The Platform Coordinator speech

The Platform and corridors are working to deliver a better and safer mobility to European Citizens

The coordinator of the European ITS Platform contributed to the opening ceremony of the European ITS Forum held, in the Utrecht premises of Rijkswaterstaat. The text of the speech is available here in the following:

Honourable Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management,

Dear Representatives of European and National Authorities,

Dear Coordinators of CEF ITS Corridor projects,

Dear Operators of Trans-European Network and Stakeholders,

Dear Colleagues and friends,

I’m very glad to welcome you at the EU ITS Platform Forum on behalf of the European ITS Platform, the project co-financed by the UE and coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

Firstly, I wish to thank Rijkswaterstaat for hosting this important event in this glamorous and innovative venue.  Thank honourable Minister, thanks for this invitation and thanks to all the colleagues from Rijkswaterstaat.

Going to the essence of this event, the Forum targets the attention of the audience on Traffic Management and its current challenges. The Netherlands is surely an outstanding country in the capability to handle ITS subjects and to cooperate in the European Common Space: I received a few days ago the Dutch Traffic Management Roadmap 2022 (it also available in copy here today) and I am very keen in better deepening the national approach, appearing very serious and comprehensive. Nevertheless we do not have here The Netherlands only, some of the most qualified experts from about 21 Countries are here today: therefore it is the perfect opportunity to have a great debate grounding a positive evolution within so many countries and at a Pan-European level.

For this reason our  Platform of authorities and operators of the trans-European road network aims at a smart and efficient mobility, a goal to be achieved through large scale technology deployments. The “European ITS Platform” is being bringing together (even here and today), the majority of the European key players cooperating to establish an open “forum” aiming at providing  joint contribution for the future strategy, for policy recommendation towards a better development and deployment of ITS services along European road Corridors.

Services enabled by Intelligent Transport Systems positively impact road congestion and safety and contribute to the safeguard of the environment.

The progressive widening of their deployment contributes to innovation on the Trans European Road Network.

Furthermore, advanced services contribute also to the process of digitalization of transport.

To achieve concrete benefits, Member States, with the relevant support of the EU coming from Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), have invested billions in ITS over two decades, improving road safety and enhancing the efficiency of the road network.

The presence of Operators and Stakeholders is a key important fact: our Platform needs to be grounded on real field deployment activities: we are representing infrastructure authorities and operators, because our target is a better mobility for citizens.

Nevertheless, the challenges arising from the digitalisation of transport, connected and automated driving, the European dimension of services, multimodality and the concept of Mobility as a Service, will still require even closer collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders who undoubtedly can provide contributions, ideas and support to our wide and open community. Experts of the European ITS Platform and the ITS corridors are meeting this challenge to accelerate deployment strategies supporting, this way, new mobility policies proposed by European Institutions.

Regarding what we have done during the current year, it was rich of several initiatives coming from the experts of the Platform together with the key stakeholders in the sector: meetings with the European Commission, European Parliament, National Authorities, leaders of Corridors assessing significant steps forward in the direction of efficient and fruitful shared communication.

The cooperation with stakeholders is really an added value: we contributed to the TEN-T Core Network Corridors implementing process through the participation to the Fora events coordinated by the European Coordinators,  starting from the Ursa Major project  in the ScanMed one in 2017 and in the North Sea-Baltic one over the last two years, the East West Corridor lead by Rijkswaterstaat succeeded in building a strong cooperation community all along the North Sea – Baltic corridor developing a feasibility study and a  road map for the deployment of ITS.

Let me  now introduce a few examples of European achievements within our corridors:

  • Crocodile corridor equipped 10 additional truck parking places with necessary technology for proper integration into the dynamic Intelligent Truck Parking information system with regards to space availability and safety.
  • MedTIS corridor is now providing to European citizens a comprehensive cross-border travel times system between France and Italy and between France and Spain.
  • Arc Atlantique corridor grounds the UK Tunnels Improvement Programme: a range of different projects gave rise to the need for implementing ITS alongside a range of other safety critical works.
  • Next ITS corridor is keen on the environment. It demonstrated to be eco-friendly. 11 thousand tons of CO2 emission are avoided annually though ITS.
  • URSA MAJOR corridor acquired 8 new implementing bodies that are taking the program towards the multimodality: 6 harbours (Gioia Tauro, La Spezia, Livorno, Ravenna, Trieste, Venezia), one freight village (Verona) and one public logistic operators (RAM).

Finally the Platform supported a common European understanding and provided a common frame in several technical fields, as the evaluation phase of projects. It is important to remark that this kind of results and activities was even recognized by European Institutions who asked to new projects the fully coordination under the Platform umbrella.

The European ITS platform successfully reached already 35 milestones over the 75 planned: the progresses appear remarkable. On the other hand, we are not only facing a number of issues on the technical and technological side: we are even facing a tough administrative roadmap and quite complex management of the projects.

In my role of  the Coordinator, I am really pleased to say that the Platform performed in due time its own administrative duties and consequent procedures despite the complexity of a project composed by so many beneficiaries, 26 with 29 related implementing bodies  and 2 affiliated entities coming from 15 different Member States: The Platform demonstrated  undoubtedly to be a great team!

Thinking to the future: ITS is now is evolving into new, more efficient and more integrated services; it is cost-effective and it is easier and quicker to be implemented than extending hard infrastructure conquering a good public acceptance. It is the digital layer which brings corridors and networks alive opening up their full potential. It is a strong basis for the digitization of transport.

The Third Mobility Package set for Europe new priorities, delivering on the new industrial policy strategy of September 2017 and has completed the process initiated with the 2016 Low Emission Mobility Strategy and the previous Europe on the Move packages in  2017. Member States participating in the Platform will concretely contribute to some of the key objectives of this common European policy: Safety, Multimodality, Connection of TEN-T with Urban Areas.

For what concerns communication and dissemination: our Communication Team prepared for all of you a smart dossier allowing you to download the reports showing the results of Corridors and the European ITS Platform through the highlights published on the Platform website.

The folder you received this morning, contains two fact-sheets one European ITS Platform and Corridors. Bookmarks, folder, notebook: the graphics of the European ITS Platform was performed by Italian artists under the coordination of the Communication Team.  Let me highlight the objective chosen for this tool: a new concept of “movement”, symbol of efficiency and safety for the transport, the basic objective of the Traffic management. The image of the traffic control centre represents the integration of services delivered on the road with the idea of movement and digitalization of the infrastructure.

Furthermore, we have a new website, press releases, interviews on the technical magazines, a newsletter now reaching quite 5 thousand subscribers all through Europe, a devoted YouTube channel collecting opinions by the entire Community. The so-called “wall with all logos” organized by Rijkswaterstaat shows how large our community is.

At the last CEF call, several corridor proposals together with the prosecution of the Platform have been submitted to the attention of European Authorities. The candidate future platform is gathering together 66 organizations among the most qualified in Europe, 24 Beneficiaries over 16 Member States, 4 affiliated entities and 32 Implementing bodies (operators, municipalities, hi-tech organizations, research institutions and other Authorities).

All these stakeholders are demonstrating their willingness to continue working together. The future is not yet written and decided: let’s create it together now!

The community is alive and enlarging.

Last special words go to each one of the members of the communication team, the organizers and hosts, the speakers, the members of the community contributing to make really this Forum a successful event and, last but not least, I would like to thank The European GNSS Agency that organized for all of us a technical visit in the premises of the Galileo Reference Centre.

I thank you so much for your attention, I thank you to be here in Utrecht today and I am looking forward  to listen all your contributions to our debates for this two-days event.