In this interview, Dr Johanna Tzanidaki, ERTICO’s Director of Innovation & Deployment, talks about safety and how ERTICO plans on addressing one of the most pressing issues in the smart mobility sector.

Safety in mobility is a priority for all stakeholders – public and private – as both benefit from it. Nonetheless, the number of human lives lost on European roads is still much too far from the dramatic reduction we all aim for.

The European Commission, with its Vision Zero, has set its targets towards zero deaths on European roads by 2050, and in this framework, ERTICO – ITS Europe plays an important role when it comes to collaboration between public and private sectors to achieve such result. Created by the European Commission and other visionary partners in the early 1990s, ERTICO today brings together over 100 ITS stakeholders to make mobility safer, smarter and more efficient.

ERTICO was in fact one of the driving forces behind a major milestone for safer mobility: eCall. ERTICO’s involvement in the development of a pan-European in-vehicle emergency call service based on 112 started first with a series of projects supported by the European Commission and led by ERTICO itself. These pre-deployment projects were complemented by many initiatives, which brought eCall to the policy level and finally to be mandatory in all new vehicles.

Developments in technology are of great help in supporting our work in mobility innovation, towards achieving the European Commission’s 2050 target. However, ambitious targets and technologies are not enough, as identifying what makes mobility safe in a constantly evolving mobility landscape is not a task without challenges.

At ERTICO, we take a more holistic approach to mobility

The ERTICO Partnership is paving the way towards efficient traffic operations (including freight) through the use of innovative concepts, applications and devices supported by disruptive 5G technologies, including IoT, data analytics, and next-generation traffic management. In parallel, we are discussing how traffic and the wider multimodal mobility network management (MNM) can be based on better-coordinated governance schemes, where actors involved work together for the common goals. This is the work of the ERTICO Innovation Platform TM 2.0 aiming at safe and flowing traffic on the road.

This is also why we are looking at external activities such as the SAFE-UP project which is contributing to this holistic approach, and for which we are proud to be a part of its Advisory Board. ERTICO shares the project’s ambition to proactively protect people inside and outside of the vehicle.

Improving road safety is not a simple question of technology. It is about governance, infrastructure and, most importantly, people. This means ensuring that all stakeholders are engaged in the process. Issues such as safety and liability or safety and business models are important. Equally important is the topic of data sharing and safety.

As SAFE-UP works on safety in and out of the car, ERTICO’s work within the C-MobILE European project and its C-ITS safety applications becomes better integrated and serves as a basis for alignment between the ERTICO Partnership and SAFE-UP’s work. Examples of such C-TS safety applications include road works warning, road hazard warning, signal violation warning and, among other services, the one warning about pedestrians crossing the road.

Still to be tackled is how we can ensure the safety of the infrastructure and interaction of various mobility modes within the road network: bicycles, scooters, mopeds. Safety also lies in the surrounding or hosting infrastructure, and approaching mobility as a system consisting of technology and governance parts that need to function in harmony is key, when we wish to accomplish a Vision Zero.

Article first published for the SAFE-UP project.