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International Co-operation project aims to improve transport services in cities hosting major sporting events

Partners in the EU-funded 'STADIUM' project will look for ways to improve transport services for large events in big cities, including the South Africa World Cup, the India Commonwealth Games and the London Olympics.

STADIUM getting supporters to the big event © Peter Gutierrez
STADIUM getting supporters to the big event
© Peter Gutierrez

"STADIUM is one of the first three SICA projects, 'Specific International Co-operation Actions', to be launched under the 'Transport' theme of the European Commission's Seventh Research Framework Programme," explains EU Project Officer Patrick Mercier-Handisyde.

SICA projects provide a unique mechanism for specific bilateral or bi-regional co-operation, he says. They address specific needs of mutual interest to targeted regions or countries, and they require compulsory participation of research entities from different selected International Co-operation Partner Countries (ICPC) or regions.

"The global challenges we face cannot be addressed if we simply confine our action to Europe," says Mercier-Handisyde., "This is why we are opening our research funding to emerging economies. Supporting interesting and innovative research projects in the field of transport is a great way to start. And, at the same time, promoting development in countries outside Europe will have positive knock-on effects that will benefit the world economy."

Demonstrating ITS through partnership

The STADIUM project kicked off in 2009 and is being coordinated by Italy's  ISISexternal link.

The overall aim is to improve the performance of transport systems for a wide range of users during big events in big cities.

"The idea of 'performance' covers several dimensions," says Mercier-Handisyde. "It includes efficiency, in terms of frequency, punctuality and reliability. It also refers to comfort, affordability, ease of use, safety and security, and impact on the broader community in terms of congestion, air quality, and accident risk to both users and non-users."

Project partners will demonstrate the performance of Intelligent Transport System (ITS) applications at three world-class sporting events, based on procedures worked out under the EU 'ITS FRAME Architecture' initiative.

  • South Africa World Cup – First, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a new ITS telematics tool and an innovative technological control centre will be used in support of a 'demand-responsive' transport service, providing key information that will help to improve the efficiency of public transport. The proposed system will manage a fleet of minivan taxis in Cape Town, integrating taxis with other local public transport services, including buses. The application will compatible with multi modal ticketing, terminal management and other systems.
  • India Commonwealth Games – A second demonstration will take place during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Here, Public Transport services, in particular bus transport and feeder services consisting of auto rickshaws, will be monitored in real time via interfaces with GPS positioning systems. The aim will be more efficient planning of overall transport services.
  • London Olympics– The final demonstration will take place during the London Olympic Games in 2012. A system based on visual scene analysis will be used to monitor localised passenger and vehicle congestion and the propagation of congestion across and within multi-modal transport networks. The demonstration will include elements deployed at a number of locations across the London transport system.

The STADIUM project gathers a multi-disciplinary team that includes transport companies, transport policy experts and ICT experts. Its geographical scope is wide, encompassing players in Europe, Africa and Asia. Partners include academic institutions, research and consultancy firms, ITS manufacturers, SMEs and companies from Europe, South Africa and India

More than better transport

STADIUM will produce a handbook for cities hosting large events, including guidelines and solutions for selecting, designing and implementing ITS applications. In addition, project partner  POLISexternal link, the European network of cities and regions, has established a user group of cities that are interested in co-operation with STADIUM, with a view towards the preparation of future events. These include: Glasgow (Commonwealth Games 2014); Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Kiev and Kharkov (Euro 2012); Milan (World Expo 2015); and Madrid. Contacts have also been established with Brazilian cities involved in the 2014 football World Cup.

"For the Commission, international co-operation in specific sectors and technologies, such as in the field of ITS, can boost competitiveness on world markets," says Mercier-Handisyde. "And the development of improved international standards will mean easier and better travel for individuals, and better access to world markets for European industry."