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Intelligent transport systems


For road transport intelligent transport systems (also called road telematics) have already been developed for more than 20 years. Some applications are now widespread and well-known. For example, several millions of cars and trucks are equipped with on-board navigation systems considering real-time traffic and travel information.

Why should the EU act?

The potential of ITS can only be realised if their deployment in Europe evolves from the limited and fragmented scenario today into an EU-wide one. Trans-national deployment of continuous cross-border services for travel information and traffic management cannot be achieved by Member States alone.

A co-ordinated action at Community level will have a stronger effect (e.g. of common rules on liability) leading to economies of scale that can push the markets. Public-private partnership is a key to success.

In road transport, intelligent transport systems can contribute to the main transport policy objectives. The linkages with other modes, e.g. public transport, become increasingly important.

Efficient and comfortable transport

A reduction of congestion through better management of demand and capacity will be of benefit to all road users. New assistance systems and information services for the driver will make driving more comfortable.


  • Dynamic traffic management based on real-time data from roads, vehicles and even mobile phones and the use of simulations improve the strategies to mitigate congestion.
  • The use of navigation systems in the car reduces distances driven to the trip destination and can lead to a more relaxed and thus safer driving.

Safe and secure transport

Although road fatalities are decreasing, still more than 40,000 persons die on EU roads each year. New in-vehicle safety and driver assistance systems intervene before the accident happens. As more than 90% of all accidents are caused by human error this is a needed development.


  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) stabilises the vehicle and prevents skidding. It is estimated to reduce the number of injury accidents by 7-11%. The reduction in the car occupant fatalities is estimated to be 15-20%.
  • eCall automatically calls the emergency services and transmits location data from the accident scene. Thus, the response time of the emergency services is cut drastically, reducing road fatalities by about 5-10 % and resulting in less severe injuries.

Clean and CO2-reduced transport

There are relatively few ITS systems and services that specifically address environmental objectives. But ITS can help to reduce emissions and save energy through a better demand management including the use of road charging and access management. Better multi-modal information and feedback to drivers (eco-driving) are also valuable instruments.


  • With electronic fee collection systems charging road vehicles can be flexible, for example according to vehicle type and emissions category. It is vital for such systems to be interoperable across national borders to avoid creating new obstacles to traffic flow.
  • Multi-modal travel information services provided before and during the journey (including advice on environmental conditions) will assist the traveller to make responsible mode and route choices.