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Socio-political implications of RTI implementation and use strategies

Objective

The fundamental aims of the SIRIUS project are to identify sensitivities which positively or negatively affect the RTI implementation process and to identify the socio-political impacts of RTI adoption. Recommendations will be made taking into account these sensitivities and impacts for different actors and groups in the road transport environment.
The various institutional and political problems confronting the development of an integrated road transport environment (IRTE) have been investigated at an analytical level. At an empirical level, supply side and demand side sensitivities in respect of a number of specific technologies have been identified. Approximately 20 road transport informatics (RTI) applications, or potential applications, have been studied.
The problems associated with the development of an IRTE are as much a matter of organisational and other factors as they are a matter of technical or technological factors. Out of 3 scenarios formulated for European RTI implementation the supported network scenario is seen as the most appropriate mechanism by which the IRTE might best be implemented. The strategy used in this scenario is to arrive at integration by means of coordination and to accentuate information circulation. Therefore, it is recommended to develop decision support systems. A standardised database and an information exchange system will permit decision makers to access others involved in implementing or using related technologies.
One of the other recommendations is to adopt a problem oriented approach instead of a technology oriented approach. Research has provided evidence on a higher chance of implementation failure when supply and demand are insufficiently matched. A problem solving approach is the more appropriate institutional response to the advent of RTI. The existence of clear and well defined problems for which there are clear and well defined RTI solutions is likely to result in the readier implementation of RTI.
Successful implementation of RTI based policies requires an anticipatory approach to the sensitivities which are addressed by the introduction of new technologies. This task has a more general perspective given the broad range of possible RTI technologies and the many actors and groups concerned. The high degree of innovation has its direct and strong connections with fundamental social sensitivities.

Although primary concern in the DRIVE programme is with the development of the tool on the one hand and with its intended use on the other hand, implementation of the technological innovation should not be monitored through the technical perspective alone. Speed of diffusion and penetration are in direct proportion to its socio-political acceptability. Furthermore, the particular characteristics of the environment in which technology is implemented must be recognized, for these are likely to effect the operation of the technology.

In the first analytical phase the framework has been set and preliminary insights into relevant socio-political aspects of RTI introduction have been provided. Main elements for analysis were a review of literature on a range of strategies, a discussion with a panel of experts and an examination of particular projects adopted or rejected. The second phase gathers empirical evidence on sensitivities and impacts. The socio-political aspects will be identified mainly by way of interviews with actors on the supply side as well as the demand side of the process. Some 14 research sites have been selected. Here issues of sensitivity and social impact are thoroughly investigated. These sites covering several RTI areas are spread over 5 countries.

The analysis is conducted on the basis of different scenarios concerning implementation and phasing of main RTI policies. These scenarios are formulated on the basis of input from related DRIVE projects. Continuous interaction with at least EURONETT, FRIDA and IMPACT is taking place. The analysis will lead to a diagnosis of the main issues associated with the introduction and implementation of RTI technology.

Key Issues

Identification of implementation scenarios and RTI policy scenarios;
Identification of sensitivities associated with these scenarios, initially formulated as assumptions and later on different actors and target groups;
Relating the sensitivities to different actors and target groups;
Recommendations on optimal ways of introducing and phasing RTI policies given socio-political impacts.

Coordinator

ITS, Nijmegen University

Participants (5)

Conlogic
Sweden
Ecoter
Ireland
Praxis
Greece
Rijkswaterstaat
Netherlands
University of Oxford
United Kingdom
Address

OX1 2JD Oxford