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EC PROJECTS SEAMLESS


Hiding the seams T


he greatest potential to reduce reliance on roadside infrastructure comes through delivery of data to in- vehicle devices. There has been significant European


research on the use of in-vehicle devices and cooperatives systems, and there are already significant deployments of in- vehicle information services. Much of the early research and deployment was focused on motorways and trunk roads. However, uptake of devices will be limited if service cover- age is restricted to trunk roads. Trunk roads users typically make journeys which start and end on other roads, so users’ confidence in information services may be damaged by any lack of information when journeys move onto urban roads. A reduction in roadside infrastructure is only practical


if the coverage of in-vehicle devices is adequate. The use of dynamic in-vehicle information services is increasing, but the growth is slowed by the lack of seamless services. The provision of seamless services for dissemination of data from road authorities, both national and local, has the potential to accelerate the uptake of in-vehicle devices. This would then allow national roads authorities to reduce reliance on road- side infrastructure. Considerable investment in traffic data collection has been


made by public authorities. A secondary use of this data has been to inform drivers of journey times, typically via variable message signs or web portals. Opportunities exist to present this detailed journey time data to drivers through high-vol- ume in-vehicle display devices such as satellite navigation systems and GPS-enabled mobile phones. The SEAMLESS project has assessed the current standards


and specifications that enable traffic information services, and has found several gaps that hinder the distribution of an urban road authority’s data to road users. A set of technical deliverables aims to remove or shrink these gaps.


VALUE CHAIN The travel information community is increasingly using the “value chain” model when looking at the processes involved


The “value chain” is a useful model of the process of distributing data


in the collection, process- ing, delivery and ulti- mate end use of travel information. This value chain exists


in both public sector roads authorities and in private sector service providers. These organi- sations can collaborate at different stages of the value chain. For example a public sector authority might provide its own services for end-users but additionally SEAMLESS recommends the sharing of information with service providers who may be able to reach a larger number of citizens.


SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE OPTIONS ITS architecture is currently in a state of flux due to the cur- rent focus on architecture for cooperative systems. The CEN and ETSI response to the EC Mandate M/453 is producing a substantial array of specifications, and ISO committees are also highly active in this area in coordinated action with CEN and ETSI. Yet at the same time the rise of functionality on smart phones and other mobile devices may bypass the more complex cooperative architectural definitions coming from the standards organisations! The SEAMLESS project therefore produced a generic


architectural reference model that encompasses both the emerging cooperative systems architectures and alterna- tives for dissemination of road data. Starting with this view, explicit and detailed architectures can be tailored from it for specific situations and systems. The generic model is divided into components mostly driven by service providers and components mostly driven


Dr Ian Cornwell on the ERA-NET Road research project SEAMLESS, which is tailoring ITS specifications to hide the join between urban and interurban information services


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thinkinghighways.com


Vol 8 No 3 Europe/Rest of the World


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