The European Commission has announced the adoption of new rules for Real-Time Traffic Information claimed to provide road users across the EU with more accurate, accessible and up-to-date traffic information.

The new rules require adoption of the DATEX II format or “any machine-readable format fully compatible and interoperable with DATEX II for such data as information about expected delays, estimated travel times, information about accidents, road works and road closures, warnings about weather conditions and any other relevant information”. Such information can be delivered to drivers through multiple channels, including variable message signs, radio traffic message channels, smartphones, and navigation devices.

The Commission claimed a market exists for Real-Time Traffic Information services, and the objective of the new rules is to make existing information services available to more users, facilitate the sharing of digital data, and foster the availability of more and accurate data.

Under the Commission Delegated Regulation of 18.12.2014 supplementing Directive 2010/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the provision of EU-wide real-time traffic information services, road authorities and road operators shall provide the dynamic road status data they collect and update pursuant to Article 9 in DATEX II (CEN/TS 16157 and subsequently upgraded versions) format or any machine-readable format fully compatible and interoperable with DATEX II.

Objectives of the specifications

The Commission’s objectives for its specifications for Real-time Travel Information are to:

  • Make existing Real-Time Traffic Information services available to more users by increasing EU-wide interoperability and continuity of data and services (in combination with travel information services);
  • Increase the existence of (digital) data and its sharing, to decrease data fragmentation and make data more accessible and improve data quality;
  • Facilitate the availability of more and accurate data to enable better management of road infrastructure and traffic flows.

To improve the interoperability of the data, the specifications require that road status and traffic data are made accessible via national access points in a standardised format (DATEX II). The specifications also establish rules on data updates including timeliness of these updates.

The commission said the draft specifications have gone through extensive consultations with the experts nominated by the Member States and other public and private stakeholders.

The Commission consulted on proposed options for provision of a EU-wide real-time traffic information services under Directive 2010/40/EU (known as the “ITS Directive”) from December 2013 to March 2014.

The results of which fed in into a cost-benefit analysis for a proposal of the Commission for specifications under Directive.