David O’Keeffe: Formed in the latter part of 2010 ITS Ireland is an independent non-profit organisation with a broad base of membership drawn from the public academic and private sectors.
We have a number of primary objectives including:
- Raise the awareness and profile of ITS in Ireland and to promote an understanding of ITS issues and benefits.
- Advise Government on policy matters associated with ITS implementation.
- Advise and assist in the development of technical standards.
- Encourage participation and liaison with relevant stakeholders from European countries and internationally so as to increase knowledge skills and ideas.
- Increase networking opportunities both nationally and internationally.
- Promote research and educational activities.
David O’Keeffe Chairman of ITS Ireland
ERTICO: What has ITS Ireland achieved to date?
David O’Keeffe: I feel that ITS Ireland has made substantial progress in our relative short existence. Our Executive Board and relevant members are working on a number of fronts to maximise membership benefits while also assisting government in the formulation of policy and strategy and the developing of standards. We have held or are currently organising a number of events to increase the profile and awareness of ITS in Ireland. Our significant achievements include:
- Submitting a proposal to host the ERTICO ITS European Congress. This was a substantial effort requiring the garnishing of political support and extensive stakeholder collaboration. Hosting a conference of this magnitude would provide a significant driver for the development and deployment of ITS products and services in Ireland.
- Launching ITS Ireland was an outstanding achievement in this economic climate and a testament to many hours of hard work by all the founding members who volunteered their valuable time. We now have over 22 Corporate Members 13 Government/Non-Profit Members and 12 Individual Members and our membership base is continually growing.
- Organising the 2010 conference and exhibition in Cork which was attended by over 150 delegates and deemed an outstanding success. We were fortunate to have Ministerial and European Commission speakers at the conference in addition to a number of high profile industry speakers. We are already busily preparing for our 2011 conference which will be held in Galway on 7 October.
- Arranging quarterly technical seminars which are free for members to attend. Our first seminar is scheduled for February 2011 and we feel this is an essential strategy to increasing the general awareness and profile of ITS in Ireland.
- Representation on a number of policy and working groups such as eSafety representation on a government task force examining the implementation of EETS and an ITS Working Group taking forward the national obligations arising under the EU Directive. All of these activities are a testament to our firm commitment to become actively involved in the development of policy and strategy.
ERTICO: What are your ambitions for ITS Ireland?
David O’Keeffe: I have a number of ambitions but the primary ambition is that ITS Ireland would become a leading and respected organisation in fostering the development and deployment of ITS in Ireland. In accomplishing this it is critical that our members actively engage influence and participate in ITS related policy and projects at a National and European level and to that end I envisage that ITS Ireland will develop and issue a number of policy papers in the near future. Acceptance that ITS has a major role to play in managing and operating the transportation sector has been somewhat measured compared to other EU member states and while we have several leading examples of ITS deployments there are numerous other ITS services for which there is little doubt that the appetite and market exists in Ireland. Lastly I feel that Ireland can be an ideal test-bed for piloting innovative ITS technologies and given our broad public/private membership base ITS Ireland is in the ideal position to foster and develop such opportunities.
ERTICO: What are the key ITS deployments in Ireland that may be of interest in a European context?
David O’Keeffe: There are a number of ITS deployments in Ireland that would be of significant interest in a European context and I’ll just focus on highlighting two of the more high profile initiatives.
The M50 motorway is a ring road around Dublin and recently became the first European motorway to introduce Multi-Lane Free Flow (MLFF) tolling for all vehicle classes. The barrier-free tolling system applies 5.8 GHz CEN Standard DSRC and video tolling as payment methods. The new system provides economic environmental and safety benefits and provides a platform for future Network Demand Management. This system is being closely monitored by other EU countries who are contemplating the move to MLFF.
The Irish Government has set an ambitious target for 10% of Ireland’s vehicles to be electric by 2020. To achieve this target the Irish Government ESB (Ireland’s largest electricity utility) and various other motor manufacturers including the Renault- Nissan Alliance have initiated a comprehensive partnership to position Ireland as a World leader in electric transport. This project involves the development of a nationwide electric car charging infrastructure by ESB the supply of electric cars by the Renault-Nissan Alliance from 2011 as well as Government policies and incentives that will support the widespread adoption of such vehicles. The ESB are currently in the process of rolling out 3500 charge points nationwide by December 2011. The planned rollout includes 1500 Public Charger points2000 Home Charger points and in excess of 30 DC Fast Charger points. There will be at least one charging point for every town which has a population > 1500. Also of interest is the fact that there are ongoing discussions with Northern Ireland for an All-Island Integrated Rollout of electric vehicle charging points. The intention is to reach agreement on the standardization of Charging Points and cross-border roaming systems/currencies thereby leading to “Electric Highways” linking Cork Dublin Belfast & other cities. ITS has a major role to play in terms of supplying a number of systems to support the charging point infrastructure including communications metering/billing and infrastructure hardware.
ERTICO: How can ERTICO best support ITS Ireland?
David O’Keeffe: I feel ERTICO can provide support to ITS Ireland in a number of ways. Firstly being a new organisation we are keen to forge relationships at an international level and Ertico can greatly assist ITS Ireland in developing and forging relationships with ITS professionals from other member states. To this end we have applied for membership to the ERTICO’s Network of ITS National Associations and we look forward to an active and meaningful participation.
Additionally ERTICO can assist ITS Ireland in promoting the profile of ITS in Ireland. One of the difficult aspects with deploying ITS is stating the business case and quantifying the anticipated benefits. Providing the forum for discussion and sharing of information with other like-minded associations can effectively assist with our efforts with increasing the general awareness of ITS in Ireland.
Lastly providing forums such as this interview enhances our reputation and for that we are grateful to ERTICO.
Link to original Article
Original Publication Date: Wed 15 Dec 2010