ERTICO: What are some of the main goals and priority areas identified by ITS Nationals in supporting the ITS industry at a local and international level?
Rumen Mihaylov: Speaking from the point of view of ITS Bulgaria one important priority is to support and coordinate local players such as industry public authorities service providers and research institutions and build expertise in different ITS projects. Immediate priorities are projects in the field of road safety and security real time traffic data information and reservation systems for truck and heavy vehicle parking and others.
During the last meeting of ITS Nationals at the ERTICO offices the difference between more advanced countries in ITS terms such as Sweden Norway Germany the United Kingdom France and others and the so-called “new comers” such as Bulgaria was clearly identified. Their main priorities consisted of participating in real tests applications and R&D projects as V2V V2I and I2I.
Photo: Rumen Mihaylov Chair of ITS Bulgaria
ERTICO: In your view what are some of the main benefits anticipated by ITS Bulgaria in joining the Network of ITS Associations and how will this new membership affect the quality and availability of services within Bulgaria?
Rumen Mihaylov: The current development of ITS projects in Bulgaria can best be explained by stating a few facts. It was rather unfortunate that Bulgaria was one of the last EU member states to have an active membership directly with ERTICO or via the Network of ITS Associations. Presently Bulgaria is the only EU member country which has not yet built national or regional control centres for road infrastructure maintenance.
In recent years Bulgaria implemented only a few ITS projects such as municipality control centres in the cities of Sofia and Varna and some minor ITS projects in certain public transport and taxi companies. Until recently there has not been sufficient coordination or communication between the Bulgarian public authorities and other stakeholders responsible for the development and implementation of ITS. Such factors and lack of projects were probably the reason why the NGO sector was not very active in the ITS field.
Bulgaria’s current government considers the building of new highways and road infrastructure rehabilitation as top priorities. In its strategic plan up to 5 billion EUR are to be invested in 2011-2020 in road infrastructure alone. The plan is to fully complete the Bulgarian highway network including EU corridors and additional 4 lane “speed roads.”
In that context ITS Bulgaria can only benefit from the experience and know-how of ERTICO Partners and other members of the Network of ITS Associations. Our main goal is to become Bulgaria’s leading expert organisation stimulating collaboration with other international ITS organisations for the exchange of best European and international practice and real implementation of ITS solutions.
We do anticipate that Bulgaria has the potential to develop top class ITS projects based on:
- The Bulgarian IT sector which is well developed and staffed with some of the top experts available
- Major investments in infrastructure that are planned for the current decade; we can learn from other countries how to invest wisely in new modern efficiently designed and implemented national ITS projects
- Government has political will to design and execute all new highway projects at top quality level. Actions which are necessary for finance to be secured are being taken.
Members of ITS Bulgaria will participate actively with international partners where applicable during the design and realisation of the first major national ITS projects such as those concerning law enforcement e-toll systems and many others. The participation of local members will definitely improve efficiency quality and availability of ITS services in Bulgaria.
Photo: Mr Mihaylov Chairman of ITS Bulgaria takes part at the regular meetings of State-Public Consultative Commission on the Problems of Road Safety led by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Mr Tsvetanov. ITS Bulgaria supports the recent decision of the Bulgarian government to establish a special “road safety fund” in order to finance safety and ITS related projects.
ERTICO: How can ITS Bulgaria best contribute to the priority areas identified in the context of the ITS Directive and what actions are currently being undertaken in Bulgaria in support of for instance the harmonised provision of an interoperable EU-wide eCall?
Rumen Mihaylov: Road safety has become a top priority in the last two – three years with the new Bulgarian government showing strong political will for improvements. One of the first goals of ITS Bulgaria was to support the realisation of intelligent and advanced solutions for a law-enforced speed control system as an effective method to enhance traffic safety and save human lives.
Our main goal is to support our government in re-designing and specifying all new highway projects in such a way that road safety tools and equipment security monitoring and control variable massage signs and many other ITS applications are deployed in one go. This approach will save money and in the same way will fully correlate and correspond with one of the main ITS Directive priorities – road safety and security.
Photo: ITS Bulgaria participates in 3rd National conference in Sofia “Fleet management and electro vehicles”
Regarding the harmonised provision of an interoperable EU-wide eCall there are no specific actions taken yet in Bulgaria. However as a relatively new EU member Bulgaria has invested recently in a fully operational national 112 call centre. ITS Bulgaria communicates regularly with the Ministry of Transport and believes that once the EU-wide eCall project is ready to move forward and to define vehicle specification units Bulgaria will be ready to act on time.
Photo: At the regional conference at the Hilton Sofia Mr Mihaylov delivers a lecture on: “ITS – an important factor to reduce road victims during the current decade of 2011-2020”.
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Original Publication Date: Fri 24 Jun 2011