Based on an Action Plan, accompanied by a proposal of Directive, the European Commission intends to implement a cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable transport system in Europe. So-called Intelligent Transport Systems shall help drivers to find the most efficient route and inform them in advance about congestions, accidents or roadworks.
On the occasion of the publication of the Commission proposal, the Transport Committee of the European Parliaments held a hearing on Intelligent Transport Systems, where experts were able to give their views on the plans of the Commission.

John Miles, managing consultant for Ankerbold International Ltd, a company which is mainly concerned with developing Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) regards the introduction of such a system as inevitable. Transport companies need ITS to facilitate logistic decisions. Safety could be increased and congestion could be avoided, which in turn would help to decrease unnecessary CO2 emissions. It would be of particular importance that information concerning traffic volume could be made available to drivers as real-time information. This could be developed in cooperation with companies offering digital town maps and GPS-based satellite navigation. Currently most information was still provided by radio stations; this, however, would change in future concluded Miles.

Michael Nielsen of IRU, The International Road Transport Union, regards it as particularly important, that travellers and transport companies will also in future be able to select their chosen means of transport themselves. He criticised the European satellite programme Galileo: in his opinion there are more cost-effective options to develop an Intelligent Transport System. Apart from that one should not forget that roaming charges for transferring information for cross-border traffic would represent a significant cost factor. In addition, there would be the question of who would be held responsible if the system failed.

Mats Rosenquist, Director of Volvo points out that in order to be accepted, ITS Systems had to be reasonably priced. Volvo had already looked into developing a cross-sector information system; hereby the mentioned Advanced Driving Assistance System would be an important starting point. It was also crucial to provide a unified standard to make sure that such an Intelligent Transport System would indeed work. Liability issues, however, in case of device malfunction, had still to be clarified.

Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor initially welcomed that the Directive also dealt with data protection. The planned system would gather a lot of personal data; it had to be clarified whether and in which cases it should be allowed to use it. The protection of the private sphere had to be guaranteed at all times.

For further information:

Speeches of the speakers and information material