In Europe, different road charging systems are being operated by professional companies making use of state-of-the-art technologies. Current road charging is successful but a public standard that is needed for interoperable road charging solutions that work seamlessly anywhere in Europe is missing. European efforts towards such interoperability could improve several of the prerequisite conditions for a market development towards more functionality, lower risks and lower costs of road charging solutions: - the stability and flexibility of a European standard on interoperability will allow operators and Member States to predict and control costs for maintenance and functional updates and reduce the involved risks for deployment of sophisticated new systems; - the inclusion of standardised interfaces will allow re-usability of standard components for future road pricing schemes and potentially even for other applications; - a widely accepted standard would increase the market size that can be addressed by specific solutions as such creating an incentive for costly investments in mass production, cost optimisations and lower prices per piece; - the international car or truck driver will not longer be obliged to install and use several different boxes (on-board equipment) in his vehicle. Interoperability of road charging solutions is a long-term objective of the EC. In April 2004, the directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the European Community was adopted. The Directive places constraints on the technologies that may be used in future new road charging systems: - satellite positioning; - mobile communications using the GSM-GPRS standard; - 5.8 GHz microwave technology. The new road charging service that is interoperable throughout Europe on the basis of one or more of the mentioned technologies is called the European electronic tolling service (EETS). In a summary this Directive describes the following: - operators and Member States are obliged to accept interoperable on-board equipment (EOBE) that are compliant with the EETS; - operators are obliged to provide this service and EOBE to end users; - the end users can make use of this service and the on-board equipment on a voluntary basis. The EC envisages a final definition of the EETS service by 2007 (one year delay with respect to the original directive) and deployment of the service for heavy good vehicles (HGV) by 2009 and for private vehicles by 2011. RCI was a demonstration project that aimed to validate major cornerstones of the European definition of the EETS that the EC will have endorsed. Although originally planned, the specifications for the EETS in 2006 include important elements but do not constitute a complete technical definition of the EETS. As a result, the RCI partners agreed to extend the project's scope by including consultation to converge on an appropriate architecture and interface specifications what could further contribute to the definition of the EETS. This project has demonstrated that road charging interoperability is technically achievable on the basis of the RCI prototypes and the RCI open architecture that: - provides the user with a solution that can be used seamlessly anywhere in Europe, thanks to a single box, a single contract and a minimum number of invoices; - can help to realise economies of scale; - can help to establish an open and competitive market for the provisioning of interoperability services. More in detail, the main achievements of the project have been: 1. The development of the RCI High-level Architecture, which defines the technical detail of the interfaces (what information is being exchanged, between who and in which format) for interoperable road charging systems. This architecture represents a first European technical reference for DSRC(Dedicated Short Range and Communication Service)-enabled and GNSS(Global Navigation Satellite System)-enabled road charging solutions accepted by the principal stakeholders (suppliers, toll operators and toll service providers). 2. The successful implementation and operational testing of two RCI interoperable OBEs (on-board equipment). Two trucks run about 5000 km, each equipped with one of the two interoperable OBE that is able to autonomously (without the user's intervention) adapt its functional behaviour when crossing borders, according to the rules that apply for the German (Toll Collect), Swiss (LSVA), French (TIS-PL), Spanish (VIA-T), Italian (TELEPASS) and Austrian (ASFINAG) tolling schemes. Discussions regarding the certification of conformity and interoperability of ETC systems have pointed out that fundamental certification issues need to be clarified. It has not yet been recognised that the EETS is primarily a service and not a piece of equipment. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on how the service can be certified. The RCI partners recommend that relevant stakeholders (Member States, EC, EETS Providers), establish, at European level, the appropriate conditions for taking action towards harmonised 'key performance indicators', tools and measurement methods that are a prerequisite for offering the EETS service. More specifically European coordination is needed to: - develop criteria and procedures for conformity assessment of toll charger's toll context definition; - develop criteria and procedures for assessing toll charger's roadside equipment; - develop criteria and procedures for verifying conformity of the EETS provider's toll context implementation with the toll charger's toll context definition; - define a set of key performance indicators including measuring methods and monitoring procedures to be established and harmonised by the EETS providers and toll chargers; - elaborate inspection criteria and procedures for those services deemed as crucial for interoperability; - review the applicability of Decision 768/2008/EC (referred to in the Draft Decision to EU Directive 2004/52/EC) with regard to services certification and propose possible adaptations.