The ITS Observatory project has several value lessons to learn from the European ITS Toolkit. This article describes the barriers identified within the 2DECIDE project to create and maintain a one-stop-shop to ITS related content.

Since November 2011 the European ITS Toolkit ( is live. It is the result of the work delivered by the 2DECIDE project which was funded by the EC under the 7th Framework Programme. The ITS-Toolkit provides a one-stop-shop to ITS evaluation results from a decision maker’s perspective including benefits-costs information on different ITS systems and services. The information available in the ITS Toolkit does not necessarily reflect the latest available information. This has several reasons.

The first reason is related to the availability of quality evaluation reports. Although there are a substantial number of evaluation reports available across Europe, there is a considerable variety in the quality of these reports. Excellent reports often have copyright issues as they are published in journals and other media with specific IPR issues.

A second reason refers to the evaluation methodology and the KPIs used. 2DECIDE identified that more than 250 different KPIs are commonly used to evaluate ITS solutions. This complicates the interpretation and combination of evaluation results. The ITS Observatory’s KPI’s are based on the KPI study conducted by the European Commission. But harmonisation of KPIs is not enough. Aside harmonised KPIs methodological consistency is necessary to ensure the comparability and transferability of know-how for decision making.

Another important issue is the creditability of the input. In an area of positive news only, content providers are telling success stories with little room for wrong decisions or failures. In reality decision makers learn most from other decisions that require improvements. A content platform that supports decision making must ensure reliable information and not only promotional material. A proper quality control needs to be put in place to guarantee credible, reliable and quality information.

The ITS Toolkit is currently used, especially by researchers. To ensure the long term viability of a platform, clear incentives for data owners are required to ensure user generated content. Moreover toolkits need continuous maintenance including a financial framework. This maintenance can only be ensured by a neutral non-industry driven maintenance body.

The ITS Observatory has taken all of the above points into consideration when developing its architecture and design. The above lessons learned will also be valuable with regard to the ITS Observatory’s future business model.

Martin Böhm
Coordinator of 2DECIDE