Jacob Bangsgaard Director General FIA Region I


1.    What are the current key focus areas of FIA?

As the governing body of motorsport the FIA is now preparing for the 2013 racing season which has already got underway with the Rallye Monte-Carlo taking place in mid-January. On the mobility side the FIA is working hard to promote its Action for Road Safety campaign which has been set up to assist the UN in reaching the goal of saving 5 million lives on the world’s roads in 10 years. 

Here in Brussels the FIA Region I office is a consumer body bringing together 106 Motoring and Touring Clubs and their 36 million members from across Europe the Middle East and Africa. We represent the interests of these members as motorists public transport users pedestrians and tourists. Our primary goal is to secure a mobility that is safe affordable sustainable and efficient. Of course priorities in the Middle East and Africa can be different to those in Europe but the reason the FIA has set up a regional structure is to encourage the exchange of best practices between our Clubs.

At the European level these goals require political and financial support for the development of appropriate infrastructure technologies and legal frameworks. FIA Clubs boast a wealth of experience and knowledge in the mobility area and as such are well placed to offer the political technical and practical expertise required from a consumer perspective. 

2.    Could you explain the advantages that FIA sees for your members in the use of ITS in the future?

Developing the future mobility of our cities in a sustainable manner is one of our members’ top priorities. It is clear that more needs to be done to improve the safety and environment of urban areas. And personally if you ask me I would like to live in a safe and clean city. Last year our 76 European Clubs showed their commitment to this goal by signing a joint declaration calling for more coordinated actions at the European level to deploy ITS as a means of connecting people infrastructure and services.

Our Clubs recognise that integrated mobility solutions can provide people with choice flexibility and seamless connectivity. At the same time the deployment of ITS can also dramatically improve urban safety for example through the use of local danger warnings and collision avoidance systems. This is of real importance to our Clubs and their members.

Important for consumer uptake of ITS is education. FIA Clubs are committed to informing motorists on available ITS options including through demonstrations studies and courses. They are also engaged in the benchmarking activities to identify users’ acceptance of ITS for urban mobility.

The main discussion now is on how sustainable urban mobility can be achieved and how the different modes of transport can work together to provide the best mobility solutions for citizens. I do not believe that a sustainable solution would be found through access restrictions and charging as this would only make everyone’s life more complicated in the city when commuting. We need to focus on developing intelligent solutions taking into account individual mobility needs in a sustainable way.

3.    Can you tell us more about the iMobility Challenge initiative and what you are trying to demonstrate with it?

iMobility Challenge is the successor to the eSafety Challenge project which focused on the promotion of new eSafety ITS systems. The iMobility Challenge on the other hand will be primarily focus on ITS for efficient mobility. But the overall goal will be to demonstrate to the public the benefits of clean efficient and safe mobility solutions made possible by ITS.

Intelligent vehicle systems for energy efficiency such as gear shift indicators tire pressure monitoring systems or start-stop systems are increasingly available but cooperative systems and connected cars are also just around the corner. Such systems will completely transform the way vehicles interact with their surroundings so we want consumers to understand the potential benefits to them and embrace such innovations. By utilising the FIA’s network of celebrity motorsport drivers and by hosting large-scale demonstration events which also give the public the opportunity to test drive new systems we hope to bring innovations closer to the consumer.

The FIA is leading the coordination of the project which has a budget of €1.5m running over two years working with partners ACEA CLEPA ERTICO and VTT. Studies documenting the socioeconomic impact and benefits of ITS systems are also included in the project’s remit. Our first event took place before the annual FIA prize giving ceremony in December of last year in Istanbul where the winners of this year’s GT1 WEC WRC and WTCC competitions took part in an informal ecodriving race in which GT champions Marc Basseng and Marcus Winkelhock proved to be the most efficient drivers. It was great fun to get the fastest FIA champions competing for a whole new way of driving compared to how they usually drive during races. We have a number of events planned for 2013 across Europe. We plan to be at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig and the European ITS Congress in Dublin.

4.    FIA Region I represents the interests of European automotive member clubs with the European Union institutions. What policy or political issues do you think should be addressed or supported in terms of road safety consumer protection environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable motoring?

At the European level we are generally supportive of the direction the European Commission is taking to promote mobility in a sustainable manner for all. One of the big discussions at the moment in Parliament and Council is on proposed tighter limits for CO2 emissions for cars and vans. Although we have expressed our concern about the accuracy of the current testing procedure we are supportive of the new targets as a means of both saving money for consumers in terms of fuel costs and also of improving the environment. We are therefore closely monitoring the decision making process to ensure that the 95 g target is not excessively weakened with flexibilities and brings about the expected benefits to the majority of consumers.  

One of our key issues of concern is ensuring the mandatory introduction of the eCall system by 2015 on the basis of an open platform and open competition between different service providers. The European Parliament adopted a report last year supporting the implementation of eCall in such terms and it’s now the European Commission’s turn to introduce legislation which will ensure that the emergency service infrastructure of Member States is ready for 2015. An eCall in-vehicle system which is accessible free of charge and without discrimination to all stakeholders – providers of car aftermarket products and services equipment suppliers repair shops and independent service providers roadside assistance and related services – will save thousands of lives while also bringing a range of new telematics services to consumers.

Other issues which we will be following closely in the coming months include the proposals put forward in the roadworthiness package an expected new proposal on air passenger rights and the right of road patrols to get standardised access to repair and maintenance information in the future – an ongoing issue which is of real importance to our Clubs and their members. 

About FIA Region I

Founded in 1904 the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) brings together leading national motoring organisations from 132 countries worldwide and is the governing body for world motor sport.

The FIA Region I office based in Brussels is a consumer body representing 106 Motoring and Touring Clubs and their 36 million members from across Europe the Middle East and Africa. The office aims to provide strong representation of European Member Club interests towards the European Union institutions; to build up links and support the exchange of best practices across the region; and to engage in new campaign activities such as the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign.

Key priorities for FIA Region I

> Mobility: Supporting efficient and affordable mobility for all.
> Safety: Promoting 5-star drivers in 5-star cars on 5-star roads.
> Environment: Offering intelligent mobility solutions for sustainable transport.
> Consumer Protection: Defending consumers’ interests.
> Tourism: Ensuring sustainable tourism and protecting passengers’ rights.

For more information about FIA please visit www.fiaregion1.com 


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Original Publication Date: Mon 21 Jan 2013