In the near future, the travel experience for drivers will radically change from what they were used to a decade ago: advanced safety systems will guide drivers and help reduce road accidents; built-in vehicle sensors will detect road and traffic conditions and adapt the behaviour of the vehicle; automatic control of the engine will enable the reduction of emissions and contribute to the objective of decarbonisation of transport. All this will be possible thanks to the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to the transport system, also called Intelligent Transport Systems, or ITS. These are playing an increasingly important role in shaping European transport policy for the opportunities lying within new technologies. Many elements come together in the development of these systems, and one of them is the availability of accurate digital maps, which is crucial for the provision of real time traffic and multimodal travel information services.
The ITS Directive in 2010 confirmed the importance of digital maps, required mainly in two priority actions (provision of EU-wide real time traffic and multimodal travel information services). The creation of standards is envisaged for the integration of accurate public road data in digital maps, and the ITS Directive provides that to guarantee a coordinated approach, coherence with the INSPIRE framework should be ensured, especially for what concerns static road data (speed limits, access restrictions…). INSPIRE is Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe, to share spatial data and services, supporting environmental policies or policies that have an impact on the environment.
The EULF transportation pilot was an opportunity to support concretely the needs of businesses and citizens and address the policy requirements of the ITS Directive, while leveraging the INSPIRE investment by the European countries. It established an up-to-date flow of road safety data between road authorities and commercial map providers in Norway and Sweden, and provided guidance on linear referencing and exchange standards (the TN-ITS protocol), supporting the aims of the ITS Directive and drawing on INSPIRE. Partners included the JRC-led EULF project, ERTICO (a public/private sector European mobility solutions partnership), Norwegian and Swedish Road Authorities, TomTom and HERE (commercial navigation system providers), and Norwegian and Swedish Mapping Agencies (partners of the European Location Framework (ELF) project led by EuroGeographics).
This document describes:
- (i) the relevant policy context;
- (ii) the methodology used to implement the TN-ITS protocol in Norway in Sweden;
- (iii) the use of the linear referencing approach from INSPIRE to complement TN-ITS location referencing; (iv) the testing of the ELF platform by the commercial map providers; (v) the development of a draft technical specification prepared for formal submission of the TN-ITS standard under CEN TC-278; and
- (vi) an assessment of the added value of the approach undertaken.
Benefits found were:
- (i) the use of the TN-ITS revealed tangible benefits for map providers and consumers, reducing speed limit error rates from 25% to 7%;
- (ii) Road Authorities (SE, NO) passed from quarterly to daily updates to map providers
- (iii) if extended to other EU countries, commercial map providers would be able to move from disparate national processes to more standardised ones in different EU countries;
- (iv) a continuous flow of data from road authority to end user;
- (v) reduced effort in handling incremental updates compared to handle full datasets
- (vi) change of workflows at organisational level towards greater efficiency and avoiding duplication (vi) realising EU investments and leveraging MS efforts in INSPIRE and ELF.
Main findings include:
- (i) the need to put in place effective data sharing and collaboration agreements between public and private parties, complementing the tested technical solution
- (ii) the importance of relying on INSPIRE transport network data when national road databases are not available
- (iii) the need to agree on a common location referencing method to facilitate road data exchange
- (iv) the need to improve data collection business processes for the public road authorities to supply up-to-date information to the private sector (and other public sector) data users. Based on these results, there is a commitment from the partners to put the ‘pilot’ processes into ‘production’, and actions are underway to extend the processes to other MS through the project called European ITS Platform (EU-EIP), under the EU Connecting Europe Facilities (CEF) funding scheme.