“The art of reaching consensus is currently the greatest risk of further successful development of the field of ITS. Therefore the national and international networks of key players in the field, the transport telematics associations, are more and more important” wrote Roman Srp on behalf of ITS Nationals in the final publication of SEE-ITS project.

The final SEE-ITS event was held in Thessaloniki, Greece, in September 2014. The whole remark of ITS Nationals chairman under title “”ITS: the past or our future?” can be found below:

Field of Intelligent Transport Systems got through the first 20 years of existence under its own unique name ITS alias transport telematics, depending on from which part of the developed world you come from. Therefore it is possible to balance, evaluate and propose further directions of the development in this field. By the way – recently I have heard from one regional policy maker that: “ITS has no more perspective, the future are the Smart Cities, that is obvious!” So what is the current situation? Do we stand at the dawn or the dusk of the transport telematics?

In the Czech Republic during nineties of last century, when the colleagues – visionaries – came back from foreign meetings and talked about the telematics and ITS as a wholly new field, a heated discussion emerged. Why to talk about the wholly new field? After all, it is only the electronic industry, IT and telecommunications applied in transportation. Even I was a bit sceptical of ITS phenomenon. However, rather quickly we understood the fact that specificity of this field does not lie in the use of unique technologies, but in how to properly apply information technology and telecommunications in the transportation.

The transport, transport infrastructure, vehicles and services represent a very complex, large-scale and geographically distributed system that most of all reminds human society with all its good and bad qualities. Moreover, it is a critical government infrastructure, which construction and operation is co-financed in the all-society interest. Hence the most important character in which ITS differs from the related field of ICT is the deep understanding of the specific needs of transportation in a broad sense.

Development of ITS systems in European regions has been for a long time based on the natural “down-top” innovation and it led into the creation of hundreds of perfectly functional systems, which – in the territory for which they were designed – perfectly fulfil their function based on corporate or regional specifications. Along with the creation of a single European area – coincidentally the European Union is almost the same age as transport telematics – the new requirements for ITS were established. Their carriers are European and national strategic documents, directives such as well-known 40/2010 /EU, specifications and technical international standards ISO and CEN. The primary aim is to ensure the interoperability of data, data structures, ITS systems and services across the European area. It seems that interoperable telematics can in the future satisfy the requirements of the European economy better than isolated solutions, and moreover such approach allows taking responsibility for driving.

Building the intelligent and interoperable transport systems, unlike the proprietary solutions, however requires a highly skilled public sector, it cannot dispense with the consent of key industry players – competitors on the market – and it needs the ability to seek consensus. The art of reaching consensus is currently the greatest risk of further successful development of the field of ITS. Therefore the national and international networks of key players in the field, the transport telematics association, are more and more important. Cooperation of key players on the basis of these non-profit industry initiatives, and promotion of their activities to the international level will be, in addition to the application of the European regulatory framework, a key tool for the further development of interoperable ITS in Europe.

Successful completion of the implementation process of interoperable telematics solutions will enable to the field of ITS successful enforcement even in areas known under the new and attractive concept of Smart Cities. From my point of view, the Smart Cities represent transport telematics applied to micro-dimension of cities, extended to other municipal sectors i.e. energy, urban planning, building and governance. In the beginning I put a rhetorical question whether in 2014 we stand at the dawn or the dusk of ITS? Personally, I believe that we are at the very end of one stage of the ITS evolution and, on the other hand, in the beginning of the new era. How exactly will the new era of ITS look like and when does it come, is an open issue, and it will depend on our next steps as well.

Roman Srp

ITS Nationals, Chairman