ERTICO: Most recently you have participated in the ERTICO Forum “ITS for Urban Mobility” presenting your views on the ITS offerings to solve the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s cities. What was your key message?

Josef A. Czako: The key message of my presentation was that we need to raise the awareness of ITS to a higher political level. Surveys show that four out of five European city dwellers see urban traffic congestion accidents and pollution as serious problems that need to be addressed urgently. What I presented in the Forum was both concrete solutions for what I believe should be called (anti)-congestion charging and a bigger vision of what is required for ITS in general to have a larger outreach then it does today. Speaking about congestion charging or (anti)-congestion charging is a very good example of where I believe we need to be very careful with how we word things. You do not pay for congestion; no you pay a fee to have no congestion. The wider vision I presented is that I believe we need to raise the awareness of the problems ITS can solve. Take mobility for instance mobility the ability to move around the free market in Europe is in danger because we do not have an efficient road network not in cities nor in urban areas. This is not good for the global economy and millions and millions of EUR are wasted every year. A fast deployment of ITS solutions is crucial for momentum. I disagree with any assertion that technologies which can address safety environmental and congestion issues are deployed on a wide enough scale at present. It’s probably due to a lack of understanding by both policy makers and the wider public about the benefits or social-economic advantages and the positive business models associated with ITS. But we should face the challenges and I would suggest three steps for best fit urban strategies: firstly decide the policy. Then define the urban scheme and thirdly choose the technical solution.

ERTICO: You are a member of the ERTICO Steering Committee the Board of Directors of the ITS World Congress and the Chairman of the IRF Policy Committee on ITS. What do you see as the most important strategic challenges to bring ITS effectively to deployment?

Josef A. Czako: I think we need to think differently than we do today. A lot of the applications and services deployed today are quite often stand alone services and they are not brought into the bigger picture. In order to do this we need more political support and for politicians to think differently. We need to show that ITS is one of the solutions to a lot of problems in Europe today. Our cities are getting bigger and today we have more cars on the roads than ever. We cannot continue this growth without smart intelligent solutions and on a European scale we need the support of the European Commission Parliament and Council. ERTICO – ITS Europe the ITS World Congress and IRF are all organisations we need if we want to be successful with the deployment of ITS. They all have different purposes. ERTICO as a Public-Private Partnership where both sides come together to develop solutions needed to achieve the political goals the ITS World Congress is where both policy makers and the general public experience what ITS can do and the IRF is working very hard providing input at the political level. 

ITS is hugely important. If a country or region doesn’t have an ITS policy then there is no will no budget and no tender process which will make deployment happen. We have plenty of technology showcases and these are all very good but in many ways they just exist in a laboratory. We need to be getting these systems out where they can increase safety and convenience and develop successful financing – like tolling or road user charging – where they can help to finance ITS.

As the Chairman of the IRF Policy Committee I would like to refer to the work of this Committee which is setting up a generic benefits calculation model. Take overloaded trucks as an example – they destroy road surfaces. But if a country or state were to install weigh-in-motion on a random basis and at its borders that would go a long way to combating the problems caused by both domestic and transiting heavy goods vehicles. Similarly if you can somehow calculate both the direct and socio-economic costs of a road accident then you can build a case for eCall and dynamic traffic management. For politicians a generic formula which would “prove” the results would be a vote-winner and a money-saver. We don’t have such a thing as yet. We’re not going to deliver a precise formula for each and every ITS application but a generic methodology for analysis quantification and justification for ITS because every project is different and depends on the local framework – implementing ITS Services in India would have to take account of some very different factors than implementing it in the US for instance. Too often the discussion is a technical one not a socio-economic one. We have to work to change that – although we are starting to see change.

ERTICO: The Kapsch Group is providing many ITS solutions and is very successful and growing. What is the “key to success” in the ITS business?

Josef A. Czako: Taking ITS out of the political discussion and making it common currency requires a universal understanding and acceptance of its benefits. ITS is mainly about offering benefits to the user e.g. guaranteeing a certain level of service assuring trip planning reliability and predictable arrival times or enhancing safety to the traveler. Truly both alternative roads and alternative modes of transport are crucial elements to offer choices to the user and make alternatives directly comparable in view of convenience and price.

One of our  key factors is the capability to listen and guide the public authorities so that they get the best solution for the challenge they want to solve. Only through close cooperation and open dialogue can you achieve this. Kapsch is globally recognised as a supplier of superior intelligent transport systems and primarily electronic toll collection systems as we provide an end-to-end solution. We have a solid engineering team that are working with the latest technologies in order to tailor the different systems to the specific needs of the public authority in question.

ERTICO: The ITS Directive provides important support and direction for the deployment of ITS. How can the private sector help to achieve the goals of the Directive?

Josef A. Czako:
We are now at a most important point for the deployment of ITS. On the one side technologies are well advanced and ready for market whilst on the other legislation in the form of the ITS Directive should provide the necessary impetus for their deployment. However there is still a lot of work to be done. Kapsch welcomes this European initiative as the Directive’s goal of deploying ITS corresponds with the Kapsch’ own mission to encourage and promote the development and maintenance of better safer and more sustainable road networks.

The ITS Directive provides for the first time a policy framework for the deployment of ITS. It “forces” the EU Member States to think ITS when trying to solve the challenges they have today in terms of safety the environment and mobility. For the ITS Directive to really be a success the industry needs to support public authorities on all levels nationally regionally and locally. Today not all politicians understand or even know what ITS is or more importantly which challenges you can solve with ITS. This understanding can only come from working together in partnerships. Here a platform such as ERTICO – ITS Europe is vitally important. Here private and public stakeholder can discuss different issues and together find the best solution to solve the mobility challenges of tomorrow. The cooperation on macro regional level helps to achieve the goals of the Directive for instance projects as EETS or Easyway in which both private and public are involved into to achieve mutual benefits.


About Kapsch TrafficCom
Kapsch TrafficCom is an international supplier of superior intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and primarily supplies electronic toll collection systems. With its end-to-end solution portfolio Kapsch TrafficCom covers the entire value creation chain of its customers from products and systems to integration and operations as a one-stop shop. It also offers solutions for urban traffic management as well as for traffic safety and security. Add-on applications to these solutions such as traffic data collection complement the offering.
With references in 41 countries on all 5 continents Kapsch TrafficCom has positioned itself among the internationally recognised suppliers of intelligent transport systems. Kapsch TrafficCom AG is headquartered in Vienna Austria and has subsidiaries and representative offices in 25 countries.

For more information visit Kapsch website.

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Original Publication Date: Fri 16 Dec 2011