There were 25,300 road fatalities on European roads
in 2017, a significant drop compared to 2001. At the beginning of the decade, the EU succeeded in significantly reducing the number of road deaths. But in recent years this has plateaued as traditional methods to increase safety have begun to reach their limits.
In response, cities and authorities have turned their focus to accelerating the deployment of digital technologies and systems that connect vehicles and road infrastructure with the aim of improving road safety, global emissions and road congestion levels.
One of the rapidly emerging technologies the EU is deploying to support safer driving is cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS), otherwise known as connected vehicles and infrastructure.
For TomTom, already a pioneer in floating car data, the technology opens up new opportunities to expand current traffic services and create new products that support cooperative intelligent transport systems. We are excited to explore new partnerships that will help us reach a shared vision for a safer, cleaner and less congested world.
What is C-ITS?
C-ITS focuses on the communication and interaction between different road actors. It is a wireless data exchange from vehicle to vehicle (V-to-V), infrastructure to vehicle (I-to-V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V-to-I). For example, a connected vehicle can warn other vehicles nearby when it performs an emergency braking maneuver.
This information supports a number of safety and information services, including: collision warnings, traffic jam warnings, cooperative lane change and merging.
With the rise in connectivity, some car manufacturers may assume it is no longer necessary to rely on service providers like TomTom to receive live traffic and incident information. After all, why would a manufacturer require a service to deliver information if the vehicle and infrastructure do this automatically?
But TomTom and live service providers should not consider C-ITS systems as a direct competitor but rather as another resource in improving road safety and decreasing emissions.
C-ITS as a new and emerging technology
While the first vehicles equipped with C-ITS technology have already entered Europe, it will take many years before enough vehicles have the technology to form a complete picture of the road environment. Currently, relying solely on connected car data leaves too many gaps in information to get a complete overview of the traffic situation.
It will take an estimated 20 to 50 years to create a truly connected experience throughout Europe. Traffic service offerings remain the most accurate way to measure traffic flow and incidents. Using service providers in conjunction with connected vehicle data is the most accurate way to measure traffic.
From local to global traffic solutions
Even when more cars have the technology to communicate with their environment, other vehicles and roadside infrastructure, TomTom Traffic data will still play a vital role. This is because C-ITS provides detailed but extremely localized data and TomTom Traffic can provide a global view of the road.
One city may choose to implement five services, and another may choose not to implement any. As a result, there will be little unification between cities leading to a disjointed driving experience across Europe. For example, some cities may choose to use connected roadside hardware to attempt to reduce congestion, but others may apply shared space solutions.
Due to this localization, connected vehicle technology will not be able to give a complete and consistent overview of traffic across city and country boundaries. TomTom’s existing suite of traffic services analyzes real-time incidents and congestion to provide enhanced route calculations and accurate estimated times of arrival (ETA) in over 80 countries. Even with increasingly connected cars and infrastructure, the vast amounts of live traffic data TomTom enables large-scale coordination otherwise unachievable.
With TomTom’s knowledge of the global traffic situation, we can cover the geographical gap and propose a global solution to complement C-ITS services. We don’t believe C-ITS marks an end to live traffic services, but rather recommend a combination approach to gain a more accurate and complete image of the road situation.