INTERCHANGE is a multinational trans-European pilot project which brings together ATT service providers, industry and transport informatics experts from six countries. INTERCHANGE is aiming to establish a European Traveller Information Network for real-time exchange of ATT data between national traffic/travel information centres.
INTERCHANGE is a multinational trans European pilot project which brings together advanced transport telematics (ATT) service providers, industry and transport informatics experts from 6 countries.
In order to ensure compatibility and implementation of the pan European travel information exchange network (ET-NET) infrastructure, INTERCHANGE has established a liaison panel consisting of representatives from countries not already directly involved in the project team. The panel consists of 2 representatives each from European transport ministries, automobile clubs, and traffic police organizations.
The panel provides valuable feedback on and input to the work of the project. INTERCHANGE also addresses the key issues of consistent application of a data exchange standard throughout Europe. A harmonized data dictionary and a flexible exchange format have been developed. The format known as the Bearer Independent Format (BIF) has been developed in collaboration with ATT-ALERT. The exchange format expands upon the ALERT C protocol which was developed in the DRIVE I project to suit the limited bandwidth of radio data systems (RDS).
The basic BIF redrafts ALERT C in terms of a database orientated data model concept jointly developed by INTERCHANGE and STRADA projects. Enhanced BIFs expand on the features included within the format. They both provide for an alphanumeric coding option similar to EDI-FACT, which offers considerable freedom of application unconstrained by particular bearer limitations.
The INTERCHANGE technical approach covers four basic tasks. Firstly, it is developing compatible solutions and specifications based on STRADA concepts for a pan-European travel information exchange network (ET-NET). Secondly, INTERCHANGE is investigating ways of integrating national travel/traffic information centres, public transport information systems, public information terminals, and broadcast services within a common European network. The third task will start to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of operating the travel information network at national and international levels. Finally, INTERCHANGE will provide recommendations for the continuing, full scale implementation and evolution of the pan-European travel information network.
Information system applications are increasingly interconnected. A predominant trend towards standardisation is a major theme throughout DRIVE. The minimum needs for pan-European compatibility are a common "data exchange language" and network accessibility. INTERCHANGE is taking the first essential steps towards a truly Integrated Road Transport Environment by working closely with many initiatives to create, test and evaluate these essential components.
Activities within INTERCHANGE have focused on establishing harmonious working relations between all the information centre operators participating in the project. An appropriate liaison structure has been identified which will contribute towards the development of pan-European compatibility of travel and traffic data exchange. The liaison process will form a key achievement of INTERCHANGE.
The Bearer Independent Format (BIF) is to provide the basis for common information exchange protocols which will be further refined and implemented on different information exchange media. These will be developed in association with projects such as ATT-ALERT.
Operation of the INTERCHANGE pilot project will give detailed feedback on the BIF specifications. Experiences from the trialing of the INTERCHANGE specifications for ATT data exchange will be used to develop a final specification for the ET-NET at the end of the project.
The INTERCHANGE consortium includes information centre operators in several countries who will operate ET-NET on a continuing basis. Moreover, we expect to see progressive extension of the ET-NET system to other countries not immediately participating in INTERCHANGE via the Liaison Panel representatives. Through this approach INTERCHANGE will provide the framework for the permanent establishment of the travel information data network.
Contribution to Standardisation
INTERCHANGE's liaison mechanisms and common specifications are aimed directly at preparation for Europe-wide standardisation. The project is therefore expected to have a major impact in the area of standardisation. In particular it has developed a harmonised data dictionary and is pursuing, in cooperation with ATT-ALERT, the definition of bearer independent formats (BIF) for exchanging many types of traveller-related information. As a kernel project, INTERCHANGE is helping to coordinate similar developments in other projects thus ensuring the integrated evolution of exchange standards.
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