The drafting and adoption of the ITS Deployment Guidelines has been a significant achievement of predecessor projects (Easyway and EIP+, both co-financed by the European Commission). The original set of 18 guidelines comprises requirements that ITS services should comply with in order to be harmonised with the deployment of the same service in other Member States. This does not prevent services to be tuned for local needs, but ensures a certain level of harmonised end user experience and also basic interoperability on the data level, which again is an important contribution to the feasibility of seamless, cross-border services. The guidelines are provided as a set of 18 separate documents, each consisting of two parts: Part A contains the harmonisation requirements following the must/should/may approach and the comply-or-explain principle while Part B presents the Best Practices for each respective service.
As the ITS Deployment Guidelines were released in 2012, with an update of Part B taking place in 2015, the need to revise the guidelines emerged. A main reason was the entry into force between 2013 and 2017 of the Delegated Regulations for the provision of: road safety relevant traffic information (886/2013), information services for safe and secure parking areas for trucks and commercial vehicle (885/2013), EU-wide real-time traffic information services (2015/962) and EU-wide multimodal travel information (2017/1926), making a revision of the ITS Deployment Guidelines essential, in order to maintain compliance with the regulations. Furthermore, updating all service descriptions to the state of the art, including latest developments in digitalisation and C-ITS, as well as incorporating to the harmonisation requirements knowledge gained from the collection of Best Practices and the results of the ITS Corridors and the EU EIP activities (e.g. Quality Package, NAPs, KPIs, among others) is fundamental, in order to provide guidance to the ITS Community that is up-to-date, comprehensive and complete in all aspects. Making the information easier to reach and easier to understand and assimilate was another goal of the planned update, eliminating redundancies and merging all previously separate documents into a complete Reference Handbook for harmonized ITS core service deployment in Europe.
EU EIP Activity 2 undertook this ambitious task that took approximately 4 years to complete. The main part of the work took place within the three Expert Groups of Activity 2 (Traveller Information Services, Traffic Management and Freight & Logistics), which consist of experts from most EU Member States with the necessary expertise to take up this challenge. The Cross Corridor Cooperation task, also under the Activity 2 umbrella, ensured a stream of valuable experiences, results and Best Practices from the ITS Corridors, while the other EU EIP Activities, Working Groups and Task Forces contributed with their results and expertise, so as to ensure that the final document is complete in every aspect. In addition, collaboration with the PSA DATEX II, together with the significant contribution from EU EIP SA4.5 on harmonization of interfaces for data exchange, led to the development of recommended DATEX II service profiles, while on the basis of the Collaboration Note between C-ROADS and EU EIP references to relevant C-ITS use cases are introduced, where relevant. An extensive dissemination plan that started already at the early stages of development of the Refence Handbook, presenting its development to external stakeholders, other ITS projects co-financed by the EU as well as national, European and international conferences paved the way for its introduction and at the same time fed back to the development team comments and suggestions from the ITS Community. Finally, a series of feedback phases of the draft Handbook gave the opportunity also to its prospective users to extensively comment and contribute with their ideas and suggestions to its further expansion and improvement.
In the long drafting process of this new handbook, the development team managed to fulfill all the previously mentioned goals. The experts worked intensively on finding the best possible solutions and introducing new innovations and content, in order to deliver a piece of work that would provide exceptional value to the ITS Community. As an overview, provided below are the major changes that the Reference Handbook for harmonized ITS core service deployment in Europe introduces:
- Bundling and streamlining concept of the Reference Handbook: The individual ITS Deployment Guideline documents were combined into one Reference Handbook, with the goal to eliminate repetitions and increase clarity.
- Compliance with the Delegated Regulations: Revision of the content to ensure compliance with the latest relevant Delegated Regulations.
- DATEX II Recommended Service Profiles: In close cooperation with the DATEX II Program Support Action, a Recommended Service Profile was created for each ITS Service. The Recommended Service Profiles are publicly available and provided free of charge. The ITS service descriptions refer to the corresponding profiles.
- References to C-ROADS specifications: On the basis of the Collaboration Note between EU EIP and C-Roads, each ITS service was checked to see whether it could be supported or supplemented by C-ITS services. The ITS service descriptions refer to the corresponding C-Roads Use Cases.
- ITS Deployment References: Approximately 100 Deployment References from ITS implementations coming mainly from the five CEF ITS Corridors were collected, converted to a uniform format and provided in the annex to the Reference Handbook.
- User Groups: To ensure that different interest groups can quickly obtain the relevant information from the Reference Handbook, the chapters have been assigned to the following interest groups (Strategic, Implementation Managers and Expert Engineers).
- Website: In addition to the entire Reference Handbook as a PDF file or printed document, an accompanying dedicated website is also in development.
The Reference Handbook was created by ITS experts and practitioners and refined in a commentary process by member states experts. The innovations introduced ensure that the content is comprehensive and up to date, as well as underpin its credibility and relevance. The Reference Handbook constitutes an essential basis for a harmonised and cross-border implementation of ITS services. Thus, it is a powerful tool in the effort to master the challenges of the European transport infrastructure described at the beginning. It makes a significant contribution to maintain a competitive European economy and constitutes a major component on the road to a modern and climate neutral society.
The Reference Handbook for Harmonised Core ITS Service Deployment in Europe has been approved by the Member State Supervision Assembly and is currently being finalised with a professionally designed and accessible document as well as an accompanying website currently in development.
The official release of the Reference Handbook is planned for Autumn 2021 and will replace the Easyway Deployment Guidelines currently in effect.
As a preview of the Reference Handbook, the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents are provided. After the official release of the Reference Handbook, this page will also provide it for download.