Intelligent systems for safe and efficient road transport
By allowing vehicles to exchange information with each other and with road infrastructure using wireless technology, Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) have the potential to cut accidents and congestion. An EU-funded project is laying the groundwork for their large-scale deployment.
© envfx #90539628, source: stock.adobe.com 2019
Considerable progress has been made in developing C-ITS recently, with many projects demonstrating the benefits. However, existing systems have largely been designed with different aims in mind and were set up independently of each other. Thus, they lack the common communication architecture needed for wider application of the technologies.
To solve this problem, the EU-funded C-MOBILE project is demonstrating C-ITS solutions in real-life conditions across Europe based on a standardised process. These solutions supply information to drivers, such as on parking availability, roadworks, changes in speed limits due to road, traffic or weather conditions, fuel-efficient driving, slow or stationary vehicles, approaching motorcycles or emergency vehicles, and blind spots. There are also warning systems for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.
Such an extensive, fully integrated range of services can pave the way for the deployment of a standard EU-wide C-ITS network. This should help reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the EU, and lead to smoother traffic flows, shorter journey times and lower environmental impacts.
The main aim of C-MOBILE is to allow the large-scale implementation of new transport technologies across Europe, says project coordinator Alex Vallejo of Applus IDIADA in Spain. Drivers and road infrastructure managers will be able to share real-time information and use it to coordinate their actions. Connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure, such as traffic lights, Traffic Management Centres or variable-message signs, is expected to greatly improve road safety, traffic efficiency and driving comfort. As a result, drivers will be able to make better decisions and adapt to changing situations.
Eight deployment sites
C-MOBILEs solutions are being demonstrated over large urban and extra-urban areas in and around the cities of Barcelona, Bilbao and Vigo in Spain, Bordeaux in France, Copenhagen in Denmark, Newcastle in the UK and Thessaloniki in Greece, as well as in the Dutch province of North Brabant.
Having served as pilot sites for C-ITS research under previous projects, most of these places had already installed the appropriate infrastructure installed. C-MOBILE has integrated their systems with cellular technology to create hybrid architecture for secure and reliable communication. The new architecture ensures the compatibility of the different systems, and the project partners hope that by demonstrating its benefits they can persuade other cities to adopt it.
The right services at the right price
Cost-benefit analyses and business models formulated under the project will help local authorities deploy the C-ITS services they need and to ensure that these services operate at an acceptable price for users.
From an economic perspective, C-MOBILE aims to improve transport operations and contribute to more sustainable activities and economies of scale, including at the local level, says Vallejo. The project will also help increase return on investment in transport technologies and infrastructure, primarily for the public sector. At the micro level, it will develop economically viable products, services and applications which can be commercially exploited.
The partners are now working with public authorities, highway agencies, public transport companies and representatives of user groups, including vulnerable road users, to enhance the services and establish relationships that endure beyond project end.
They are also exploring commonalities between European and North American C-ITS. An agreement with the US Department of Transportation in November 2017 envisages setting up a harmonised architecture and a shared roadmap as the basis for identifying collaboration points both during the project and in the future.