Digital technology that lets vehicles "talk" to each other and to the infrastructure (Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems, C-ITS) is key in moving towards a smart road transport sector. The European Commission, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and members of the C-ROADS platform met on 6 June in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), on the occasion of the ITS European Congress, to reinforce their commitment towards the deployment of C-ITS in Europe.
The C-ROADS platform was created in 2016 to help deploy C-ITS in Europe with a more coordinated approach. It currently sees the participation of 16 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom).
Today, nine new C-ITS projects are coming to life, with two new Member States joining the platform (Greece and Ireland), while other members are continuing the deployment of C-ITS also in urban areas.
All the C-ROADS projects are supported since 2016 by the EU under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport, with a total funding of €171m. The new Grant Agreements signed on 6 June were selected under the 2018 CEF Transport calls, which made €100m available to finance projects to improve European transport infrastructure, promote transport safety, develop intelligent transport systems and mitigate the environmental impact of the sector. The project promoters are set to receive a combined €77.2m in EU support.
INEA Director Dirk Beckers, who signed the grant agreements together with representatives of the C-ROADS projects, remarked: "The EU will continue to support the deployment of co-operative ITS services, making way for an interconnected road transport sector where vehicles, users and infrastructure all communicate with each other. This will invariably lead to improved safety, less pollution and will make the European road infrastructure overall more efficient in the long run."
The C-ROADS projects will install C-ITS equipment in various locations throughout the EU, with pilot schemes designed to test the solutions in different operating environments (for instance in highways and urban areas). Moreover, C-ROADS partners will co-operate with each other to identify common specifications (communication, security, etc.) to ensure cross-border interoperability and harmonisation of C-ITS services. By making cross-border C-ITS services a reality, the C-ROADS platform is building the foundations for connected vehicles in the European Union.
What do we mean by C-ITS?
Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, with traffic signals and roadside infrastructure as well as with other road users.
With alerts generated from the increased information available, these systems have a strong potential to improve road safety and the efficiency of road transport. For example, information about a traffic jam ahead or about the optimal speed to catch a green light can be displayed to the drivers inside the vehicle in due time.