On May 16th 2018 the European ITS Platform and the ITS corridor projects Arc Atlantique, Crocodile, MedTIS, Next-ITS and Ursa Major met with stakeholders in the European Parliament building. The session was held upon invitation of Dominique Riquet, MEP and vice-chair of the TRAN committee of the European Parliament. The 35 attendees were welcomed by Mrs. Malika Seddi (ASFA), partner in Arc Atlantique and coordinator of MedTIS and the debate was animated by Mr. Roberto Arditi (SINA), project manager of EU EIP.
Setting the scene
The opening speech was given by Mrs. Claire Depré (DG MOVE), who informed the audience about the third Mobility Package, in which the focus is clearly on road safety. The third Mobility Package also contains an agenda in the field of automation, following the C-ITS strategy from 2016. The focus is on establishing an enabling framework. Her speech can be summarized with ‘a safe (transport) system approach’. She also pointed out the importance to enhance cooperation amongst member states in order to rationalize lessons learnt. Next, Mr. Christian Faure (INEA) explained INEA’s key role: to implement projects, making implementations happen (both through CEF and H2020) in order to make the road infrastructures safer and more efficient. The total budget for CEF Transport is 22,4 billion euro (2014-2020), mainly going to CEF corridors. Out of this 48 ITS projects were funded with a total of 443 million euro. A new CEF call will open on 17 May 2018. Mr. Alessandro Iavicoli reported the special interest in the Platform of Bernadette Veca, Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, and stated that the European ITS Platform (EU EIP) was established to create common systems/services, but also to support the implementation of the ITS directive and Delegated Regulations. The ITS corridors offer a perfect environment to deploy ITS for safety, efficiency and environment. EU EIP will also be an important Platform for new ITS developments. An overall presentation about consistence and results of ITS corridors and final introductory speech was delivered by Mr. Jan Willem Tierolf (Rijkswaterstaat). He described how the ITS corridor projects and the European ITS Platform facilitate the establishment of European Transport Corridors by providing a digital layer to CEF corridors, thus making transport more safe, efficient and environmentally sound. He supported his statement with clear examples of accident reduction due to speed enforcement, increased road capacity through use of peak hour lanes (made possible only thanks to ITS) and reduced emission due to variable speed limits. He concluded his speech by stating that ITS is very cost-effective and it is easier and quicker to implement than extending hard infrastructure, because it usually is less subject to lengthy administrative procedures and has 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.
Debate with stakeholders
Following the opening speeches, a number of stakeholders were asked to reflect on the statements made by the first speakers. A first reaction was given by Mr. Kallistratos Dionelis (ASECAP), who expressed his concern about cities. They will have their own systems, so we need to make sure that there will be a regulated interoperability between cities, followed by interoperability across borders. Operators of roads in the trans-European network can be an example of how this process can be successfully developed. Mr. Martin Böhm (C-ROADS) sees two main trends: cooperative mobility and mobility as a service. ITS is the digital infrastructure, which is the backbone for mobility of the future. Solutions should be scalable from motorways to cities/rural areas, and from road to other modes. According to Mr. Steve Phillips (CEDR) ITS is a tool to increase the efficiency of roads, not an objective in itself. Within CEDR there is some concern on ‘overemphasizing’ road safety; don’t forget the environmental issues, which often is a much bigger issue. Mr. Christophe Nicodème (ERF) remarked that we need to look at future. Most traffic is not on the CEF corridors, but on the ‘other’ minor roads. Why is the automotive sector not present in this meeting; they are also an important stakeholder. He also emphases the important need to invest on road infrastructures just to maintain them for safe mobility services. Mrs. Isabelle Vandoorne (DG MOVE) added that is important for the platform to maintain and develop a multimodal approach open to cities also. To this purpose, POLIS could be useful among the stakeholders of the Platform, a proposal which was supported even by Mrs. Johanna Tzanidaki (Ertico), who stressed that the future is in the dialog between the stakeholders, including urban and industry.
Mrs. Malika Seddi, recalling interventions of officers from the Commission and stakeholders, of Mr. Paul Wadsworth (Arc Atlantique) and Mrs. Stephanie Kleine (Ursa Major), concluded that 27 countries working together is unique. Concrete examples of benefits to European citizens are coming from ITS corridors and an example of such cooperation are the deployment guidelines, a common pan-European approach to deploy services: a concept initially developed in previous programs and now being developed by the European ITS Platform. The community of the Platform appears suited to contribute to the implementation of the ITS Directive and the objectives of the third Mobility Package.
Mrs. Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen took to the distinguished delegates the apologies of Mr. Dominque Riquet: he could not finally attend the meeting he invited for, due to a last minute change in his agenda, nevertheless Mrs. Nørlund-Matthiessen made herself available to organize a meeting/interview with mr. Riquet around the end of June to give him the opportunity to contribute to the debate and to answer to the questions raised in the event with an European Parliament perspective.
Leaders of corridors and Platform activities jointly to stakeholders decided that the European ITS Platform performed a step forward in the right direction: this meeting in the Parliament has not to be considered as the result of a process, but just the beginning of a newly launched action to be soon deployed, even in view of the Forum. The Member States Supervision Assembly held in the following day endorsed the decision and recommended to boost the cooperation even with TEN-T Core Network Corridors, by the way, an activity already pioneered by Ursa Major with ScanMed, and the Platform with North Sea-Baltic