Addressing the deployment issues of Intelligent Cooperative Systems
ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) is still a relatively new discipline, and implementation, operation, acceptance & take-up varies between regions, countries and authorities. Indeed, the very term ITS is open to many interpretations. No matter what the interpretation or expectation, the key element of any ITS service is the
final outcome, the benefit to the user, shipper, customer and society.
It is the ever increasing computing and data storage capabilities combined with widely available and reliable communication which provide the key for ITS
applications. ITS can make our transportation safer, surer, smoother and smarter. They support policy and business outcomes and are enabled by technology rather than being about technology.
The challenge with transportation is that it is everywhere, includes everyone, and while we may have conventions to bring order to mobility, we are dealing with free thinking individuals making decisions in real-time able to reduce even the most efficient and high capacity network to a miserable assembly of queuing inefficient and polluting vehicles.
In recent years, the big successes in ITS have been those available “off the shelf” like nomadic navigation devices. These have changed the way people travel and the way they decide on the route to be followed.
There is no doubt that such units provide opportunities for increased benefits for individuals. However, we have not been quite so successful in unlocking the wider community based benefits for society as a whole.
Various ITS route maps, action plans and strategies have been developed and are being implemented to try to address this issue.
The two groups driving wide scale ITS deployment and operation are the public authorities and the business sector.
Public authorities normally focus on the policy drivers of safety, efficiency, mobility, the environment and the economy. Some more advanced authorities may also include quality of life, health and inclusion within their policy drivers. The focus and priority may switch between these areas but generally they remain the key considerations.
The business sector has a different focus and is interested in compliance, competitiveness, service levels, scalability, customer loyalty, market share and stakeholder perception.
But ITS based information technology advances continue to outpace our ability to coordinate, develop, define, fund and deploy systems and services within either policy framework or within sustainable business models. This means that there is a real danger of significant safety and efficiency advances continuing to be interesting demonstration schemes, pilot projects or field operational trials.
ADAS (Advanced Driver Alert Systems), CVHS (Cooperative Vehicle Highway Systems), IntelliDrive (formerly VII) or ICS (Intelligent Cooperative Systems) as we will refer to them in this article, have become the latest challenge for coordinated development and deployment. Seen as a breakthrough in automotive safety and efficiency, they are based on vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure and infrastructure to vehicle communications.
Regional Development and Cooperation
There are three distinct centres working on ICS – Europe, USA and Japan. In Europe, ICS is seen as a way to achieve the vision of connected road network operations. This would provide services including network control and advisory systems, traffic management services, network monitoring, enforcement and information systems as varying levels (e.g. linked to micro level technology, available to individual road users and built into cars & trucks). Applications include collision avoidance, driver support monitoring, intelligent speed adaptation, longitudinal and lateral vehicle control, convoy or platoon driving, floating car data and ultimately fully automated highways.
In the USA, the IntelliDrive programme focuses on safety technology for situational awareness around the vehicle, autonomous technology, vehicle to vehicle connectivity and services that will initially inform the driver and ultimately prevent crashes. Applications include: Prevention of red light running and running stop signs; gap assisted signalisation and stop control; speed warning for curves, school zones and work zones; commercial vehicle services including wireless roadside inspection, universal truck identification, virtual weigh station and parking information; and pedestrian applications including transit and alert systems.
Japan has Smartway, a road system which can exchange various types of information among cars, drivers, pedestrians, and other roadway users. Interestingly, the objectives are both to realise integrated ITS to provide safe, smooth road transportation and positive environment benefits and also to provide the foundation for affluence and comfort in life and society for people, goods, and information (including realising comfortable living spaces and building infrastructure that provides safety and security). Smartway is already achieving impressive results. Rear-end type collisions have been reduced by 60% on the Expressway at Sangubashi Curve by warning drivers of obstacle ahead. Japan is pushing ahead with national deployment with 1600 sites selected for ITS Spots (providing infrastructure to vehicle communications) spaced around every 10-15km on the intercity expressways and around every four km on the urban expressways.
International development is already happening between the US DOT and European Commission (Directorate-General Information Society), the US DOT and Japan, and agreement between Europe and Japan is expected shortly.
ICS is such a far reaching concept that it actually includes numerous aspects for consideration. These include:
Policy issues: The role of Government, uniform architecture and common regulations, minimum set of standards, public funding, and public policy targets.
Standards: Common standards for V2V and VSI Short-range communications, commercial 3G and 4G networks, and the specific needs and standards connected with electric vehicles.
Business case: Should the roadside infrastructure for DSRC be provided by the government, a viable sustainable business case is a critical requirement, and so is dealing with road space shared with non-equipped vehicles
Technology: The three stages of safety applications, advisory (e.g. signing, speed management, traffic and incident management), intersection safety (signal phase timing and information and crash avoidance), and V2V (the “here I am” message, a localise broadcast); wireless communication, DSRC and commercial cellular networks.