In this new interview series for the European project C-MobILE, we talk technology, the development of an App with a focus on users and the importance of standards with Danny Vroemen and Guillaume Giraud, from ERTICO Partner Technolution.
Technolution has been working closely with the city of Copenhagen to develop an App that specifically targets cyclists. What were the main challenges and the most important aspects (technological and societal) to consider when developing this App?
The app advises cyclists and drivers about the optimal speed at green lights (GLOSA or Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory), and it warns them of roadworks and road hazards, such as slippery roads due to low temperatures. With this app, Technolution moved from a solution with on-board units, which was only feasible for cars, to a mobile solution using 4G. This transition was one of the main technological challenges, along with the question of how to provide feedback to cyclists (with audio signals).
While Denmark is a real cycling nation, the focus on cyclists is relatively new when considered from an ITS point of view. Therefore, once the app is launched to the larger public, research will be required to analyse the results thoroughly. In order to do that, close cooperation with the city of Copenhagen is necessary to keep users involved and interested in using it. The city of Copenhagen works with a city panel, which can really help in trying out new ideas and gathering useful feedback from cyclists and drivers.
How important is public-private cooperation with the city in order to improve traffic safety, traffic management and mobility in general?
C-MobILE is a great project for developing public-private services as it provides a platform for all parties to meet each other and stimulate new ideas. However, once you have the first results, the biggest challenge is to keep the momentum going. Where do you go from here? What are the long-term mobility goals of the city? Public and private parties need to be prepared to provide the right data, and to exchange information and ideas. That is the only way to get useful results that have a lasting effect within the city.
In your opinion, what is the most exciting and innovative aspect of C-MobILE?
For us, it is the sheer scale of it that we find very stimulating. C-MobILE really targets large-scale deployment of the solutions, as well as interoperability between the various European partners. The software components that we have developed for the city of Copenhagen, need to be able to do their job in other European cities as well. This means that apps, servers and data providers will have to connect and function in completely different environments. When it comes to developing ITS solutions, this is a unique approach.
What do you hope to achieve with C-MobILE for your business? How and in which way are European projects important to reach these objectives?
We believe that C-MobILE greatly reinforces the trend towards international development of traffic management solutions. C-MobILE is all about interoperable cooperative technology. Traffic management needs to benefit individual traffic participants, while delivering what is necessary for society as a whole. Participating in C-MobILE enables us to learn and see how our solutions perform in different technological and societal environments across Europe.
One thing we have learned is that while there is a definite need for common international standards, you need more than that for effective interoperability across locations and countries. You also need agreement on how to use them. Not all data elements are used in all locations. Therefore, in addition to standards, we think that we should create profiles that describe the use of those standards. For instance, if someone in a country wants to describe the topology of an intersection, they should be able to check a profile to know which data fields they should use. In this way, developers in other countries who want to contribute can also read and understand this description.
Danny Vroemen is a Senior Business Developer at Technolution. He engages in the development of new services and products in the field of Mobility. He has been involved in projects ranging from the development of PPP models for traffic control centres as the impact of Drones on Urban Mobility.
Guillaume Giraud is a Senior Architect at Technolution where he has been working for many years. From electronic payments, to large-scale energy metering systems, and now traffic management and intelligent transport systems, Guillaume is experienced and knowledgeable in all system development stages, from customer requirement analysis to evaluation and deployment.