Aligning open strategic issues from corridor-projects and pilots

As a final strategy coordination support activity, CODECS has taken the perspective on strategic issues from the point of the deployment pilots and projects. Deliverable D4.6 gives a concise overview of the major C-ITS deployment projects, and makes the distinction between platforms, deployment, coordination support initiatives and how they interact. It finally looks at how the strategic issues previously identified in the CODECS Deliverable D4.4 affect the projects and how projects brought additional elements to these strategic issues.  A set of interesting issues is highlighted below:

Keeping up with standards

In the deployment of C-ITS a considerable number of standards is used from various Standard Setting Organisations (a.o. CEN/ISO/ETSI) due to the many components of the system that need to be taken into account. And the use of standards is necessary to achieve interoperability. For each individual single C-ITS deployment initiative it is a challenge to stay up to date and apply the newest standards right away. This has to do for instance with backwards compatibility, procurement procedures and project agreements. Adding interoperability requirements from an EU level makes this even a more challenging issue, but it should be tackled at that level to achieve EU interoperability.

Hybrid communication

This part deals with the perceived concept of hybrid communication as several projects are deploying C-ITS through ITS G5 and/or cellular communication techniques. Several issues come to the surface from the perspective of interoperability and the concept of Hybrid Communication. It is recommended to look at CODECS deliverables D4.5 and D3.4 for the broader context of this concept.

Use Cases

When it comes to designing the C-ITS system it starts with the functionality that is being pursued by the technical system. The CODECS partners acknowledged this starting point as essential in the quick developing C-ITS landscape. In deliverable D4.5 is described that it is needed to speak a common language to describe services and use cases and an approach was developed as well as a template. To achieve a common understanding of services by road users throughout Europe it is necessary for all projects to establish a common understanding of services / use cases amongst all stakeholders and develop these together with all stakeholders and agree on how to manage the continuously expanding library of potential services / use cases.

Challenges in incorporating C-ITS in current day to day operations

Many road authorities already perform several traffic management functionalities with an existing system and operate that on a 24/7 base. Within the current systems also standards are used in the communication between e.g. the traffic operation centres, data providers, access points, service providers and other road authorities. The development of C-ITS systems addresses the same functionalities as well as new functionalities. It will take a migration process and for a longer period of time both the existing legacy systems and the new C-ITS systems will operate in parallel. It means that “new” and “old” systems need to be mapped on the functional level to see how they can coexist without creating potential confusing of conflicting situations for the end user.

Incorporating the C-ITS messaging as additional task in e.g. the Traffic Operation Centre is not an easy task. The existing executive organisation has fixed procedures and already works with complex systems. It is key in implementation and development along the technology readiness levels to involve the end users from the beginning.

Legal

Another issue that was mentioned by one of the projects is the following. How does one ensure that the status of the digital messages has the same legal status as the message provided by the current physical infrastructure. For instance, a physical sign with a maximum speed limit has a legal status that is embedded in regulations. How does that compare or can this be achieved for digital messages? This question came up during the discussion of migration paths. For now, most of the implementation projects are implementing the digital messages with the caveat that they are supportive to the messages that the physical infrastructure gives and that those messages have a legal priority to the digital messages. This thought is especially of urgency for commandments and prohibitions. Although it might be very specific to each country, this issue deserves to be researched on an EU level. Especially because of the impact for business cases, see the later paragraph.

From managing the whole chain of traffic management towards becoming also partner in the chain

In providing services to road users, a whole chain of actors and responsibilities is needed. If one looks at this development in C-ITS and automated driving from the original asset model perspective, it will mean that Road Operators experience that they will not own all the (needed) assets in this chain. In-car systems and nomadic devices (e.g. mobile phones, navigations systems, tablets) are not owned by a Road Operator but by the road user who has a different relation with these assets then a Road Operator. It means that in the future, the Road Operator will become a partner in the chain of providing specific C-ITS services.

As it might not be possible for each partner to have a positive business case due to the nature of the organisation, one of the strategic issues is that a public Road Authority / Operator could consider, while keeping a level playing field for involved entities, to potentially finance certain activities done by other partners in the chain. It is recommended from this observation to organize workshops where experiences can be shared, where not only Road authorities and Road Operators can learn from their approaches and experiences, but also other partners in that chain and stakeholders.

Business Cases / Legal perspective

With the introduction of certain C-ITS services, the current physical infrastructure that provides that service (signs, variable message signs) is complemented with a digital version of the service. A digital version of the current state is built. For the business case it should be noted that this development should not be limited to the exact digital representation of the current physical infrastructure as the digital world has a lot more opportunities: specific targeting of road users, send only that information that is relevant for a specific user at that point in time in that location and under specific circumstances.

For now, a substantial segment of the digital messages is seen as supportive to the existing way of “broadcasting” (variable, dynamic) signs to road users. If the digital messages in the future will not have the same legal status as the current physical infrastructure, it means that both versions need to be kept in the future and that a substantial part of the current physical infrastructure needs to stay in place (especially with regards to commandments and prohibitions). This might impact the view on business cases for these type of C-ITS messaging, especially for I2V oriented services.

Download full deliverable D4.6...