The final session on urban mobility was opened by Dean Herenda from the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning. Mr Herenda explained that the session was to focus on urban mobility success stories first taking the cities of London and Bordeaux as examples and discussion initiators before moving on to the perspective of industry representatives.

The first speaker was John McCarthy Director Traffic Operations Transport for London (TfL). After giving an overview of the situation in London Mr McCarthy described a cooperative network as one where all nodes such as vehicles infrastructure and people are connected in real time and warned “we are only as good as the data available“. At this point Mr McCarthy differentiated data from information which is personalised accessible and useful. Mr McCarthy went on to extol the virtues of a cooperative network which would reduce costs and improve journey timetable reliability.

Mr McCarthy said that “we have a vision and we must turn that vision into reality“. He then went through some considerations:

  • returning to the subject of data Mr McCarthy specified that it must be “reliable resilient real-time infrastructure independent interoperable with an open standard – the key question are: can it cope with a deluge of data who owns/pays and can I have it now?”
  • regarding technology Mr McCarthy asked who the owner is whether it is off the shelf who owns it what stops us having it today/tomorrow if there is there a minimum spec and finally what must TfL do to get it
  • considering communications Mr McCarthy identified as important what is available the link between communications and infrastructure reliant channel bandwidth and the different needs of V2I V2V and P2P.
  • in regards to applications Mr McCarthy asked what they will it look like how they will it be used who will adopt them and when we can use them?
  • finally for architecture Mr McCarthy underlined that it should be based on lessons drawn from each user’s perspective and needs

The next speaker was Jean-Marc Rouffet representing the city of Bordeaux host of the next ITS World Congress to be held in Europe in 2015. Mr Rouffet noted that Bordeaux has witnessed a 8% rise in population and a 10% rise in journeys between 1198 and 2009. Over the same period of time car use has dropped by 5% whilst public transport saw a rise of 2% cycling 1% and walk 2%. Bordeaux also invested in more tram and cycle infrastructure. Mr Rouffet also noted the importance of multimodality even – especially – in the planning of public transport routes. At one point for example Bordeaux’s bus lines would end near the trams but following a reconfiguration bus lines now intersect tram lines and usage of the whole network has increased by 6% and the bus network specifically by 10%. Mr Rouffet also underlined the need for good quality cycling infrastructure.

After the two introductions by cities Mr Herenda invited industry representatives to comment. First to speak was John Chipperfield CTO SWARCO. Mr Chipperfield took up Mr McCarthy’s point on turning vision into reality using SWARCO as an example of how to improve traffic flow and incident detection and reducing pollution and energy use. Mr Chipperfield noted that in terms of ITS infrastructure it is a case of “evolution not revolution – we can’t change everything overnight”. On the other hand Mr Chipperfield also said that “the paradigm change is here – it is not just coming it is already here and the data is key – data needs to be open needs to be shared and needs to be accurate”.

The next industry representative was Christian Barrios Managing Director Q-Free Americas. Mr Barrios started by noting “I think the industry in Europe is totally different from in the US for example” in that they have already adopted standards. Europe is different according to Mr Barrios has been protectionist although he recognised that the European Commission is forcing countries to share information. Speaking from a background in the computer industry Mr Barrios argued that a new generation of companies like Google or TomTom will just go ahead and share information anyway and that therefore traditional industries must adapt. In this regard Mr Barrios highlighted ERTICO’s role as “a great enabler for industry”.

However “if we compare the traffic industry to the computer industry we are twenty years behind“. Mr Barrios predicted consolidation in the traffic industry as tolling ports airports etc. will become part of one industry traffic management with common interfaces and applications. “Industry will change or be changed by Google and their peers

The next speaker was Lucien Linders Business Unit Director Consultancy and Innovation VIALIS B.V. who noted that they had “seen big changes in our clients – now they ask for full solutions ‘please keep our cities flowing’“. He noted that cooperative systems avoid a top-down approach – data is provided from the ground and that is a vital element in providing today’s and tomorrow’s mobility solutions.

Next to speak was Klaas Rozema CTO IMTECH/PEEK. Mr Rozema predicted that there would be less emphasis on road side unites and more on cloud computing. He highlighted the FREILOT pilot as a great example of cooperative technology resulting in a commercial product Europe’s first. Mr Rozema noted that “unfortunately most applications to do with cooperative systems demand 100% penetration” which is why FREILOT’s focus on a segment of the potential overall cooperative systems market proved to be most prescient.

Richard Harris from Xerox then took the floor. He noted a certain disconnect between road operators and the automobile manufacturing sector with there being maybe 14 motor manufacturers in the world but over 100 road operators in UK alone. Mr Harris talked about PIARC (the World Road Association) which brings together the road administrations of 118 governments as an important intermediary and highlighted the recent report on cooperative systems. Mr Harris stressed that road operators need robust systems that are future proof as indeed do consumers. Mr Harris illustrated teh latter with an example of the cost of replacing an in-built sat-nav system in a standard car – 3000 (UK) pounds. “Who could afford to replace that?”

The final industry representative was Hauke Juergensen Head Intelligent Traffic Systems SIEMENS who noted the large amount of progress in terms of cooperative systems – “they just didn’t exist a few years ago”. Regarding the progress made Mr Juergensen lauded ERTICO as “a very strong organisation with a strong voice”. He underlined that technologically cooperation is not a great problem. “We need to get the people together and speak with one voice – industry policy makers and road operators” he affirmed as business cases are urgently needed. “In order to guarantee a high level of safety and comfort clean air etc we need to do more on cooperative systems

Following the city-industry dialogue a number of interesting points arose from the audience. One concern was privacy and data security as public authorities have “no problems sharing data as long as there are no unique identifiers which can be used to identify individuals”.

The importance and role of social media was also recognised and it was agreed that it was not yet clear how social media’s role in transport would evolve.
An interesting point was raised regarding data provision namely that companies expect to receive data for free from public authorities – and then sell it to the consumer. Was this ethical? Here Mr McCarthy again noted the difference between data and (useful) information. Anybody could have access to the raw data it is the repackaging and processing of it that is the service which must be paid for.

The intelligent use of navigation devices en mass was another concern raised by a public authority representative. “We do not want thousands o cars driving by a school just because there is congestion on the motorway and everybody’s navigation device reroutes them – the public authority must be involved for the public good”.

Finally Zeljko Jeftic Senior Project manager at ERTICO recommended greater use of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) from the European Union as a catalyst for deployment. Mr Jeftic speaking with the experience of the afore-mentioned FREILOT (CIP) pilot noted that it was an excellent tool to create early adopters. Generally speaking he recommended less focus on R&D projects more on deployment and stressed the importance of having a stipulation to implement a post-pilot business plan. More on the lessons of FREILOT one of the first CIP pilots in transport can be read here.

Link to original Article

Original Publication Date: Wed 31 Oct 2012