In the past major traffic events have led to congestion and traffic breakdown in Central and East European cross-border areas repeatedly. This region comprises several smaller countries with different languages and lots of cross-border traffic. In order to enable harmonised and efficient traffic flows along European transport corridors, cooperation and harmonised information exchange is of vital importance.
CROCODILE has pushed the harmonised exchange of dynamic traffic data and information across borders. Partners have worked together to implement an infrastructure for providing road traffic information. Efforts are being pursued in accordance with the EU ITS Directive and its supplementing Delegated Regulations. This encompasses coordination on organisational level, technical implementation of standards as well as enhancement of management strategies and end-user services. The latter are being improved so that road users can obtain more and better information through channels (e.g. websites, apps) that they are used to, thereby adding to the continuity of services as defined in the EU ITS Directive.
Within CROCODILE public authorities, road administrations and traffic information service providers of in total 10 European Member States (Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania and Slovenia, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia) and 3 associated Member States (Slovakia in the status of associated Member States) were committed to set up and operate a data exchange infrastructure based on DATEX II. That infrastructure is used to exchange data and information between all involved stakeholders, including private partners, with the goal to provide harmonised cross-border traveller information services along the whole corridor. A specific focus within CROCODILE was on safety-related and truck parking information services.
The project CROCODILE is divided in 3 phases:
Crocodile 1: 01/01/2013 – 31/12/2014
Crocodile 2: 01/01/2015 – 31/12/2019
Crocodile 3: 01/01/2020 – 31/12/2022
The CROCODILE corridor is hierarchically structured around four activities (plus one for project management and dissemination issues) which are:
The Project Management is performed by the Project Coordinator (AustriaTech) consisting of tasks such as acting as the first point of contact for the EC/CINEA, coordinating information flows between the project partners, handling technical, administrative, financial and legal matters as well as convening, participating in and moderating the CROCODILE Steering Committee.
One of the project objectives is to foster cooperation across borders including data exchange as this forms the basis for the provision of seamless and accurate cross-border end-user services.
ITS-Services for traffic information or traffic management addressing the end-users require accurate data and information for their functioning as well as acceptance. To ensure the uptake of CROCODILE services by the end-users high-qualitative services will be disseminated.
The CROCODILE corridor traffic has significant proportion of international and transit traffic, including traffic to and from ports in the Adriatic (Koper, Rijeka, Trieste), Baltic (Rostock, Gdansk), Black Sea (Constanta) and Aegean Sea (Thessaloniki, Limassol) areas to the European continent.
Based on the Data exchange agreements, which are set up between different Member States and operators in Activity 2, and the installation of DATEX II access points in Activity 4 existing traveller information services will be enriched with information about the neighbouring networks and new services for end-users will be set up.
All activities are of common interest and high priority for each CROCODILE Member State and partner. The activities are carried out both on national and/or European level thus always contributing to the CROCODILE goal to serve the European traveller.
Due to the corridor principle, coordination has taken place on various levels and caused impacts that encompass several Member State areas. First cross-border information (e.g. camera data) were exchanged already during the first phase of CROCODILE. Motorway operator ASFINAG (AT) and DARS (SI) have exchanged data about road works and events as well as webcam feeds since summer 2017. In 2018, Austrian and Slovenian data and information were integrated into the system of road operator Magyar Közút (HU). This display of DATEX II use is one of a kind in Europe and an important basis for cooperation with neighbouring countries.
Together with DATEX II and the exchange of event information for road conditions in other countries, cross-border traffic management plans (TMPs) have become one of the three pillars of transnational coordination pursued in the CROCODILE corridor. Since important basics were built up from 2014 on, a completely new level of coordination was introduced in 2019: A dedicated TMP-Project with the goal to create, upgrade and digitalise international TMPs on five TEN-T corridors.
Core element is the development, testing and implementation of a dedicated application for cross-border TMP handling. Each of the road operators has access to the app via API that was integrated into the perspective traffic management systems.
Due to the efforts in terms of data exchange and DATEX II profiling, a solid basis has already existed. All the more important it was to focus on the details, e.g. parameters to consider when describing a detected event, the process of detour selection as well as exact and harmonised location referencing.
The level of detail has also deepened in terms of organisational matters and has encompassed mainly bilateral issues. In general, as far TMP’s going through a country, the information process for all operators know how to plan their capacities.
Yet all efforts on operator side will be in vain if they do not manage to make drivers act in the way that TMP intends them to do, so the means of dissemination is another crucial element in the value chain of working with cross-border TMPs. This will be an important topic for the remaining project duration also includes the harmonisation of information throughout all channels (operator-specific, Google, TomTom, etc.).You can follow the project on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/crocodile-corridor