Three leading European C-ITS initiatives supported by the European Commission including ERTICO’s C-MobILE project, held a roundtable discussion together with policy- and decision-makers and professional users on 6 June 2018 to strengthen commitment and to gain momentum toward large-scale deployment in Europe.

Hosted by Bordeaux Métropole, the Roundtable gathered over seventy participants from all over Europe. The event followed up on the City Twinning Workshop held on the previous day in Bordeaux, where deployment strategies for C-ITS and elements of user appreciation were addressed.

Karel van Rooij, CEO of Van den Broek Logistics, emphasized the importance of stop-free travel for trucks when it comes to meeting sustainability objectives. That was the objective of C-the-Difference, one of the hosting projects, which developed a free Android app providing traffic light status information and green light optimal speed advice (GLOSA) for equipped traffic lights in the Bordeaux area and the A63 motorway connecting Bordeaux and Bayonne. The app totals 1200 downloads, showing the potential of smartphone-based C-ITS solutions as an alternative to dedicated on-board units.

Capitalising on the ease of use of smartphone-based C-ITS, Evangelos Mitsakis from CERTH (Greece) explained how his team approached taxis in priority: ‘A taxi equals thirty cars for kilometres travelled per day, so CERTH developed apps for taxi drivers, with features such as road hazard warning. It’s easy to integrate more functions into the apps taxi drivers use, and because they drive a lot, they are a great user group’.

All future plans for C-ITS roll outs must however contend with the key question of investments. ‘In Tilburg is a company with two sites on both ends of the city, so the city regulated how and when they can use the roads in between’ explained Karel van Rooij. But when it comes to the infrastructure needed to accommodate the policy, ‘Who is going to invest first: the user, or the city?’

Pedro Barradas, from the European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, addressed the issue of autonomous vehicle as part of an overview of the Commission’s effort in support of innovation in intelligent transport: ‘Mixed levels of automation and connectivity are going to be there for a long time, so cities should get used to it and make the best of it. Because these vehicles are computers on wheels, traffic authorities will be able to send traffic rules to the cars digitally. Maybe a shift from physical infrastructure investment to digital infrastructure investment is needed.’

Illustrating the ongoing digitalisation of cities, Mads Galm, Program Manager Traffic for the City of Copenhagen, presented the roll out of C-ITS applications in the Danish capital, which include services such as on-demand bike path lighting. Gert Blom, Innovation Manager Mobility at the City of Helmond, also underlined the importance of the digital transition by adding that ‘We now need a new generation of traffic engineers who can not only do infrastructure, traffic lights and so on, but also Intelligent Transport Systems. Where can we get this capacity-building?’

The event was co-organised by urban C-ITS pilots in C-The Difference and C-MobILE projects, together with the C-Roads Platform for national and regional deployment.