment effectiveness. He described how the CROCODILE initiative brings together several countries and actors operating different levels of services to propose and produce solutions using the existing technical and organisational frameworks. Mr Böhm concluded, based on the CROCODILE experience, that it becomes increasingly crucial to understand where and when to start a knowledge exchange (along with what data collect, how to use it effectively and to make it easily accessible) in order to learn what would be the best way for public authorities to deploy C-ITS.

Martin Pichl, from the Czech Ministry of Transport, talked about the public benefits of C-ITS, such as better traffic flow management, enhanced road safety and related spill-over economic effects. He also referred to the limitations and challenges of C-ITS deployment, such as the development and implementation of interfaces between cars and road infrastructure. Mr Pichl argued that investments in C-ITS must also contain a digital layer, and be supported by provisions for the harmonisation of services and technologies. Furthermore, the cooperation between the transport and telecommunication sector will be crucial for deployment.

Mihai Niculescu, from ITS Romania, reported on Romania’s current state of C-ITS – noting that while it is still at an early stage it is well prepared for a harmonised roll-out thanks to the existing inter- ministerial ITS coordination committee, which defines the overall objectives and priorities regarding ITS and establishes the ITS measures defined in transport masterplans. According to Mr Niculescu, Romanian internal policy states that all new motorways have to include ITS infrastructure – a significant step forward in the deployment of ITS. Furthermore, existing and newly built motorways are prioritised for harmonisation with other regional and European ITS networks in order to ensure smart urban mobility. Mr Niculescu also reffered to several C-ITS initiatives currently being carried out, such as the participation of national experts in European C-ITS platform Work Groups (CO-GISTICS), which may provide a better policy framework and understanding of funding implementation.

Lastly, Guido di Pasquale, from UITP, talked about how the public transport sector has become an increasingly integral part of city planning, with digitalisation bringing about new business models and professions requiring specialised training and education.