4.2 Physical and digital infrastructure attributes for automated driving

Who we are and what we do

The European ITS Platform (EU EIP) serves as Technical ITS Knowledge Management Centre to National Road Authorities and Road Operators partnering in the EU EIP community, to the European Commission in their roles as funding and regulatory institution as well as to stakeholders and multi-stakeholder collaborations engaged in preparing CCAM (Cooperative Connected and Automated Mobility) deployment. EU EIP aims at ensuring regular operation of ITS services deployed today on the TEN-T core network of roads and, looking forward, at the best integration of CCAM pilots and deployments with current ITS deployment. EU EIP collaborates closely with and provides input to the CCAM Platform and especially its Working Group 3 on Physical and Digital Road Infrastructures.  

In order to facilitate highly automated driving (SAE Level 4) it is essential to understand the requirements of such automated vehicles on the road infrastructures. In this, the ODDs (Operational Design Domains) of the automated vehicles are the key starting point. Information on the ODDs is available from the automated driving system developers’ own statements and reports (e.g. the voluntary safety self-assessment reports provided to the NHTSA), but we compiled the information especially with the support of two projects. The L3Pilot project has provided the insights of the vehicle manufacturers, and EU EIP has had a close cooperation with the MANTRA project of CEDR working on the impacts of highly automated driving on national road authorities and operators. The work resulted in a list of ODD attributes relevant to road operators.

ODD attributePhysical / Digital infrastructureStatic / Dynamic
Speed rangePhysicalStatic
Shoulder or kerbPhysicalStatic
Road markingsPhysicalStatic
Traffic signsPhysicalStatic
Road furniturePhysicalStatic
Weather conditionsDynamic
HD mapDigitalStatic
Satellite positioningDigitalStatic
Information systemDigitalStatic
Traffic managementDigitalDynamic
Infrastructure maintenancePhysical / DigitalDynamic
Fleet supervisionDigitalDynamic
Digital twin of road networkDigitalDynamic

What we achieve

The work started with an EU EIP case study in Finland in 2017-18, which produced a first proposal for the lists of physical and digital road infrastructure attributes. These were discussed at the EU CAD symposium 2018 as well as at the workshop organised together with L3Pilot in Athens in October 2018.

The results were utilised in producing the EU EIP deliverable on the requirements of highly automated driving on road operators and also in the MANTRA deliverable Infrastructural consequences of connectivity and automation, and recommendations for their implementation.

EU EIP and MANTRA provided in 2020 a common proposal for physical and digital infrastructure attributes to the CCAM platform’s WG3. The CCAM platform has utilised this list in its multi-stakeholder action to provide a comprehensive list of the attributes taking also on board the sub-tasks of automated driving from the automated vehicle industry point of view as well as the results from projects such as INFRAMIXTransAID and CEF-SLAIN.  

The lists of the attributes are shown in the tables below. The list will probably evolve along with the technology evolution of automated vehicles, and especially with regard to their sensors, software and AI capabilities.

Hence, the importance of individual infrastructure attributes will likely change, some attributes may be added to the lists and some may even be eliminated from the lists as the automated vehicles do not have any more need for those. The future evolution is, however, difficult to predict.  

The work concluded in a road map and action plan for the road operators to facilitate automated driving on TEN road network, where the physical and digital road infrastructure development and deployment play a major role.

Physical infrastructure attributes – proposal from EU EIP & MANTRA

Infrastructure attribute




Road type

Basic road types such as motorway, highway, street, private road indicate separation of carriageways, intersection arrangements, types of road users etc.

Special road sections

Additional requirements for critical road sections such as tunnels, bridges, toll plazas etc.

Separation of automated vehicles

Dedicated lanes or areas; permanent or temporary such as night time only

Pavement of road

Ease of detection of the roadway

Bearing capacity

Road (lanes, shoulders), bridges – critical for platoons

Speed range

Speed limit or recommendation

The speeds in which the automated driving system has been designed to function. Either static or dynamic speed limits/recommendations. Dynamic ones relate to traffic management

Shoulder or kerb

Wide shoulder

possibility to use as “safe harbour” if ODD ends

Lay-bys or parking areas

as above

Passenger pick-up/drop off areas

necessary for automated shuttles and robotaxis

Road markings

Existence of lane markings

lateral positioning

Visibility, machine-readability

visibility to vehicle sensors

Markings indicating use by automated vehicles

indicating of right to use or prohibition of use by highly automated vehicles

Traffic signs

Visibility, machine-readability

visibility to vehicle sensors

Signs indicating use by automated vehicles

indicating of right to use or prohibition of use by highly automated vehicles

Road furniture


Static physical landmarks possible equipped by sensor reflectors or radio beacons or similar to support accurate positioning

Gantries for road signs

indicating of right to use or prohibition of use by highly automated vehicles

Gates and barriers

Access to dedicated lanes, roads or areas

Road lighting

Support to automated vehicle’s vision system

Game fences

Availability and condition

Infrastructure maintenance

Winter maintenance (snow removal, de-icing)

Visibility of road markings and traffic signs in adverse weather conditions

Road maintenance incl. road marking painting, clearing of vegetation

Quality and visibility of road markings and traffic signs

Inspections of infrastructure

Inspections according to standardised test/inspection protocols for both physical and digital infrastructure