In road transport, intelligent transport systems (also called road telematics) have been developing for over 20 years. Some applications are now widespread and well-known. For example, several millions of cars and trucks are equipped with on-board navigation systems that are able to consider real-time traffic and travel information.
Why should the EU act?
The potential of intelligent transport systems (ITS) can only be achieved if their deployment in Europe evolves from the limited and fragmented scenario of today into an EU-wide one. Trans-national deployment of continuous cross-border services for travel information and traffic management cannot be done by Member States if they work independently from each other.
Coordinated action at EU level will have a greater effect (e.g. common rules on liability) leading to large-scale economies that can push the markets.
Intelligent transport systems can contribute to the main transport policy objectives. The links between modes, e.g. public transport, become increasingly important.
Efficient and comfortable transport
Congestion can be reduced through better management of demand and capacity and will be of benefit to all road users. New assistance systems and information services for drivers will make driving a more comfortable experience.
- Dynamic traffic management based on real-time data from roads, vehicles and even mobile phones and the use of simulations will improve strategies to mitigate congestion.
- The use of navigation systems in the car reduces distances driven to the destination and can lead to a more relaxed and thus safer driving.
Safe and secure transport
Although road fatalities are decreasing, there are still more than 18,834 deaths (Eurostat, 2020) on EU roads each year. New in-vehicle safety and driver assistance systems can intervene before an accident happens. As more than 90 % of all accidents are caused by human error, this is a much-needed development.
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) stabilises the vehicle and prevents skidding. It is estimated that ESC reduces the number of injuries in accidents by 7-11 %, and reduces fatalities by 15-20 %.
- eCall automatically calls the emergency services and transmits location data from the accident scene. Thus, the response time of the emergency services is cut drastically, reducing road fatalities by about 5-10 % and resulting in less severe injuries.
- Connected and automated driving technologies will significantly improve traffic flows, reduce the incidence of critical situations, optimize the handling of corresponding scenarios, relieve the pressure on drivers and the environment and support jobs and growth.
Clean and CO2-reduced transport
There are relatively few ITS systems and services that specifically address environmental objectives. But ITS can help to reduce emissions and save energy through better demand management including the use of road charging and access management.
- With electronic fee collection systems, charging road vehicles can be flexible, for example according to vehicle type and emissions category. It is vital for such systems to be interoperable across national borders to avoid creating new obstacles to traffic flow.