The C-ITS City Pool Workshop was held on 17th September prior to the opening of the ITS World Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Over 60 participants hailing from a wide range of backgrounds, including representatives from city and regional governments, came together for a horizontal exchange session focused on the benefits of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) for transport authorities.

Launched in 2015, the C-ITS City Pool acts as a central meeting point between transport authorities already engaged in C-ITS deployment and other cities interested in how C-ITS can improve urban and regional mobility with the aim of raising awareness and support deployment.

Since March 2018 the City Pool has been an integral part of the C-MobILE Stakeholder Forum, involving traffic managers, road operators, industries, fleet operators, as well as everyday road users (such as professional taxi, bus or truck drivers, but also vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians) with the aim of establishing functioning business partnerships.

The workshop, held on the sidelines of the 25th ITS World Congress, opened with a first look at the upcoming C-ITS Delegated Regulation, covering scope, application, mutual expectations, and potential impact for cities; followed by a session on the deployment of C-ITS as a tool to improve mobility through digitalisation.

Steffen Rasmussen, Head of Traffic Design for the City of Copenhagen, underlined the importance of digitalisation to meet the city’s current goals, for instance when it comes to managing heavy traffic: ‘Copenhagen is a dense city: there is no room to build more.’ In order to support the vision of the city to become carbon neutral by 2025, the city has equipped half of the secondary ring road with GLOSA for smoother traffic and more fuel efficient driving. In addition, bus traffic is gradually optimised with GPS for traffic light coordination, resulting in more efficient and more attractive public transport options.

In any case, the benefits of digitalisation can only be expected as part of an integrated approach. ‘Instead of competing against each other, both public and private new mobility services need to come together and find their role within the City’s Mobility Policy! Otherwise it might result in a zero sum game’ says Pedro Barradas, from the European Commission’s Sustainable & Intelligent Transport unit.

Moving on to experience sharing, participants looked at examples of successful implementations of C-ITS and the resources and training required in the process. Theo Stevens from SmartWaysNL introduced a local upscaling project for smart logistics, with its new freight radar, a set of tools providing detailed knowledge of freight traffic to road operators. With a high population density and a concentration of industrial activity, the Helmond-Eindhoven region in the Southern Netherlands required tailored solutions in the form of dedicated freight corridors. The implementation of dynamic vehicle priority for heavy goods vehicles on these corridors yielded significant results: a 10-15% efficiency gain, with a 30-40% reduction in stops. The freight radar also provides useful road safety data: for instance, half of all truck-related accidents are due to tire blowouts, while accident factors related to driver behaviour and infrastructure black spots have been identified, further informing planning decisions. This successful integration of C-ITS into a local mobility policy serves as an inspiring example for cities interested in following suit with solutions adapted to their needs.

Successful deployment, however, requires skills that cities need to acquire, foster and retain. ‘Lots of traffic engineers are getting older’ says Darren Capes, Transport Systems Manager with the City of York Council, ‘but as they retire and need to be replaced, cities are not realizing what skills they need.’ And as large-scale C-ITS deployments are becoming a reality, the required skillsets keep expanding. ‘We need to move away from pilot projects’ says Josef Kaltwasser, Association Director of the Open Traffic Systems City Association, ‘We need to qualify our staff for large-scale roll-out.’

The next session addressed the key issues of upscaling C-ITS deployment to the scale required by local authorities, and moving beyond pilot testing and onto large-scale operations. Throughout the process attention must be given to the integration of the existing fleet of vehicles, participants warned. ‘We can’t discard every vehicle that’s on the road now: in 3 years iPhones will have been replaced, but new cars will stay in use for 10 to 15 years’ says Klaas Rozema, International Research Director at Dynniq.

The workshop also featured a live demonstration of cooperative systems and services deployed in Bordeaux, North Brabant and Copenhagen.

This showed not only gave a grasp on what C-ITS is about, but also what concrete benefits can bring to public road authorities as well as road users, including vulnerable ones (cyclists, pedestrians). Public experiences like this one are considered as crucial to create awareness and trigger behavioural changes by educating the citizens.

Matchmaking for experience sharing

The third session of the day, focused on C-ITS deployment challenges, culminated with an exchange of matchmaking pledges between cities committed to mutual support in the deployment of C-ITS solutions and investment in digital infrastructure. Here, the workshop provided a space to share real-life experiences, receive feedback and learn about best practices and business opportunities for the deployment of C-ITS. Through this exchange, cities that are further along the path to large-scale deployment can create links with those that would like to follow, in order to share experience, solutions and know-how.

Through their representatives, the following cities pledged to work together on a number of topics:

  • Helmond (NL) – Copenhagen (DK): C-ITS services for public transport (green catch for busses);
  • Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) – Bordeaux (FR): information exchanges on hybrid communication systems;
  • Helmond – Tampere (FI): common work and on-site visits to support plans for automated shuttles for last-mile connections;
  • Bilbao (ES) – Bordeaux/ Helmond: information exchange about project experiences for large-scale C-ITS deployment;
  • Helmond – NeoGLS / Bordeaux: community-building. information exchange (and possible site visit) with the community manager of Bordeaux;
  • Helmond – UniMoRe / City of Modena (IT): demonstrations on automated driving in small- and medium-sized cities. Information exchange and visit of demos and events in both cities;
  • Lisbon (PT) – NeoGLS / Bordeaux: information exchange on C-ITS integration in the local Traffic Management System
  • Helmond – Kassel (DE): working visit to discuss upscaling C-ITS.

More matchmaking sessions are planned in combination with other events throughout 2018 and 2019.

The next general meeting of the C-ITS City Pool will take place at the ITS European Congress 2019, 3-6 June, Eindhoven & Helmond, The Netherlands: