The Influencer Workshop has been hosted by the European Commission DG MOVE on December 5th in Brussels and organised by EU EIP Activity 2 Monitoring and Dissemination. The European ITS Platform project (EU EIP) is a joint effort of European road operators that work together on harmonised ITS deployment. Therefore, distinguished representatives had been invited to discuss essential aspects, challenges and opportunities of ITS deployment, opening up different angles and approaches towards Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM).
The workshop was set-up in an open discussion environment. After a short introduction, three thematic sessions followed, addressing these questions:
- Session 1: What are your expectations regarding future road operator investment in ITS? How much continuity is needed and how much innovation is possible?
- Session 2: Which technologies are sufficiently mature by now for real operational roll-out beyond the pilot stage, and how would such new services integrate and interact with existing systems and services?
- Session 3: What models of cooperation – especially with road operators – do you propose for the changing landscape of road transport?
Innovation opportunities lie ahead with connected vehicles allowing for cooperative services and higher levels of automation in driving. This implies that a clear migration path from the current status is needed. The main issue discussed during this session were the new forms of cooperation between road operators and other stakeholders, based on new business models and in particular in terms of data sharing.
The participants concluded that governance for data sharing is required, but this governance needs to respect mutual benefit. Requirements – e.g. on data quality – can only be properly defined if it is clear what the data will be used for; not all services need the same data quality and the same level of investment. The legal framework and political expectations seem to be constantly changing in the light of a digital society, with dramatic change happening at a high pace: Open Data, Big Data, Connectivity, Internet of Things… Hence, it can be safely assumed that the role of road authorities and road operators are likely to change significantly as well. The main challenge is to understand, how we can identify and clearly indicate future road authority / road operator roles and responsibilities in a changing, increasingly networked landscape.
Many current discussions circle around disruptive change due to new technologies allowing either entirely new approaches or addressing existing services in a radically different way. Hence, road operators are currently challenged to determine whether the proposed products, technologies and architectures are sufficiently tested, mature and standardised for real-world, large-scale roll-out. The second session’s discussion revealed that there is not necessarily a need for harmonised technical architectures - the important aspect seems to be the data governance.
In summary, the proper governance was seen as the key to turn data into information. Policy requirements of the future will without any doubt demand "intelligent” systems and solutions, which implies collaboration and communication / connectivity. This can be driven by the strive for higher automation, environmental pressure or other policy priorities. The proper technology is there and can be rolled-out in a stepwise, backwards compatible way, but it needs cooperation of all stakeholders and aligned roadmaps in order to make sure that all stakeholders can develop successful business models for this roll-out.
The expected changes are not only in the technical aspects of the deployed systems and provided services. Probably one of the main changes will be in the role split between the road operators perform and other stakeholders. As the previous discussions showed that cooperation and governance are the key issues in many fields, the participants discussed about particular steps to improve future governance.
Agreeing on commonly shared goals amongst all relevant stakeholders seems pivotal. The market can certainly do a lot, but there are also areas where regulation will be needed. There needs to be a top level that orchestrates the separate but joint elements below. The C-ITS Platform had done good work, but had not fully achieved an agreed governance layer. This could be taken up by the envisaged C-ITS Platform’s successor.
After a fruitful discussion two options were elaborated: planning together or planning in competition to each other. Obviously, cooperation seems more promising. Without this cooperation, (C-)ITS will not go beyond Day 2 operation, i.e. infrastructure and vehicles broadcasting information. Higher levels of cooperation and benefit can only be achieved when all relevant parties start negotiations and create governance schemes of mutual benefit, taking the entire chain from planning to operation together. The road operators have to ‘de-silo’ their approaches.
Cities may be not that far into their thinking yet, and currently look separately at certain themes to address: traffic management, access control, pollution, etc., but in the future, they will have to prepare to join discussions on overall (C-)ITS governance. Nevertheless, the workshop showed how important cooperation and governance are to enable the deployment of large-scale, operational infrastructure systems and 'Influencers' called upon the EC to set it up.