Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Smart traffic management systems more effective than building extra roads

An EU-funded project has come up with innovative procurement methods to help launch new intelligent traffic management systems.
Smart traffic management systems more effective than building extra roads
Intelligent traffic management systems that allow vehicles to communicate with each other and other roadside infrastructure like traffic lights could help make big improvements in managing the flow of vehicles across cities.

One EU-funded project, P4ITS, has developed an innovative EU-wide network of authorities planning smart traffic systems and willing to improve the market roll-out of the technology needed through Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI).

‘The P4ITS network enabled a wide range of people from across the EU to explore common issues and themes on intelligent traffic management. We developed a more concerted approach to rolling out these systems using PPI across Europe,’ says Giacomo Somma, manager at ERTICO-ITS Europe and P4ITS project coordinator.

‘We expect to see the wide-scale deployment of these systems in the future. Moreover, investments in traffic management systems have proved to be more cost efficient compared to investments in new road infrastructure,’ he outlines.

The Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) identified by the project cover concepts including road intersections that give priority to public transport and display the time left until a traffic light turns green or red on your car navigation device or smartphone.

These measures can enable drivers to adopt more environmentally-friendly driving habits that reduce fuel consumption and emissions, reduce stress and micro accidents, as well as making the traffic flow more fluid.

‘CITS can increase the quality and reliability of information available about vehicles, their location and the road environment for both traffic managers and for individual drivers,’ Somma says.

While CITS is good for addressing societal needs in Europe – like improving the environment, safety and providing better traffic information to drivers – it is also potentially a world-leading industry expected to boost Europe's competitiveness and create jobs.

P4ITS’s focus on how to make the market roll-out of innovative C-ITS solutions in Europe happen using Public Procurement of Innovation faced the challenge of defining a common understanding of what PPI involves.

‘Exchanging knowledge and experiences among public and private stakeholders – including public authorities, procurers, legal experts, road operators and technical experts – from more than 10 different European countries was challenging but very rewarding,’ Somma says.

The project found that innovation procurement (including PPI and PCP) encompasses legal tools and procedures, which are demand side orientated, since the objective is a commercial procurement contract. This process includes the procurement of solutions both based on innovation of existing technologies and those requiring R&D.

‘A main conclusion of P4ITS is that PPI should not be considered a legal procedure, but rather an innovative strategy and a set of operational approaches that enhance the procurement of innovative solutions,’ says Somma.

The project looked at how to tackle other PPI hurdles including EU procurement laws and how to operate in the space between R&D procurement and commercial procurement, cross-border procurement laws with different national approaches and national data protection legislation.

Now that the project has ended, some P4ITS project partners are taking the work to a more operational level by defining best practices to support the daily work of public procurers.

Related information


P4ITS, PPI, public procurement for innovation, intelligent traffic management, environment, safety, traffic
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