In February 2018, the partners of the CROCODILE corridor have started to elaborate in detail the current status of supply and demand of cross-border traffic information exchange within corridor from Poland down to Slovenia. An initial workshop in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and subsequent coordination meetings were used to confirm certain assumptions, but have also revealed new aspects and viewpoints on the matching of supply and demand of cross-border traffic data.
The discussions revealed that certain sets of data are currently available from operator side. However there is no point in just pushing out all available static data, since not all of them are relevant to neighbouring motorway operators. The purpose of data exchange lies within the enhancement of end-user services, thereby improving the continuity of such services, which again contributes to realising the provisions coming from the ITS Directive.
This complies with the scope of CROCODILE to enhance end-user services through coordinated data exchange across borders. At the Ostrava workshop – and also subsequently – seven neighbouring Member States from the Central Europe area have been working to get a clear picture on what is available and what is demanded from consumer side (i.e. Traffic information Centres from neighbouring road operators). Thus each road operator represents a potential data provider as well consumer at the same time.
It is important to emphasise that “data exchange” in this context is not necessarily just a trade of getting data and providing data in return. Data provision – and their use by a neighbouring road operator – can be a reward in itself, if this leads to more efficiency in traffic in both operational areas. This means that often providers are happy to provide their data to partners as it allows for better reacting and (pre-)coordination of measures. So providing data will not certainly result in monetary revenue, but better informed neighbours might also benefit your own agenda in terms of better (cross-border) traffic coordination.
However a notable divergence in what both providers and consumers expect and what they really get has become apparent during the discussions. In order to align expectations along the CROCODILE corridor, each provider (one per country) created two sets of cards:
- Supply deck: one card per data source being offered to others
- Demand deck: one card per data being demanded from others
Delegates then held short country to country discussion, presenting their cards and clarifying, how they would match real demand. Regarding data being demanded, the process has revealed that there is:
- High demand for sharing images from cameras
- High demand for SRTI
- Moderate or low demand for ITP data
Regarding data being provided, it has become apparent that:
- SRTI, roadworks and closures and accidents are well covered
- Camera images are often available
- Static ITP data are sometime available
- Dynamic ITP data are almost never available
There was common agreement on the fact that data exchange is more difficult for the consumer (being the TIC), since most of the processing has to be done on the consumer side and some tasks (e.g. decoding location of events) can be really challenging. This also illustrates why corridor-based efforts like CROCODILE are vital for driving coordination and improvement. The forum setting of the CROCODILE workshops have shown to be a crucial enabler for revealing, discussing and solving issues in cross-border traffic management.