To gauge the requirements of potential users of the ITS-Observatory a general questionnaire was circulated to the networks and contacts of the project partners, with a small number of volunteers engaging in a follow-up interview.
114 people responded to the questionnaire, 29 people completed the interview.
60% of questionnaire respondents were involved in research, consultancy, public administration or other public agencies. Although organisations already have existing mechanisms for obtaining ITS information on a daily or weekly basis, 65% of respondents confirmed only some of the time they find the information they want.
Furthermore, 61% of respondents note that existing ITS information is often fragmented, whilst 43% feel that a single repository for ITS documentation would help overcome this issue. 55% note that results and evaluations from ITS deployments are often incomplete or missing.
In general the questionnaire and interview reinforced existing expectations about what people want from the ITS-Observatory and how they would use it. Priority requirements of public authorities and the private sector have also been made clear.
An ITS-Observatory should provide the following key features:
- ITS project repository – cited as important or very important by 79% of respondents
- Link to evaluation results of deployments and projects (74%)
- A structured knowledge base of deployment benefits (70%)
- Technology and market trends (70%)
Other popular proposed features include: query reports on existing and planned ITS deployments; an interactive map of deployments; news (standards, initiatives, etc.); success stories from key stakeholders; a “who’s who” of those stakeholders involved in a project or deployment.
In summary, the ITS-Observatory should provide a one stop shop, enabling quick and complete searches, down to a micro-level – for example identifying the right contact person for information about a deployment.
But, the quality of the outputs is dependent on the quality of the inputs:
- Data and content entry into the ITS-Observatory must be quick and simple
- Data and content should be complete, including in some cases confidential input
- Maintenance and updating of data and content beyond the end of the project is essential
- A clear relationship must be defined between the ITS-Observatory and input providers
To conclude, participants in the user requirement process broadly agree on types of data and content to be made available in the ITS-Observatory, its scope and how it will be used. There is also agreement on keeping it simple and accessible to all.
There is a consensus of opinion that there should be a free access area for public domain information and a secure registration-only area where sensitive data and content is available.
The main aspects that must be examined in more detail, and will be linked to other key areas of the project such as the Operational Plan and the Sustainability Strategy, are:
- Verification of data and content quality
- Ongoing maintenance and updating of data, content and platform
- Definition of a clear relationship with data and content providers