Intelligent transport systems (ITSs) that support real-time communication between vehicles are promising to relieve congestion and enhance safety. Already, the technology, which uses cellular networks, radio systems and short-range wireless solutions, has been developed, and is now ready for extensive testing in the lab and on the road. This requires field operational tests (FOTs) that involve a large number of vehicles and drivers to foster debate, advance investments and deal with privacy issues in vehicle identification. The EU-funded project 'Common building blocks for ITS test beds and field operational tests' (ITS TEST BEDS) aimed to establish FOTs in Europe to advance this technology. It sought to ensure interoperability among systems in different EU states so that vehicles interact in the same way across the continent, involving national research centres in this endeavour. More specifically, the project team designed the ITS test beds infrastructure and built a prototype based on existing European research and results of interactive workshops. Once the test beds were defined, the team consolidated the results under a non-profit company called Telematics Incubator to facilitate demonstration of the concept's feasibility. The project then conducted tests and enabled small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gain access to the project results through a dedicated online portal. Testing results and topics published online include hazard warning systems, signal processing enhancements, time measurements, software development and hardware enhancements. In brief, the new infrastructure has helped prepare different European stakeholders take ITSs to the next level. The project's progress has helped standardise interfaces across the system to help SMEs penetrate this new market. All stakeholders, from service centres that receive crucial data to cellular telecommunication companies, stand to benefit from the standardised work in the field and publication of results. While it will take several years before ITS services are fully deployed, the infrastructure is now in place to take road transport to the next level, facilitating licensing and exploitation. Better road safety, enhanced traffic management and a cleaner environment are expected to emerge from this sophisticated technology.
Transport, vehicles, traffic, intelligent transport systems, real-time communication, cellular network, radio system, short-range wireless solution, field operational tests, test bed, interoperability, road safety, traffic management