Aligning open strategy issues for deployment

CODECS project

The H2020 Coordination and Support Action CODECS has taken up its operation in May 2015. As the name COoperative ITS DEployment Coordination Support indicates, the project sustains the initial deployment of vehicle-to-x communication services in Europe. The COCECS project is supporting the Amsterdam Group, the C-ITS Deployment Platform of the European Commission, Standards Setting Organisations and other key deployment players in coming to a concerted C-ITS deployment approach.

For conducting deployment coordination support, CODECS has set-up several fundamental work packages, of which the fourth is the “Strategy Coordination Support” work package. Deliverable 4.5 contains the results and of aligning strategic issues by CODECS partners, the second activity of the Work Package 4.

For the alignment of specific open strategic issues, the CODECS partners focussed on those important issues that needed an extra investment to further support and accelerate the implementation of C-ITS:

  • Use Cases
  • Hybrid Communication
  • Urban C-ITS.

The CODECS partners used multiple actions to establish the groundwork for this report:

  • Workshops (e.g. City Pool, Use Cases, Roadmaps, Deployment is underway).
  • Conference calls and discussions amongst the CODECS partners
  • Participation in other EU initiatives as e.g. C-Roads, the C-ITS deployment platform, the Amsterdam Group and the EU-EIP (4.4) initiative.
  • Interaction with the extensive network of the CODECS partners

Use Cases

The CODECS partners decided to focus on the strategic issue of Use Case as some work was done at different places and it was clear that there were multiple interpretations and opinions on this term. The first step that was taken, was to develop a common framework and understanding of the terminology. Definitions of Use Case and Scenario were developed, tested and validated during work-shops. Based on the input, a draft template was further developed. The framework was further developed with the approach of Service, Use Case, Scenario’s and Scenes. The valuable findings, perspectives and templates were/are used as input in C-Roads.

Use Cases cannot only be seen from a the functional perspective, they are the start and part of a broader structure and a lot of technical elements in the implementation of a use case. Achieving interoperability om C-ITS is the biggest challenge. Developing Use Cases is not an easy task, involves a lot of input from various stakeholders. Due to the involvement of many stakeholders, a transparent and intensive process needs to be developed and maintained (scoping, managing and revisioning of the documents, interaction between the main stakeholders based on consensus model). Key issue for interoperability in the management and implementation of use cases is the establishment of a continuous (EU) entity that guides the development of the various specifications. This chapter gives at the end some important suggestions and recommendations for the framework.

Hybrid Communication

The term Hybrid Communication (HC) is used randomly with different meanings in horizontal and vertical system definitions. Early reports did not described HC in detail but identified that it is more than just the collection of different communication technologies. As there was no clear definition or common understand what should be understood by HC, ITS stakeholders developed their own view on what it is and what is should do.

Different as for other service areas, ITS services heavily depend on a good operation of systems realized by a varying landscape of stakeholder groups. To be able to realize successful ITS services all these systems have to interact in an interoperable way. Realisation of such a complex system starts with having common views about the things to realize. Together with the EU Commission, CODECS organized 2 workshops in cooperation with the European Commission to see whether a common view could be developed.

The workshops showed different interpretations of Hybrid Communication. The differences raised mostly were based on the stakeholder differentiating business interests. All together a common technical view in which all stakeholders specific elements are included could be defined. Further it can be recognized that most stakeholders are focused to solve issues for today and only some have a wider view also looking a little bit more towards future needs.

Most stakeholder groups recognize that the fundament of Hybrid Communication is the combination of various communications with initially ITS-G5 and standard 3G-4G cellular multiple communications. For some it is only about the communication but when this would be the case we should say that HC currently is already implemented in current cellular phones. During the workshops however it has been acknowledged that HC represents more needs. It needs to enable the proper operation of ITS services in a multi communications environment.

There is a list of very differentiating requirements recognized in this report, a list that resembles the functional and technical steps to be made to support the Day-2 and beyond services and applications. ITS-HC therefore can’t be identified as a concept or architecture but more as a general identifier for all the changes needed.

In other words: “ITS Hybrid Communication (ITS-HC) is not a specific architecture or system but it’s the identifier for the collection of functional and technical improvements to be realized to satisfy the main objective of future ITS and Automation related information exchange facilitating the Day-2 and beyond ITS and Automated Services deployment.”

With the included next steps in this report, it clearly shows that on this issue still a lot of work needs to be done to assure interoperability on a broad scale.

Based on findings during the last month requires to note that although a common list of HC elements can be identified and commonly agreed, several stakeholders highlight specific elements as being Hybrid Communication as a hole without identifying the other elements based on their specific business interest which still gives an impression that there are different views. This is done specifically by technology providers. Users of the technologies have no real preferences as long as the services of interest can be implemented according to the required timelines.

Urban strategic issues

This chapter deals with the Urban transport priorities and policies and how cities determine the C-ITS value proposition. The work on this part was also carried out via different means, where the City Pool workshops played an important role to get insight in the cities requirements for C-ITS and which use cases are of most interest for cities.

The C-ITS benefits put forth by C-ITS proponents do not necessarily make a good fit with the transport policies and ITS priorities in cities today. Whereas cities have been focusing recent ITS investments on encouraging a change in the way people travel, such as modal shift from car to public transport, C-ITS has typically been promoted as a technology to make traffic flow smoother, notably for the benefit of car drivers. Only recently have other modes of transport, such as buses and lorries, started to take a more prominent role in the C-ITS debate.

The widespread perception of C-ITS as a technology to enhance car-based transport has led to a certain apathy towards C-ITS among city authorities. The real added-value of C-ITS, as a standardised platform enabling communication with any C-ITS enabled vehicle (even a bike) is not widely understood.

When discussing C-ITS with cities, the typical questions and comments that are raised are mostly of a non-technical nature: “How will C-ITS help me deliver my policies?”, “Why is a C-ITS solution better than the ITS I have already?”, “How much will it cost to install, operate and maintain?’, “How can C-ITS build on existing investments?”, “Who is liable if technology failure leads to an accident?”, “Isn’t C-ITS just for car drivers and highways?”.

The integration of C-ITS components into the existing traffic management (digital) infrastructure is the main technical challenge of deploying C-ITS in urban environments and has to deal with quite some challenges on:

  • Interoperability interfaces
  • Roadside interfaces
  • Standardised urban ITS interfaces
  • The technical feasibility of C-ITS deployment

Main conclusions and recommendations from the urban perspective:

  • Awareness of C-ITS is growing among city and regional transport authorities, due in part to European activities (such as the CODECS City Pool) and to national urban C-ITS pi-lot/deployment programmes.
  • While it is acknowledged that technical aspects are not the main barrier to C-ITS deployment in cities, there are a number of technical issues that need to be addressed to integrate C-ITS in an existing urban ITS environment.  
  • City engagement: the city engagement momentum should be maintained through the continu-ation of the City Pool. Engagement with cities should (i) be neutral; (ii) based on facts; and, (iii) allow cities to work out for themselves where C-ITS can play a role. Selling C-ITS to cities as a solution has not worked.
  • Knowledge building:

    •  C-ITS: there is a need to understand (i) the added value of C-ITS in relation to existing ITS offering similar functionality; (ii) the merits and disbenefits of the different techno-logical approaches (cellular or ITS-G5) and business models (direct communication or third parties).
    • Changing traffic management paradigm: there is a need for discussion on the chang-ing roles and responsibilities of the traffic manager in light of technological develop-ments such as C-ITS and vehicle automation and the role of the private sector in service delivery.  •    Coordinating urban C-ITS projects: CODECS sought to reach out to national urban C-ITS de-ployment/pilot programmes as well as European pilot projects. Such an activity should be continued in a structured manner to enable the sharing of experiences and lessons learned and feeding into a body of knowledge about urban C-ITS deployment.

  • Urban C-ITS specific developments: an urban C-ITS dedicated initiative developing use cases, profiles, migration approaches and general knowledge sharing, would be a valuable tool.
  • Cities, car manufacturers and traffic system suppliers need to regularly meet and discuss in order to agree on the priorities that are worth pursuing.

Download full report (deliverable D4.5)