The Strategy will make it possible to deploy vehicles that can "talk" to each other and to the transport infrastructure on EU roads as of 2019.
The market potential of cooperative, connected and automated driving is estimated to be worth dozens of billions of euro annually and to lead to the creation of many new jobs. The Strategy therefore delivers on the Commission's political priorities, notably its Agenda for Jobs, Growth and Investment, the Digital Single Market and the Energy Union.
What is C-ITS?
Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) allow road users and traffic managers to share information and use it to coordinate their actions. C-ITS are based on technologies which allow vehicles to "talk" to each other, and to the transport infrastructure. In addition to what drivers can immediately see around them, and what vehicle sensors can detect, all parts of the transport system are thus able to share information.
For instance, vehicles automatically warn each other of potentially dangerous situations (e.g. emergency braking or end of traffic jam queue) and communicate with local road infrastructure (e.g. optimal speed advice). This improves decision-making, either by the driver or - in the future - by the vehicle itself.
Why this strategy?
The objective of the European Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems is to allow for a wide-scale commercial deployment of C-ITS as of 2019. This is expected to significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency and comfort of driving, by helping the driver to take the right decisions and adapt to the traffic situation.
Most importantly, digital technologies help reduce human error, by far the greatest source of accidents in transport. The steady trend in improving road safety that the EU has seen over the last decade has slowed down. C-ITS can help to revive a positive dynamic in the reduction of road fatalities, in order to reach the EU target of halving the overall number of road deaths in the European Union between 2010 and 2020.
Communication between vehicles, infrastructure and other road users is also crucial to increase the safety of future automated vehicles and their full integration in the overall transport system. In other words, connectivity and cooperation are prerequisites to safe automation.
In all, this Strategy focuses on those services that can be readily deployed in the short to medium-run but display long-term benefits on road safety, sustainability and automation.
What are the main elements of the Strategy?
1. Avoid a fragmented internal market
Many C-ITS deployment activities are currently taking place in the EU, often supported through EU funds. The industry has stated its intention to start full scale deployment of C-ITS enabled vehicles in 2019. The first objective of the Strategy is therefore to avoid a fragmented internal market in the field of C-ITS and to create synergies between different initiatives, in order to ensure continuity and interoperability of C-ITS services throughout Europe.
2. Define and support common priorities
In order to ensure continuity, availability of C-ITS services across the EU for end-users must be ensured. This is why the Strategy considers a list of technologically mature C-ITS services with clear benefits for transport and society at large, which should be deployed quickly throughout the EU by Member States and local authorities, vehicle manufacturers, road operators and the ITS industry. The Strategy also includes actions to support Member States and industry financially in deploying such services.
3. Use a mix of communication technologies
C-ITS messages will be transmitted for a wide range of services, in various transport situations and between different actors. Generally, drivers are indifferent to the communication technology used to transmit C-ITS messages, but they will increasingly expect to receive all information on traffic and safety conditions seamlessly across Europe. To achieve this, the Strategy presents a hybrid communication approach combining complementary and available communication technologies. Currently, the most promising hybrid communication mix is a combination of WiFi based short range communication and existing cellular networks.
4. Address security and data protection issues
When it comes to connectivity, security and data protection issues become critical. Security of communications must be ensured, and citizens must have the assurance that their data are protected and used properly. This is why the Strategy includes the development of a common EU security policy for C-ITS, as well as specific actions to safeguard the right of citizens to control their personal data.
5. Develop the right legal framework
A specific framework is needed to provide legal certainty to public and private investors, and to ensure that the necessary technical rules (services, communication technologies, standards, frequencies, security, data protection etc.) are widely applied, leading to interoperability and continuity of C-ITS services throughout the EU. This is why the Strategy includes the development of such a legal framework, in close cooperation with, and learning from experience of C-ITS deployment projects such as the initiatives gathered under the C-ROADS platform.
6. Cooperate at international level
The C-ITS market is developing globally, international cooperation is already taking place with Australia, Japan, Singapore, the US and within the G7 in areas such as research, security and the development and harmonisation of standards. The Strategy includes the continuation of cooperation with international partners and initiatives in order to learn from each other, in particular the twinning of research and innovation projects.
Which services for the user?
Building on the work of the C-ITS platform, the C-ITS Strategy sets priorities for a coordinated deployment, by Member States and industry, of technologically mature C-ITS services which are expected to help reduce congestion, casualties and injuries on EU roads.
The services identified to be deployed first include amongst others: warnings about traffic ahead, road works, emergency vehicle approaching, notifications of weather conditions, in-vehicle signage of speed limits and advice on optimal speed for green lights (so-called green wave).
What about privacy and data protection?
Protection of personal data and privacy is a determining factor for the successful deployment of cooperative, connected and automated vehicles. Users must have the assurance that they have full control over how and for what purposes their data are being used. The C-ITS Strategy proposes specific actions to safeguard this right while facilitating the deployment of C-ITS, in particular the publication by the Commission in 2018 of first guidance regarding data protection by design and by default, specifically related to C-ITS.
What about security of communications?
Cyber-security of C-ITS communications is critical to avoid hacking and cyber-attacks, and requires action at European level. Information received from vehicles or from the infrastructure must be trustworthy. The C-ITS strategy proposes the development, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders in the C-ITS domain, of a common security and certificate policy for the deployment and operation of C-ITS in Europe.
Is C-ITS good value for money?
Thorough analysis has shown that technologically mature C-ITS services for road transport – when deployed in an interoperable way across Europe – will produce a benefit cost ratio of up to 3 to 1 from 2018 to 2030. This means that every euro invested in C-ITS should generate up to three euro in benefits. Rapidly deploying as many services as possible will also mean they break even more quickly and will lead to higher overall benefits.
Did the Commission consult stakeholders when elaborating the Strategy?
The elaboration of the European Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) followed a bottom-up approach. It builds on the work of the C-ITS platform, a cooperative framework including national authorities and all relevant stakeholders, which was set up by the European Commission in 2014 in order to develop a shared vision on the interoperable deployment of C-ITS in the EU. The delivery of the Strategy will continue to follow such bottom-up approach.
What are the next steps?
In line with the recommendations of the Declaration of Amsterdam, the objective of the C-ITS Strategy is to facilitate the convergence of investments and regulatory frameworks across the EU, in order to see deployment of mature C-ITS services in 2019. As such, the C-ITS Strategy is not an end in itself and work will intensify over the coming months.
This will notably involve continuous coordination, in a learning-by-doing approach, with the C-ROADS platform, which gathers real-life deployment activities in Member States. Through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) projects have been funded in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
Further down the line, it will also include the adoption of the appropriate legal framework at EU level by 2018 to ensure legal certainty for public and private investors, the availability of EU funding for research and development projects, and international cooperation with other main regions of the world or at G7 level on all aspects related to cooperative, connected and automated vehicles.
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