The European Commission has adopted new rules which will help provide road users across the EU with more accurate, accessible and up-to-date traffic information related to their journeys (Real-Time Traffic Information). This can include 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: variable message signs, radio traffic message channels, smartphones, navigation devices, etc. A functioning market already exists for Real-Time Traffic Information services, which is why the objective of the new rules adopted today, 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.
What are Real-Time Traffic Information Services
Real-time traffic information services aim to provide road users with accurate and up-to-date information related to their journeys. This can include information about the road network, traffic regulations (such as speed limits and access restrictions), officially recommended alternative routes, expected delays and estimated travel times, information about accidents, road works and road closures, warnings about weather conditions and any other relevant information (e.g. information about road tolls and availability and cost of parking places at the destination).
Real-Time Traffic Information can be delivered to drivers through various channels, such as variable message signs, variable speed limits, radio traffic message channels, smartphones, navigation devices, etc.
Objectives of the Commission action
A functioning market already exists for the delivery of Real-Time Traffic Information services to end users. Therefore, the objectives of the Commission action (specifications) 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.
Delegated Regulation (specifications)
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. The specifications also establish rules on data updates including timeliness of these updates.
The draft specifications have gone through extensive consultations with the experts nominated by the Member States and other public and private stakeholders.
The specifications will apply to the comprehensive Trans-European road network and motorways not included in this network as well as to “priority zones” (especially interurban/urban busy roads) when national authorities voluntarily identify such zones. The specifications do not make the deployment of Real-Time Traffic Information services obligatory. However, when these services are already deployed in a Member State or will be deployed after the date of application of the delegated regulation, the specifications will have to be followed.
The key enabler to the provision of accurate, reliable and content rich Real-Time Traffic Information services is to improve accessibility and interoperability of existing and up-to-date data across the EU. Therefore, the specifications foresee that each Member State sets up a national access point (single window) for the exchange of data.
Now that the specifications have been adopted, they will be transmitted to the Council and the European Parliament for their right of scrutiny. The Delegated Regulation will apply from 24 months after its entry into force.
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