More Speed, Less Haste

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways February 10, 2016 17:15

More Speed, Less Haste

Lina Konstantinopoulou examines the legacy left by the iMobility Forum as the project closes after almost 14 years of promoting safe, smart, and clean mobility

The iMobility Forum was established in 2002 and is chaired by the European Commission and co-chaired by ERTICO–ITS Europe, ASECAP and ACEA, providing a platform for all Intelligent Transport System (ITS) stakeholders in Europe to develop, implement and monitor work programs linked to roadmaps and international cooperation for the successful development and deployment of ITS.


In line with the Digital Agenda for Europe, the Transport White Paper and the ITS Directive, the iMobility Forum and especially the working groups have taken a very active role in implementing the actions in order to increase the speed of ITS take-up.


The Forum has so far established 23 industry-led Working Groups that have worked or are working on priority ITS topics. At the moment, there are nine active working groups (Automation WG, Probe Data WG, Safe Apps WG, HMI WG, Legal Issues WG, Research and Innovation WG, Implementation Road Maps WG, and Vulnerable Road Users WG). The iMobility Forum WGs have developed recommendations for work items especially in the context of future research and innovation (R&I) work to support the deployment of ITS. The Forum has already produced a consistent number of valuable reports, expert consultations and recommendations that constitute an important input for industrial, standardisation initiatives and EU policy activities in addition to enhanced international cooperation (US, Japan) related to Automation, Probe Data, HMI, and Safe Apps.


In the past years the transformation of eSafety Forum into iMobility Forum reflected traffic-related environmental issues such as fuel-efficiency and reduction in pollutant exhausts to the same level of importance as traffic safety. This time the iMobility Forum will need to redefine its objectives and organisation to fit the mission and role of DG-Connect within the European Commission. The aim of the EC is to keep the momentum of the iMobility Forum for 2016 and beyond, to strengthen its impact on the development and deployment of “connected and automated cars” in Europe and to further align it with the mission and role of DG-Connect within the European Commission. The idea for the future is to continue with the bottom-up approach of the iMobility Forum giving the stakeholder community an independent voice towards the European Commission and to move the Forum step-by-step to address Automation.


At its final stage, the Forum was home to nine active working groups in the areas of Automation, Research & Innovation, Implementation Road Maps, Legal Issues, Human Machine Interaction, Vulnerable Road Users, Safe Application, International Cooperation and Probe Data.



The Working Group on Automation focused its activities on developing a roadmap for enhanced automation in the road transport sector along with cooperating under a trilateral cooperation (EU-US-Japan). One of the main objectives set forward by the WG is to produce a white paper addressing the main challenges and needs for the deployment focusing on the specific identified areas (Deployment Paths, Regulatory Issues, Road Worthiness Testing, Connectivity, Digital Infrastructure, Human Factors, Evaluation of Benefits, Controls and Decisions, and Reliability and CyberSecurity) and is intended to serve as a guidance for projects, proposal writers and evaluators within the domain.


In 2015, the iMobility Forum Research & Innovation WG developed seven harmonised roadmaps via a public consultation: Logistics; Automation; Vulnerable Road Users; Mobility & Efficiency; Safety; Socio-economic, behavioural and HHI; and C-ITS. Future policy recommendations emphasised the need for business models, putting the road user at the centre of the process and supporting the concept of mobility as a service.



The Implementation Road Maps working group aimed at investigating how to promote the roll–out and deployment of vehicle and infrastructure based systems, and at regularly monitoring the deployment status of existing applications in terms of vehicle fleet penetration and road network coverage. Current conclusion and recommendation of the WG include: identifying and dealing with new megatrends and paradigms (automation, MaaS, digitalisation) in terms of their socio-economic benefits and costs, legal issues and so forth.


The Working Group on legal issues aimed at contributing to the general objectives of the iMobility Forum; investigating legal and liability issues related to safe, smart, and clean mobility and new technologies; establishing recommendations on legal issues, privacy issues, product and service liability issues; and investigating the effect of Road Traffic Legislation on future vehicle technologies. In particular, the Legal Issues WG contributed to EC policy programmes by delivering input to the European Commission’s studies on liability and data protection.


The Working Group on Vulnerable Road Users (VRU) aims to support ITS stakeholders with the development of individual goals and targets for the improvement of the safety of VRU along with recommendations and guidelines to achieve these goals.


The HMI working group has focused on development of the European Statement of Principles on HMI (ESoP) that was published as an EC Recommendation in 2008. The Human Machine Interaction WG achieved an overall consensus that the ESoP is a useful guidance document and that an update should now be undertaken. The priority recommendations from the WG include, but are not limited to the reformulation of the scope of the ESoP; a need to update the ESoP in accordance with the introduction of higher levels of automated driving; developing certification procedures for Apps building on the ESoP; and identifying a need to monitor ongoing developments of relevant technologies.


The mission of the Working Group on SafeApps was to accelerate the safe use of open interfaces for nomadic devices and Apps to achieve large-scale deployment. The Safe App WG finalised a report in order to cover aspects such as circumstantial prioritization of messages, message harmonisation, message presentation, in-vehicle connectivity and stowing the Nomadic Device. The WG recommended establishing a central place for developing and maintaining solutions for overarching ITS requirements regarding the presentation of driver information; stimulating that HMI relevant ESoP principles and overarching ITS requirements are supported in ITS standardization; considering future work from the driver perspective; promoting open connectivity between smart devices and the car; and creating a blacklist of – for safety reasons – forbidden applications.



The Probe Data WG started in September 2013 with the participation of stakeholders representing research, industry, service providers and public authorities. The primary purpose of the WG was to correspond with the existing US–Japan ITS working group on this topic and form a trilateral collaboration. It aimed to provide recommendations to address cross-cutting issues such as research needs, barriers, challenges and harmonization of standards and identified possible collaborations between private and public sectors sharing probe data. The recommendations of the Probe Data WG include: encouraging more public-private collaboration between probe data service providers, traffic managers, road operators and road maintenance service; exchanging best practices with other similar initiatives not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world such as US and Japan; promoting evaluation studies that quantifies the costs and benefits of the use of Probe Data for public services; defining a Roadmap for the harmonization of Probe Data bases and standards as well as to the definition of possible uses and exploitation models, and establishing a data protection code of conduct related to the collection of vehicle probe data.


The iMobility Support project came to an end in 2015 and I would like to thank the iMobility Support consortium (VTT, AustriaTech, DEKRA, Q-FREE, FIA, ACEA) who have released over a period of 3 years, valuable reports on the status of deployment of priority systems and also European eCall system and supporting the eCall implementation platform meetings, the usage of Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) and support activities of ITS Standardisation, Certification & Interoperability in Europe and also a release of activities of the EU-US-Japan cooperation. Accompanying these activities the Standardisation and PCP handbooks are used as support handbook for the different ITS stakeholders.




Lina Konstantinopoulou is Head of Department, Transport and Logistics at ERTICO-ITS Europe and Project Coordinator of the iMobility Support and iMobility Forum projects.

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways February 10, 2016 17:15