ITS Observatory Session @ ITS World Congress 2016
Special Interest Session “Ensuring the long term viability of ITS decision-support tools”
12 October 2016

The ITS Observatory Special Interest Session organised during the ITS World Congress in Melbourne focused on the crucial aspects of ensuring the long term viability of database platforms and encouraging the continuous update of the information. Experts from the three Regions – Europe, America and Asia-Pacific were invited to discuss differences and synergies between platforms for cooperation and decision-support tools across the World by showing examples of existing initiatives, looking at success factors, obstacles and challenges, and will aim to define guidelines for creating efficient and sustainable knowledge resources.

Mr Richard Harris, XEROX, presented the background and the current status of the ITS Observatory project.

Mr Martin Boehm, AustriaTech, highlighted that decision makers need a trustworthy source of knowledge offering procurement rules and an open transparent equal treatment, free of discrimination. In that sense the Observatory will offer easily accessible and trusted source of impartial reliable information. It is also crucial to propose information provision and not product promotion.

Mr Phil Blythe, University of Newcastle, focused on the users profile and requirements. He put forward that the ITS Observatory will be an open platform that could be used by industry, public authorities, research and EU organisations, media and journalists.

Mr Tom Kern, National Operations, presented a similar to the ITS Observatory tool – a knowledge centre for technical services developed by National operations Centre of Excellence (NOCeO).  He advised to be careful about what kind of content goes into the platform and highlighted the importance of the interactive character of the tool in order to ensure its usability. Peer exchanges, webinars, workshops and annual summits will contribute to strengthen the community around the tool.

With relation to the business model Mr Kern informed that the New South West Government is currently developing a research hub knowledge platform. It is estimated that it will cost around 2-3 million a year to run all the evaluation aspects.

Mr Steve Kanowski, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Australia, highlighted the need of a tool such as the ITS Observatory in Queensland. He stressed the lack of sharing information between various states in Australia and that there is a need of a similar tool to be developed there. He also expressed his strong interest towards the ITS Observatory project.

Mrs Kate Hartman, US DOT, presented the USDOT knowledge data base for ITS benefits, costs and lessons learnt. She reported that there are currently more than 75,000 assets in the data base. It was highlighted that engaging users and stakeholders is the main key to success.

The conclusions from the sessions can be summarized as follows:

  • USA is operating its own results and information database, funded by the Federal Government
  • Australian states have difficulties sharing information with each other. They welcome the ITS Observatory and see themselves as contributors and users of it if the Observatory takes a wider dimension one day.
  • ITS Observatory is a good tool of promoting European solutions to the rest of the world and boosting European ITS industry.
  • Future sponsorship and potential ownership of the ITS Observatory by the European Commission is considered a logical step as this badges the material as impartial and would benefit Europe and the rest of the world. Alternatively the ownership should be ensured by a neutral organisation working for the interest of the entire ITS Community.

The presentations from the session are available below:


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